Bhutan’s $250 foreign fee may hit Indians
KOLKATA/ SILIGURI: Next-door neighbour Bhutan could soon be out of reach for Indian tourists on a budget. Sometime next year, the Himalayan kingdom proposes to extend to regional tourists — those from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives — the mandatory “minimum daily package” of $250 (around Rs 17,700) that is currently applicable only to foreigners.
While the price includes a $65 “sustainable development fee”, visa charges, 3-star accommodation, meals, intra-Bhutan transport, camping equipment and the services of a guide, travel operators fear the cost of spending a day in Bhutan would still be higher than what most Indian tourists can afford.
Dorji Dhradhul, the director general of Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), said the proposal was in line with his country’s high-value-low-impact tourism policy. He did not say if and when the rules would take effect. “This policy draft has been under preparation for four years,” said a source associated with Bhutan tourism.
“At present, regional tourists have to pay Rs 50 to Rs 500 a person for every entry to different sightseeing points. If the rule changes, the sustainable development fee alone would cost a family of five Rs 23,000 a day. That is quite high for budget travellers, who constitute 65% to 70% of the Indian visitors to Bhutan,” said Samrat Sanyal, general secretary of the Himalayan Hospitality and Tourism Development Network.
Anil Punjabi, chairman (east) of Travel Agents Federation of India, said Bhutanese authorities were yet to notify the change, but the buzz in tourism circles was that it would be implemented next year. “About 90% of Indian tourists to Bhutan take the road route to enter the country through Phuentsholing, bordering Jaigaon in West Bengal. This is possible because Indians currently don’t require a visa. If Bhutan makes the minimum daily package applicable to Indian tourists, too, I’m afraid it will no longer be an affordable destination,” he added.
Short-hop tourists, especially large groups visiting Darjeeling or Sikkim, account for the most Indian visitors to Bhutan. They stay a maximum of two-three days, often sharing rooms and spending little on the frills.
The rules governing tourism in Bhutan were approved in 1972, paving the way for the first group of 287 official tourists to visit in 1974.
译文来源：三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/49024.html 译者：Jessica.Wu
Azaad • 1 day ago
Why to go Bhutan or Nepal, when Himachal Uttrakhand is much better place to visit. Live you India. Proud to be an indian
DarthVader• 1 day ago
100 pc true!! if Kashmir gives up militancy we have swisserland in India too!!!
Ashish • 1 day ago
india should also impose 250 USD for any one from Bhutan traveling to india.
True Indian • india • 1 day ago
Bhutan doesn't want cheap tourists. makes sense. they just trash the place and have no respect for the serenity. few high end tourists will bring enough revenue than a load of cheap tourists and will have less impact on the land.
Randomzzz • 1 day ago
95 percentage of 74 is 70, 70 percent of visitors are indian and mosty on budget. If Bhutan does this, most indians will find alternate destination but bhutan won't find tourists from other countries. Then bhutan will come back on their knees and remove these charges..
True Indian• 1 day ago
they would rather have limited tourists on high end than loads on the low end.
Randomzzz• 1 day ago
I understood they want more money from few tourist. But that's not going to work because when the total costs of trip goes beyond 1L for a family they ll start looking at other international options. There are equally beautiful places in india largly unexplored by most people.
PakisAreGanduHomos • Kaloooo Gandu Pakistan • 1 day ago
Leave Bhutan to one side. Visit Ladakh, Sikkim....and Nainital, Ooty.....keep the money in India.
Bhojmanb • 1 day ago
Those Indian go to Bhutan litter and make this clean country dirty. In order to maintain the country local go nment needs funds.
Bhojmanb• 1 day ago
Onion was Rs 16 /kg in 2018 now Rs 200 kg so why complains Bhutan, Indian are famous for littering worldwide and any tourist place need lot of budget for this.
The Common Man • Mumbai • 1 day ago
Did it occur to us that Bhutan probably does not want Indian tourists? Bhutan is probably subtlly moving away from appeasing I dia and moving closer to China.
Karan Singh• 22 hours ago
Appeasing a country like China will spell doom for Bhutan...already China has captured most of their territory on the borders and if it wasn't for Indian Military then Bhutan would have gone the Tib way long long time back
HSF • Australia • 1 day ago
If, tourists can not afford, they won't go. Finally the losers will be Bhutanis.
tourists • HSF • BH • 1 day ago
Indians can't afford does not mean others can not.
master • modi land • 1 day ago
India should ask Bhutan to pay India billions $ protection fee a year, just like Trump did to Japan and South Korea. Without India protection, Bhutan would be another Tib-et.
Anantha Prasanna• 1 day ago
What a Joke. China will welcome Bhutan and offer all assistance free of cost. It is India which will lose.
Govisampath• 1 day ago
China has never offered anything free of cost. The cost is hidden and often more than one suspects initially. See Sri Lanka. Pakistan, Maldives etc.
Janardhan Reddy• 1 day ago
Ridiculous idea. It will definitely hit the Bhutan's tourism, since 70% are mostly budget tourists.
sureshachar• 1 day ago
Why are you worrying about their economy
Citizen• 1 day ago
Bharat Bhushan• 1 day ago
reflecting poor diplomacy of go nment...unable to handle Bhutan....
Krishnaswamy Srinivasan• 1 day ago
Stupid comment... Diplomacy cannot stop these type of policies of any country. Also note,fee is not only for Indians
Ramesh• 19 hours ago
Visiting any country in Europe will be more rewarding and economic than visiting Bhutan.
Natarajan D • 1 day ago
Bhutan will suffer when Indians stopped visiting this nation. In the same way , India should ask Bhutanese people to pay when they visit India.