Bhutan is planning to impose $105 in fees a day on tourists from Bangladesh, India and Maldives, according to a report of the Times of India.
Of the charges, $65 might be levied as sustainable development fee while the rest $40 will be imposed as permit processing charge, the report said.
Tourists from Bangladesh and other regional countries are now exempted from payment of such types of fees.
The new charges may soon come into effect after the Bhutanese cabinet approves the new tourism policy of the country next month.
Currently, tourists visiting Bhutan from international destinations have to pay $250 as a minimum charge per day per person, in which $65 is labelled as sustainable development fee per day, and $40 as visa charges.
According to the draft policy, a total of 2,74,097 foreign individuals visited Bhutan in 2018, which is an increase of 7.61 per cent over 2017.
Of which, 2,10,730 tourists came from the regional countries with 10.37 per cent growth over 2017 while international leisure arrivals grew by 1.76 per cent to 63,367 over 2017.
The number of Bangladeshi tourists was 10,450 in 2018.
Referring to this development, the Bhutanese foreign minister denied that the new charges are aimed at cutting down tourism numbers, especially from India, and that in the next few years, it wants to allow them to ‘grow in a sustainable manner,’ according to the Times of India.
In fact, the Bhutanese government wants to stop regional tourists from using low-rent accommodation offered online, which has led to mushrooming of several unregulated homestays and guest houses, the report said.
The country is planning to levy the charges as part of implementing ‘high value, low volume’ tourism policy.
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