Bhutan’s lower house on February 3 passed a legislation that makes it mandatory for visitors from India, Bangladesh and the Maldives to pay a fee of Rs 1200 per day for its “sustainable development” from July this year.
The Himalayan kingdom, which is concerned about its ecology and environment, decided to impose the fee following an increase in Indian tourists. There was a 10 per cent hike in the number of tourists from the three countries who visited Bhutan in 2018.
Government sources in New Delhi said, the ‘Tourism Levy and Exemption Bill of Bhutan 2020’ which the National Assembly of Bhutan is still discussing, imposes a “nominal” fee to develop tourism facilities and infrastructure. The bill includes additional provisions for visit of tourists from the region to Bhutan.
The Bhutanese authorities have assured the Indian government that “tourists from India would not be inconvenienced in the course of the implementation of the new regulation”.