Bhutan Government Waives Off USD 65 a Day for Tourists

The move is expected to promote tourism in the eastern part of the country

Trongsa Dzong. (Source: www.drukasia.com)

 

Tourism is the main backbone of the Bhutanese economy and the government, since the establishment of the tourism industry in the 1970s, have been emphasizing on the high-value, low impact policy, where tourists pay USD 200 to 250 a day to visit the country.

Government to waive off USD 65 royalty to boost tourism in the eastern part of the country

The present government, however, waived off the USD 65 royalty to boost tourism in the eastern part of the country. Bhutan has 20 dzongkhags and the western parts of the country are much more developed in terms of infrastructure than the eastern part.

The tourists visiting the six dzongkhags of Lhuntse, Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Pemagatshel and Samdrupjongkhar will have to pay only USD 135 during the low season and USD 185 during the peak season.

The decision was made during the National Assembly session earlier this week when the Parliamentarians were deliberated The Tourism Levy exemption Bill.

While the members of the opposition and the National Council, which is the house of the review, objected the move, the government endorsed it as Money Bill.

Bhutan's finance minister, Namgay Dorji, who presented the Bill as a Money Bill said that the provision of the royalty waiver for tourists visiting the east is only valid for three years and the main motive is to encourage more tourists to visit the eastern part of the country.

According to the government's finding this year, only two percent of the total international tourists have visited the eastern dzongkhags.

The government has also promised that after waiving off the royalty, about 20 percent of the tourists will visit eastern dzongkhags.

The minister also said that the Levy Exemption Bill will be piloted until December 31, 2020, which will enhance the development of tourism in the east and boost the country's economy. It will also help in providing employment to youths in the tourism sector.

Bhutan's Prime Minister, Tshering Tobgay, said that the royalty was waived off for three years in order to market the eastern dzongkhags. "When tourists are well aware of the eastern dzongkhags, the tourists would visit without any exemptions."

The agriculture minister, Yeshey Dorji, supported the move, saying that it will add up to the good road conditions after the widening of East-West Highway construction is fully completed.

Benefits of tourism for the eastern dzongkhags

He said that the government's introduction of domestic air services and new trekking routes will even increase the number of tourists visiting the eastern dzongkhags.

However, the opposition leader, Pema Gyamtsho, said that the Bill will affect the country's high-value low-impact tourism policy.

He said that the issue is not about waiving off the royalty of USD 65 but they are more concerned about the tourism policy.

A member of the opposition party, who is also the Panbang member of Parliament, Dorji Wangdi, said that government should understand that tourists are not visiting eastern dzongkhags because they cannot afford the daily tariff of USD 65, but because of the lack of infrastructure like domestic airports, hotels and poor road conditions.

"With the completion of the East-West Highway and the starting of domestic air services, I am sure that tourist might opt to visit the eastern dzongkhags and even without waiving off the daily tariff," he said.

Prime Minister said that in 12 months, only 7,200 tourists have visited the eastern dzongkhags and after waiving off the royalty, if the number of tourists increases three fold, the number will increase up to 21,000 tourists. If this figure is divided into six dzongkhags, it will have not much of an impact. "Then the tourism policy of high-value low-impact would not be affected."

He said that the western side of the country has been reaping the fruits of having good numbers of tourists visiting every year while the eastern part was left out by tourists. With the waiving off of the royalty, the government is hopeful to have a good number of tourists.

The Prime Minister also said that with the increasing number of tourists in the east, people living in the east and the country's economy at large would benefit. "The Association of Bhutanese Tour Operator is also in favour of waiving off the royalty."

The royalty is levied in addition to the minimum daily tariff of USD 200 during the lean season and USD 250 during the peak season.

In 2016, 54,600 international tourists visited Bhutan.

 

By Chimi Wangmo for the New Bhutan Times.

 


Tag Cloud

Related Posts

Thimphu Tschechu 2017 - A Visual Feast

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a...

Oct 06, 2017 18:29

Dochula Tschechu – Truly Captivating!

What makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique is that while the mask dances performed elsewhere in Bhutan are...

Nov 24, 2017 05:19

Journey to the Fascinating Royal Highland Festival in Laya

Chimi Wangmo, based in Thimphu, traversed through beautiful landscapes to witness the fascinating Royal Highland...

Dec 07, 2017 09:18

Pray to Conceive at the Chimi Lhakhang

For couples who longed to have children, miracles were said to have happened after they have received fertility...

Nov 08, 2017 08:44

Tourism Growth Boosts Handicrafts Business

“We can see the happiness in the colours and it’s very special. I think it’s essential that westerners come over,...

Nov 01, 2017 07:10

Royal Highland Festival in Laya

To make Laya a tourist destination, the first edition of the highland festival contributed about Nu 5 million to the...

Oct 29, 2017 10:08

Latest

News

Ashi Tashi Chodzom Dorji Becomes First Bhutanese To Be Honoured With Order Of Australia Award

She was instrumental in strengthening the relations between Bhutan and Australia.

Jul 12, 2018 11:38

Bhutan Marked International Day Against Drug Abuse And Illicit Trafficking With The Theme ‘Listen First’

This year, the United Nations celebrated the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the theme ‘Listen First.’

Jul 11, 2018 15:58

Features

11th Golden Youth Award Camp Aims To Inspire Bhutanese Youth To Excel Holistically

The camp’s theme ‘Celebrating Unity for Excellence’, is a pledge by the youth to be advocators and agents of peace, harmony and...

Jul 12, 2018 16:14

Asian Development Bank: Bhutan Among Fastest Growing Economies In Asia

In 2018, Bhutan’s GDP is projected to grow by 7.1 percent, the second highest growth after India (7.3 percent).

Jul 10, 2018 18:48

Sports

Future Of Bhutan’s Women Football Depends On The Development Of Local Coaches

The football coach of the national women’s team, Sung Jea Lee said that there is a need to train local coaches.

Jul 08, 2018 18:16

Bhutan’s Two Young Representatives Shared Their Unforgettable Experiences At The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Bhutan was represented by two students, Rigzin Tenzin, 12, from Gelephu and Kinley Deki Yangzom, 12, from Lobesa Lower Secondary School,...

Jun 30, 2018 14:06

Business

Royal Bhutan Helicopter Services Has Generated Profits And Served More Than 500 Tourists And Locals Since 2016

The RBHS was launched with the primary objective of providing services during medical emergencies and natural disasters and also for tourism...

Jul 14, 2018 14:23

White Button Mushroom Trial Cultivation A Success In Chukha, Bhutan

In April this year, four areas were identified in Darla (Tala), Chasilakha and Tsimalakha for the trial programme.

Jul 09, 2018 18:27

Travel

Heading To Haa, Bhutan For The Summer Festival? Here Are Some Culinary Delights You Must Not Miss!

Savour the most delectable cuisine from the province of Haa in Bhutan.

Jul 13, 2018 14:54

Rare Masked Dances - One Of The Unique Features Of The Kholong Tshechu (Brawl Festival) In Bhutan

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the country,” said...

Jul 03, 2018 14:44

Lifestyle

Bhutan Film Festival Held In Sikkim To Commemorate 50 Years Of Bhutan-India Friendship Ended With Colourful Traditional Dances

Bhutanese celebrities and Sikkim’s local artists performed various traditional and cultural performances at the festival.

Jul 15, 2018 14:32

Outdoor Gym A Hit With Residents Of Trashigang In Bhutan

The residents of Trashigang are becoming increasingly health conscious and the outdoor gym facility has been used to its fullest capacity by...

Jul 07, 2018 15:48

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!