Bhutan Government Waives Off USD 65 a Day for Tourists

Email

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

National Assembly Election 2018: Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa And Druk Phuensum Thosgpa Through To General Round

Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa secured 92,722 votes and Druk Phuensum Thosgpa secured 90,020 votes.

Sep 15, 2018 21:50

Samdrup Jongkhar Aims To Be The First Plastic Free Town In Bhutan

It may take time for Samdrup Jongkgar to become a completely plastic-free town but the residents will work towards fulfilling this dream...

Sep 11, 2018 16:56

Features

Drukgyel Dzong Which Used To House Sacred Bhutanese Documents Lost to A Fire In 1951, To Be Restored By 2022

The reconstruction works began in April 2016 after the command of His Majesty The King to celebrate the birth of His Royal Highness (HRH)...

Sep 17, 2018 15:42

11 Year Old Author Revives Forgotten Snowball Culture Of ‘Khakey’ In Bhutan

Khakey is a custom that originated in Western Bhutan and was popular a few generations ago.

Sep 13, 2018 19:27

Sports

Bhutanese Female Athlete Aces In Athletics And Boxing While Juggling Studies

Tandin was selected to compete at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia last month.

Sep 09, 2018 17:24

An American Won The Breath-Taking 268km Tour Of The Dragon Mountain Bike Race In Bhutan

The 268 km race is considered as the toughest one-day mountain bike race in the world.

Sep 05, 2018 16:30

Business

Cultivation Of Avocado Looks Set To Take Off In Tsirang, Bhutan

A few farmers have already started selling avocados in the Sunday vegetable market for about Nu 250-350 a kilogram.

Sep 18, 2018 15:38

BEBL Group Aims To Export Bhutan’s Finest Agro-Products To New Markets Such As The Middle-East

Most of the Bhutanese commodities are absorbed within the Indian market, BEBL feels that the farmers are deprived of their deserving market...

Sep 14, 2018 17:52

Travel

Handicrafts Shops Thrives In Paro Selling Bhutanese Textile, Paintings, Bamboo Products And More

With businesses picking up fast as a result of the tourism boom, the handicraft shops in Paro have even formed a committee with a...

Sep 16, 2018 14:56

Be Awe-Inspired By The ‘Dance Of The Terrifying Gods’ And More At The Thimphu Tshechu Which Starts On 19 Sept

Held from 19 to 21 Sept 2018, the annual Thimphu Tshechu (festival) is a vibrant visual feast for both locals and foreigners.

Sep 12, 2018 20:45

Lifestyle

Miniature Bhutan Creates Amazing Artworks Out Of Pencil Lead And Rice Grains

Miniature Bhutan carves on the lead of pencil tips to make traditional miniature sculptures such as the Buddha, traditional bridges, swords...

Sep 10, 2018 12:44

Bhutan Buy - E-Commerce Platform Seeks To Promote Sale Of Bhutanese Products And Change The Way Bhutanese Shop

Samir Pradhan started Bhutanbuy, an e-commerce company, the first of its kind in Bhutan.

Sep 06, 2018 23:30

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!