The Bhutan government is planning to take steps to ensure that the country remains as an exclusive tourist destination.
With Bhutan becoming a mass tourism destination site mostly overcrowded with Indian tourists, many foreign travel companies have opted out the country from its product list by complaining that the country has lost its calm appeal and has become a noisy place.
Moreover, even high-end tourists complain that they had difficulty in getting hotel rooms while they pay a huge charge whereas the regional tourists can get it at cheaper rates.
Indian, Bangladeshi and Maldivian tourists classified as ‘regional tourists’ in Bhutan
Also, with the country becoming overcrowded and noisy, the tariff paying tourists feel that they cannot get the sense of happiness and peacefulness that are considered as the main factors to be looked in a place while travelling.
In order to prevent the country from becoming a mass tourism destination site, the Bhutan government is planning to control the number of tourist flow in a year and charging a minimum fee from regional tourists as recommended by the Pay Commission.
The government is also planning to standardize the low budget hotels in the country and ensuring that they take a limited number of regional tourists, according to reports.
The Tourism Council of Bhutan is planning to monitor the facilities of all the hotels in the country.
It is also looking to control the number of foreign vehicles entering the country and to ensure that a few people travel in such vehicles.
To promote itself as a high end tourism destination, the council is also planning to partner with agencies like CNN, BBC and National Geographic.
The Fourth Bhutan Pay Commission report has recently recommended that the government should levy a minimal Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) on regional tourists.
It suggests that the government to start with a SDF of 500 Ngultrums (same rate as Indian rupee) for the ‘regional tourists’.
The report said that since ‘regional tourists’ are visiting Bhutan in droves, the government would earn 425 million Nu (6.25 million U.S. dollars or 4.25 crore Indian rupees) annually if they imposed the SDF.
Bhutan has been receiving increasing number of regional tourists. In 2017, around 170,000 regional tourists visited Bhutan, which increased to 202,290 in 2018 — almost three times that of international tourists.