Tourists from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives have to pay a fee of 1,200 ngultrums (USD 16.85) per day in Bhutan from July this year.
The majority of tourists already cough up USD 250 per day in high season — including meals, transport, and accommodation — to visit the Himalaya nation.
On Monday Bhutan’s lower house of parliament passed an Act paving the way for the Royal government to charge visitors from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives a fee of 1,200 ngultrums (USD 16.85) per day from July.
In 2018, Bhutan received 200,000 visitors from countries in the region, up nearly 10 per cent from 2017, sparking fears that it was becoming just another mass tourism destination.
India’s cricket captain Virat Kohli did much to publicise Bhutan when he posted on social media photos from a recent trip with his wife, Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma.
While India’s foremost celebrity couple, nicknamed collectively as “Virushka”, behaved themselves, others have not.
Last October an Indian biker caused outrage by clambering on top of a monument to pose for a photograph.
The chairman of Bhutan”s hotel and restaurants association, Sonam Wangchuk, voiced fears that newly built budget hotels accommodating the surge in Indian visitors would now go bust.