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Old 9th June 2019, 14:48   #16
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

The Indian army manages the border roads in Bhutan so the Bhutanese are easy with Indians entering into Bhutan for tourism. However, Bhutan is not a cheap destination. Everything is expensive from food to stay and tour guides and the Bhutan government makes it mandatory that most of the overseas visitors need to travel with a guide only.

The trend is that Bhutan is slowly getting overcrowded with Indian tourists and they might feel that they need to regulate tourist inflow. Tourism is the main source of revenue for Bhutan and if they start charging more(i.e. on par with other international tourists @ $250 per day)then people will stop going to Bhutan.

If they feel that they need to restrict tourists, they can put a limit on the no.of Indian tourists entering Bhutan per week/month.
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Old 9th June 2019, 14:49   #17
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I’m not really a fan of few fellow Indian tourists’ behavior and etiquettes I have encountered in foreign countries.

But this looks like a cry of sour grapes from Western travelers who for some reason think backpacking and vacationing is their thing and don’t want to go to places where travelers from Chinese, Indians or other developing countries visit.

I browse few travel related forums and the hate against Chinese and Indian tourists is strong. Some of them are for valid reasons because of their behavior but most of the times it’s plain old racism and stereotyping. Ironically, traveling the world was supposed to make people help understand cultural differences and richer in experience but most of these kind of people just do this for bragging and for pursuing Instagram lifestyle and see others as people who ruin their pictures.

Last edited by Yieldway17 : 9th June 2019 at 14:51.
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Old 9th June 2019, 16:39   #18
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

Agree with Bhutan's policy. Tourism runs the economy but has an adverse impact on the environment. Need to reign it in.
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Old 9th June 2019, 18:47   #19
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

The easy entry of Indians into Bhutan is part of a bilateral deal.

If it could, Bhutan would keep out ALL tourists. Never made a secret of it. And in general we would make the worst brand ambassadors for India. (Expecting to be flamed for saying it!)

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Old 9th June 2019, 21:22   #20
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

Indian government should also limit number of tourists visiting hill stations in summers. Ladakh, Himachal, Uttarakhand are overcrowded with tourists. Conditions of Haridwar-Rishikesh-Badrinath route are unprecedently bad. People are sleeping inside their vehicles stranded in traffic jams. Here is a video I shot today of a long jam in Haridwar :
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Old 9th June 2019, 23:26   #21
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

I spent a week with family last year in Bhutan. We were advised by a friend who had just returned to book through a tourist agency in Bhutan only.

The entire tour was handled very professionally by the agency who deputed two guides to accompany us in two cars with local drivers. It was worth it because the entire trip went off seamlessly with all paperwork handled by the guides. It is also easier to cross check points & go trekking up to Tigers nest etc once you are seen being accompanied by a guide.

The tour agency owner hosted us over a dinner on our first day. We were the only Indians in that group. The owner admitted that he prefers to only entertain foreigners due to issues like littering, unruly behavior and some more issues which we Indian tourists have a bad reputation for worldwide.

Seeing the situation at the border crossing of Jaigaon/Phuentsoling is depressing. As soon as one crosses over the Indian side, garbage and filth greets you.

Bhutan is a well organised, neat and safe country from which we have lots to learn. No littering, no open sewage drains, excellent roads and road discipline. Friendly and hospitable simple folk who are dedicated to preserving their natural resources.

Bhutanese taxi drivers dont prefer to drive inside India as they find the lack of road manners and road conditions.
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Old 11th June 2019, 10:35   #22
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

I completely agree with the move. I was lucky enough to visit Ladakh in 2009 before the madness began. And just last year I visited Bhutan. It would be a great tragedy if Bhutan too went the Ladakh way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
If i can frankly and honestly say so while honestly and humbly truly not meaning to offend the majority here, I found the 'Indian family tour group' crowd being much, much more of a nuisance at serene places when it came to noise, littering and general insensitivity to the surroundings.
Agreed but it is not just the "family tour group". It is also couples or friends groups. And the problem is also not the numbers. As you say, most Indians cannot respect their surroundings and the local culture. You will always have some group blaring Bollywood songs at most serene places.

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Originally Posted by revintup View Post
₹4500 crores.
The amount that India has sanctioned for Bhutan in 2018.
Bhutan did not ask for the money. And we are not giving it out of goodness of heart. The main reason is to keep China away.
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Old 11th June 2019, 11:32   #23
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

For a nation that is ecologically vulnerable/sensitive due to its topography, it is good that they are being proactive in ensuring the environment is not damaged. While not an exact comparison, Nepal is a prime example of how excess/uncontrolled tourism (for Mt. Everest) can be harmful.

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/...747197758.html

There's no easy/appeasing-to-all way of curtailing tourist inflow; let's see how they introduce this.
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Old 11th June 2019, 11:36   #24
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Originally Posted by Yieldway17 View Post
Iím not really a fan of few fellow Indian touristsí behavior and etiquettes I have encountered in foreign countries.
Ohh, if you think we Indians are bad wait till you meet a Chinese tourist group! They will push, shove, barge, bump, knock, prod, poke you out of their way to get a photo! They will ruin your shot to get theirs and keep at it for a really long long time, and so on and on and on. In case you are at a place and you see a group coming, run!


But yeah, I've seen Indian groups be as bad. We don't tend to behave badly if alone but no idea what comes over when we are in a group! I have seen people chanting "Jai Hind" together in Switzerland loudly much to others' dismay. Loud discussions and phone conversations are pretty common even in silent coaches. Plus the tendency to litter by children and parents not being bothered by it is infuriating. Locals generally tend to paint a generalized picture and you can be at the receiving end even if you aren't at fault 'cos some ill-mannered person behaved terribly earlier. And for heaven's sake, please tip where deemed necessary! You spend over a couple of lakhs to enjoy a place, another $5-$10 isn't going to make you bankrupt! Though Europe doesn't mandate tipping generally, if you are in an American joint like HRC, do tip.


/rant
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Old 11th June 2019, 12:03   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revintup View Post
₹4500 crores.

The amount that India has sanctioned for Bhutan in 2018. I just hope that these financial aids too are rejected by the Bhutanese authorities alongwith Indian tourists. Make no mistake, every single ₹ comes from the tax payers pocket.
Lets understand, we are no saints, no one is. Bhutan is not just any neighbor. Its geopolitically, a strategic one. So our aid is not without its reasons in keeping our neighbor happy, in a way in our pockets. Lets not confuse that with the sovereign right of the kingdom to do what it feels is the right thing for the economic stability of the kingdom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrodoOfTheShire View Post
mass tourism destination site mostly overcrowded with Indian tourists,
If I can be honest at the risk of annoying a few pseudo nationalists, many of us Indians really need to learn civic sense. Whererever we go, we are loud and annoying. At many places we do not respect their culture and take things for granted. And our 'kithna detha hai' attitude and approach results in us being seen as penny pinchers. Remember while we claim we line the pockets of the countries by going there in large numbers under the guise of tourisim, the average joe in the street doesnt benefit much. Lets admit it, he would be happy dealing with a westerner than us. And that shows in their attitude. Even locally I have seen how a few places have lost their charm once they became mass tourist destinations. Point in case - Goa, Ladakh, Darjeeling, Shimla... All these quaint places have lost their charm that was once associated with them.

A country like Bhutan which is known for its polite clean and relatively honest people will find it difficult to digest and average brash desi who is willing to shout and bribe his way through. I really feel sad and wish our countryman will become more civilized.

One thing I have learnt over years of backpacking, Indians, Chinese and to some extent Russians are the most hated lot when it comes to being guests in a foreign land !

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Originally Posted by skchettry View Post
As an Indian from the North East and having seen Bhutan recently, myself and my governments are all to be blamed for letting more of Indians choose Bhutan as a tourist destination rather than our own North East. We have a lot of potential, much better than what we find in Bhutan. We just need to pay due attention and build the infrastructure and build the tourism inclined mentality. There are amazing places to visit in the NE.
Well said, sadly once they become mass tourist destination they will start loosing their charm too :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
If i can frankly and honestly say so while honestly and humbly truly not meaning to offend the majority here, I found the 'Indian family tour group' crowd being much, much more of a nuisance at serene places when it came to noise, littering and general insensitivity to the surroundings.
+1 to that

Quote:
Originally Posted by Udit View Post
Indian government should also limit number of tourists visiting hill stations in summers. Ladakh, Himachal, Uttarakhand are overcrowded with tourists. Conditions of Haridwar-Rishikesh-Badrinath route are unprecedently bad. People are sleeping inside their vehicles stranded in traffic jams. Here is a video I shot today of a long jam in Haridwar :
I was just there until last week for 7 days on account of wedding and I can totally relate to this traffic jam video that you have posted. I have also lost count, the number of times a DL registered vehicle was picking up a fight with the local folks making the already horrible traffic jam worse. There was this one incident where 3 DL registered vehicle had way laid a local auto rickshaw and the women from the cars surrounded the rikshaw driver and were yelling at him. Me and my driver stepped out to diffuse the situation and had to move them to side of the road to clear the pile up a bit. Since I was in a hurry, I had to leave, but I still remember the fear ridden face of the risksaw driver. The policemen who arrived were mere spectators. My apologies for being a prick, but I had to wade through this traffic to reach the Har Ki Pauri area almost on a daily basis, so the annoyance is fresh in my mind.

Last edited by Aditya : 11th June 2019 at 12:55. Reason: Back to back posts merged
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Old 11th June 2019, 14:43   #26
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

Leaving aside the whole "who should be restricted, who should not" aspects, the entry of more than a number of ANY type of tourist to an area, especially an ecologically sensitive one that cannot support more than a specific number will prove detrimental.

Look at the way things have gone with tiger reserve tourism in India where as recently as 2009 you could just show up at the entry gates of a very popular reserve like Bandhavgarh and simply get slots for the next safari (I used to do that; I no longer go to reserves because of the crowds). Today, you need to book well in advance or go through operators who have some degree of influence. And it's a big myth that 'the locals' benefit from tourism to a large extent. Probe around a bit at any of the big hotels surrounding any tiger reserve and you'll see who really makes most of the money. The locals at best gain irregular, seasonal employment for very little money.

It's first admirable that Bhutan can think about doing something like this. After a point, the pressure from tour agencies, transport, hotels, restaurants, packaged drinking water sales, etc etc becomes too much for any government to simply ban the whole show and they have no choice but to let things go on. Some governments do take steps when the situation is on the verge of disaster, like the closure of Maya Bay in Thailand. As they say, the wisest man is one who learns from other's mistakes. And Buthan by proactively taking these steps is proving wise indeed.
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Old 11th June 2019, 21:32   #27
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

I think a bit of background of Bhutan is needed.

Bhutan is poor, but content.
Tourism is not important to Bhutan from the economic standpoint.
Interestingly it will soon have a higher per capita income than India, mainly from sale of electricity to India. (The fact that the full capital investment for this comes from India does not mean India owns the electricity produced).

The $250 per Pax includes accommodation and transport. And a concierge service by means of an embedded guide. Still quite expensive.

The population of Bhutan is less than a million. Which makes them extremely vulnerable to being 'corrupted'.
Existing in a landlocked country, not easily accessible, they formed their own closed society with its associated culture. It was closer to that of Tibet than to that of India. The British imposed 'treaty' on them, but otherwise they lived in isolation. India inherited that treaty, and subsequently renewed it.

What the Chinese did (and are still doing) in Tibet scared them $h**less. But what happened to Sikkim also made them uncomfortable. However they see more value in being allied to India. India also sees it the same way. India pays for a significant portion of their costs. In return we get their support, and goodwill. Moment we start throwing our weight around, thinking we own them, and expressing that they are ingrates, that goodwill is going to vanish very fast. (To those who are interested, lookup India's evolving relationship with Nepal. And the role of Indian newschannels in it, esp. after the earthquake).

No one can fault them for trying to preserve their unique culture. We should appreciate that. And not behave like 'Ugly Indians'.

Regards
Sutripta

Last edited by Sutripta : 11th June 2019 at 22:00.
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Old 12th June 2019, 07:58   #28
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Default Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow

Saw this interesting post on facebook - link

Quote:
Been to Bhutan recently and after talking to some of my friends working over there in the hospitality industry, I came to some conclusions:

  1. Bhutan is yet to get high end tourists much because of the barriers put. Apart from the folks from India, Bangladesh and Maldives, all have to pay $250 per day in addition to the whole package; that’s a huge amount of money in compared to what we spend.
  2. 2Five star properties there are making huge losses and that’s why perhaps they want a level playing field.
  3. Bhutan already has a restrictive policy towards tourism though that mainly doesn’t cover us.
  4. 4I interacted with a couple from Britain and they told me that Bhutan is a favoured place for many in the west but prohibitive prices put them off and they kind of felt otherwise when somebody like me is seeing the same place with a quarter of the money they were spending!
  5. Restricting tourism is okay as long as that doesn’t hit the average Bhutanese people. Healthcare and education is free in Bhutan but apart from that tourism is one of the main revenue areas.
  6. I found Indians to be noisy and demanding at most of the places I have traveled so far ... so that bit is annoying no less.
  7. And lastly, Bhutan as a travel destination is good but our north east India is spectacular when compared to Bhutan. People think of north east as some other country where food habits are different, people are dangerous and militants roam around in the streets. The day our own people discover the north east India, Bhutan will have more peace than ever!

Last edited by GTO : 14th June 2019 at 08:03. Reason: Adding original source of content
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Old 12th June 2019, 12:52   #29
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Originally Posted by Nitish.arnold View Post
The day our own people discover the north east India, Bhutan will have more peace than ever!
I certainly hope the North-East sees more development in terms of connectivity, hospitals, schools and colleges, and industry/employment. BUT for the sake of the locals there and for their daily lives, NOT so that the rest of us can go there as pampered tourists!

The issue we all have is of thinking 'tourism' is the path to development. It's a myth, spun by the businesses that stand to gain by the tourist rush, and to make us feel less guilty about visiting a place and 'contributing' to the local economy there. Contributing to the deterioration more like it! Sure there will be a trickle-down effect of spending. But almost always any such tourism-driven development is nothing more than a big rush to capitalize on natural beauty that none of the beneficiaries (government, businesses, tourists) actually created or are doing anything to sustain.

It takes a bold government to call this bluff and say no to this mess. Again, bravo Bhutan!

Last edited by aah78 : 12th June 2019 at 17:20. Reason: Quoted post was edited.
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Old 12th June 2019, 13:42   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitish.arnold View Post
5. Restricting tourism is okay as long as that doesn’t hit the average Bhutanese people. Healthcare and education is free in Bhutan but apart from that tourism is one of the main revenue areas.
AFAIK tourism is not seen as a revenue stream and it's contribution to the economy is insignificant. By desire and design.

But check out the Lhotshampa problem. Bhutan claims they are illegal immigrants wanting access to to its free healthcare. The other view is that Bhutan did its own ethnic cleansing by disenfranchising an entire community. Under everybodies radar. Just mentioned it to highlight the lengths they will go to maintain their way of life, which is intertwined with them being an (almost homogeneous) ethnic group.

Quote:
Originally Posted by am1m View Post
I certainly hope the North-East sees more development in terms of connectivity, hospitals, schools and colleges, and industry/employment. BUT for the sake of the locals there and for their daily lives, NOT so that the rest of us can go there as pampered tourists!

The issue we all have is of thinking 'tourism' is the path to development. It's a myth, spun by the businesses that stand to gain by the tourist rush, and to make us feel less guilty about visiting a place and 'contributing' to the local economy there. Contributing to the deterioration more like it! Sure there will be a trickle-down effect of spending. But almost always any such tourism-driven development is nothing more than a big rush to capitalize on natural beauty that none of the beneficiaries (government, businesses, tourists) actually created or are doing anything to sustain.

It takes a bold government to call this bluff and say no to this mess. Again, bravo Bhutan!
Check out the origins/ rationale behind the Inner Line Permit.

In terms of connectivity, the NE was left wanting. By strategic design. That has changed now.

Regards
Sutripta

Last edited by aah78 : 12th June 2019 at 17:21. Reason: Quoted post was edited.
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