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FrodoOfTheShire 4th June 2019 12:25

Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Read this article today regarding Bhutan tourism. Since we have almost 15 or so travelogues for Bhutan from the last one and half year itself, it is no doubt a favourite holiday/driving destination for BHPians.

Quoting the article from NE NOW NEWS below -

Quote:

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.

Interestingly, this reminded me of a YouTube video from the channel ScoopWhoop titled "Killing Ladakh". The video highlights how the huge inflow of tourists into Ladakh (after the movie 3 Idiots) has ruined the ecosystem of the entire region. Its a really good watch and a big eye opener.

Hope the same doesn't happen to Bhutan. BHPians please share your thoughts.

GTO 5th June 2019 08:41

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Thread moved from the Assembly Line to the Travel Section. Thanks for sharing!

ninjatalli 5th June 2019 08:54

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
There is another key factor - while I was backpacking in SE Asia a month ago, I interacted with a lot of foreigners who were backpacking for 3-6 months (and longer), moving from country to country. Most of them were quite unhappy that they had to pay some $250 per day as a fee in Bhutan while Indians (and other 'regional' tourists) didn't have to at all; most chose to skip that country, even though it would have been one of their most wanted place to go on their lists.

To what I understood from them, there has been quite a lot of pressure from these countries on Bhutan to make it a more level playing field. Could be another potential cause of the above decision.

Red Liner 5th June 2019 09:03

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ninjatalli (Post 4599518)
There is another key factor - while I was backpacking in SE Asia a month ago, I interacted with a lot of foreigners who were backpacking for 3-6 months (and longer), moving from country to country. Most of them were quite unhappy that they had to pay some $250 per day as a fee in Bhutan while Indians (and other 'regional' tourists) didn't have to at all; most chose to skip that country, even though it would have been one of their most wanted place to go on their lists.

To what I understood from them, there has been quite a lot of pressure from these countries on Bhutan to make it a more level playing field. Could be another potential cause of the above decision.

The biggest reason why bhutan charges such huge money is to keep those backpackers away. The last thing the bhutanese government wants is a bunch of hippies sitting all over the quaint kingdom forever like what has happened in some parts of Himachal. Then follows cannabis, trance music, a local tourist economy that gets completely swayed by the hippies, which then looks like a country within a country.

Indians might be noisy et all, but we leave in a few days to get back home. Ghar ka khaana can't be ignored.

I am all for keeping that 250usd where it should be.

skchettry 5th June 2019 09:28

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Bhutan is within its rights to plan for themselves as a high end tourist destination at the cost of the regional tourists.
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.

ninjatalli 5th June 2019 09:49

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Red Liner (Post 4599522)
keep those backpackers away. The last thing the bhutanese government wants is a bunch of hippies sitting all over the quaint kingdom forever like what has happened in some parts of Himachal. Then follows cannabis, trance music, a local tourist economy that gets completely swayed by the hippies, which then looks like a country within a country.

Indians might be noisy et all, but we leave in a few days to get back home. Ghar ka khaana can't be ignored.

I am all for keeping that 250usd where it should be.

Hardly how the majority of backpackers are - I think you are living in the 60s or visualizing Dev Anand songs :)

Let me give you the snapshot of people (from EU, US and ANZ) I met across three countries in over a period of a month - recently graduated students, nurses, doctors, teachers, carpenters, software professionals, and such. All with leave breaks and/or plans of what to do once they get back. Hardly a guy who's planning on "hipping" it out over here. And not all of them smoked or were interested in the cannabis or other drugs. Drink, unanimously yes.

But this is OT discussion.
The primary reason of Bhutan charging that fee has been to keep the inflow limited and manageable, basically keeping it unspoiled. The fee can be waived for certain conditions favoring the local population (education aspects, etc). Not sure why Indians got the waiver, but I think the good relationship status between both nations might be the reason behind it. But not for long clearly.


Quote:

Originally Posted by skchettry (Post 4599533)
...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.

I wholeheartedly agree! But I have a feeling this isn't for long; and very soon as local transportation improves, in probably less than a decade, people in the NE are going to complain about the influx of local tourists disturbing their local setup.

mpksuhas 5th June 2019 17:58

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ninjatalli (Post 4599540)
Hardly how the majority of backpackers are

I guess what redliner was mentioning is the no solo traveller policy which Bhutan has. Though I guess its applicable only for male travellers as per articles online.

bsdbsd 6th June 2019 11:26

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Rant alert!
Tourism is fast becoming a curse everywhere in the world. I would be very happy if tourism starts getting curbed everywhere in the world, as its a win-win for everyone. Then, I wouldn't have to travel, thereby reducing air and noise pollution, save money, reduce risk of travel and reduce the unnecessary burden to this world in feeding our unwanted curiosities in the name of "self-discovery" and "broadening our horizons".

I am with Bhutan govt on this one. They should charge 10,000 INR for Visa and eliminate most of the tourists. Good for all. Whew...I feel lighter.

https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/05...airbnb/590221/

alpha1 6th June 2019 14:57

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bsdbsd (Post 4600210)
Rant alert!
Tourism is fast becoming a curse everywhere in the world. I would be very happy if tourism starts getting curbed everywhere in the world, as its a win-win for everyone. Then, I wouldn't have to travel, thereby reducing air and noise pollution, save money, reduce risk of travel and reduce the unnecessary burden to this world in feeding our unwanted curiosities in the name of "self-discovery" and "broadening our horizons".

I am with Bhutan govt on this one. They should charge 10,000 INR for Visa and eliminate most of the tourists. Good for all. Whew...I feel lighter.

https://www.citylab.com/life/2019/05...airbnb/590221/

:) Tourism is just one another aspect of consumerism fueled "growing"
economies.

Looks like Bhutan doesn't want to get suckered into this group-think.

am1m 6th June 2019 15:21

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ninjatalli (Post 4599540)
Hardly how the majority of backpackers are - I think you are living in the 60s or visualizing Dev Anand songs :)

+1 to that! My wife and I took a year off work in 2016 and travelled around our country. Mostly by public transport and by bike. Stayed in a lot of hostels and non-star hotels. Met a lot of backpackers and the general image has certainly changed. Mostly focused crowd, usually on a break from jobs or studies. The party/high-all-the-time was an exception, rather than the rule. 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.

But I'm all for limiting tourists and for an equally high entry fee charged to all types of tourists. Subsidize for students and locals, but charge everyone else the same. After two visits to Ladakh separated by a decade (and the release of a popular movie), I can only say - Good one Bhutan!

saket77 6th June 2019 16:32

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Bhutan is a much conservative country with a closed culture compared to other Asian countries. Also, according to the Constitution of Bhutan, they have pledged to keep at least 70% of land area forested. So, curbing tourists is but natural for them. Apart from the threat of a cosmopolitan culture staring to take over, they also need to hold on to their already tight resources. In fact, they have warmed up to the idea of cable channels just a few years ago, that too selective ones.

Most of the food stuff and vegetables are ferried from India, especially in winters. I remember that how potatoes and many other vegetables costed Rs. 80-90 per kg back in 2012 when I traveled to Bhutan with my wife. Petroleum, LPG, food items like vegetables etc are mostly ferried from India which obviously makes them little scarce. It is another fact that petrol & LPG were cheaper than what we get in India :eek:

But going by the cultural inclinations of the Bhutanese, I am not surprised if they tighten the tourist flow of the friendly countries like India, Nepal, B'desh etc. For other Nationals, Bhutan already charges $250 per person per day for people coming in groups. For solo travelers, this fee is $290.

Regards,
Saket

prasanna_indaje 6th June 2019 17:26

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Bhutan has high inflow of tourists from India and other neighboring countries. And they cant deny the fact that, a huge 'Regional tourist' dependent economy helps their growth.

They better charge visa fees for Indians and stop saying ' Tum Indians ko hum free Visa dete hain !', whenever there is huge rust at Phuentsholing immigration office.

revintup 7th June 2019 00:21

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
₹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.

FrodoOfTheShire 7th June 2019 08:22

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by bsdbsd (Post 4600210)

Thanks for sharing that article!

Quote:

Originally Posted by am1m (Post 4600342)
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. Wholeheartedly agreed. My blood boils when I see families like these arriving at a tourist destination, acting as if they own the place since they have paid some kind of fee, ruining the whole ambiance with the noise and then leaving behind a whole lot of litter :Frustrati

am1m 7th June 2019 09:19

Re: Bhutan to tighten tourist inflow
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by revintup (Post 4600620)
₹4500 crores.

Agreed, we foot a lot of Bhutan's bills.

But also remember that we do it mainly so that China doesn't get the chance to do it and gain a foothold in that country on our borders.


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