With the rising popularity of Bhutan, the beautiful destination may soon levy a fee to curb over-tourism. A fee of 500 Ngultrums (Rs 500) will be applicable to India, Maldives and Bangladesh soon.
International tourists are imposed with a fee of $250 (Rs 17,000) to enter Bhutan. However, the Fourth Bhutan Pay Commission report has recommended a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) on regional tourists from nearby countries.
The country is also introducing a cap on the number of tourists and foreign vehicles entering the country.
While Bhutan is known for its beauty, the increasing number of tourists over the past three years has increased three times making it overcrowded.
In 2017, 1,70,000 tourists visited Bhutan, while the number rose three times to 2,02,290 in 2018, according to Bhutan Tourism Monitor. This has also led to the unavailability of hotels and accommodation with a lot of tourists entering for free.
It is estimated that, this SDF will help the local government to earn 425 million NU (Rs. 4.25 crore) annually.
With this move, Bhutan will join countries like Venice, Japan and New Zealand who have taken similar steps to deal with over-tourism.
In 2018 alone over 2 lakh tourists visited the land of dragons out of which at least 60% were Indians.