Indian Tourists Need to Pay Sustainable Development Fee While Entering Bhutan!

As per the sources, the Bhutanese government has made it a mandate to charge a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) from tourists of the neighbouring countries like India, Bangladesh and Maldives. The SDF charge has been levied after incidents of tourists violating law and order, not showing disrespect towards Bhutan’s local traditions and customs were reported. The decision to implement the SDF on tourists from India was taken during the visit of Bhutan’s Foreign Minister, Tandi Dorji, in November.

What is the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)?

As per the current policies, tourists entering Bhutan from either of its three neighbouring countries weren't supposed to pay any entry or visa charges. Whereas, tourists from other nations had to pay a fee of USD 250 (per day basis) to the Bhutanese Government, which included Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of USD 65. However, after the imposition of this new law, Tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives will also pay an SDF of INR 1,000 per person.

Why is SDF Imposed?

Dorji Dhradhul, Director General of Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) said, that the idea to extend the visa fee to India and other nations is in line with Bhutan’s high-value-low-impact tourism policy. The policy draft has been in place for four years. As for the USD 250 fee, which amounts to INR 17,700 approximately, if applied, it may hurt the pockets of many Indian tourists for whom Bhutan was an affordable international destination until now.

What are your views on the Bhutanese government levying a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) on Indian tourists? Let us know in the comments below.

This post was published by Ashutosh Chandra

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