Earlier this morning, the Royal Government of Bhutan announced that tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives have to cough up around 17$ per day as the Sustainable Development Fee. This move brought an end to decades-long free entry of Indians to the majestic country of Bhutan where people use Happiness as Index. The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) has been in a place for many of foreign nationals who wish to explore the beautiful country of Bhutan however, tourists apart from India, Bangladesh and Maldives had to pay around 65$ for SDF and cover charge of 250$ per day.
The fee for Indians, Bangladeshis’ and Maldivians are comparatively lower than their counterparts. Indian’s mainly travel to the developed western regions of Bhutan, however, the government is deciding to promote the eastern regions of Bhutan which if the tourists decide to visit the SDF will not be charged for the 11 out of 20 regions of eastern Bhutan. “The levy of SDF to regional tourists will help in ensuring an exclusive experience to all tourists which is the intent of our tourism policy of high value, low volume,” Mr Dorji Dhradul said when he mentioned to the implementation of SDF for these nations.
Dorji Dhradul is Bhutan’s Tourism Council Director who spearheaded the idea of introducing SDF which will in turn help to provide better facility to the tourists. Visitors of all ages can visit Bhutan and tourists under the age of 5 from these regions can still visit Bhutan for free, tourists aged 6-12 need to pay around 9$ as SDF and rest need to pay 17$ as SDF fee to the government.
Note: The SDF will be charged from July onwards until then tourists from India, Bangladesh and Maldives can still visit the tourist places of Bhutan for free.