Bhutan has been a supreme destination for Indian travelers for decades. The scenic beauty of the country has always lured Indian tourist especially the honeymooners. Apart from the awestruck landscape, Bhutan has been a favorite destination of Indians because it caused less dent on your pocket.
Indian citizen does not require a visa to visit Bhutan. Earlier, they were required to carry only two valid travel documents, i.e, an Indian passport with a minimum of 6 months’ validity and/or an Indian Voter Card issued by the Election Commissioner of India. There was also no entry fee for Indian tourists. They were only required to get an entry permit by presenting the valid travel documents.
But now the Government of Bhutan is set to make a change in the decade-old rule for Indian Travelers. The Bhutan Government passed a Tourism Levy and Exemption Bill on 3rd February 2020, in which it mentioned to charge a fixed entry fee from the tourists visiting from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives. The fee is termed as ‘Sustainable Development Fee (SDF)’.
Entry Fee of Bhutan – 2020
The tourist from India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives has to pay an entry fee of INR 1200 per person above the age of 12 from July 2020. Children between the age of 6 and 12, need to pay a fee of INR 600. Children below the age of 6 are exempted from SDF. The SDF levied by Bhutan will be a direct revenue to the government and will also help Bhutan in managing and controlling a large number of tourists visiting the country. The revenue collected will also be utilized for the social development of the citizens of Bhutan.
However, according to the Tourist Council of Bhutan, tourists from India mainly visit the developed western part of Bhutan and therefore there will no SDF for Indian tourists visiting the Eastern part of the country.
For a note, an SDF of $65 already existed for other foreign tourists visiting Bhutan with an additional compulsory and flat charge of $250 per day.