Bhutan readies to welcome tourists on 23 September

93 foreign visitors expected to fly in on 23 September

The Tourism Council of Bhutan will launch a new brand for the country on September 22. Previously, TCB embraced and marketed the country’s official flower, the blue poppy, with the slogan “Happiness is a place” as the brand for Bhutan’s tourism.

As per the TCB, additionally, 10 embassies have been requested to organize an event and promote the brand. On the same day, the new visa system will also be launched.

As per the Chief Marketing officer of TCB, Damchoe Rinzin, on September 23, they’ll also issue a press release and everything regarding how to proceed will be reflected in the press release.

Approximately 93 international visitors have so far been approved though not all of them are tourists. They will arrive in the country on September 23.

He said that there will be four aircrafts carrying the guests on that particular day at Paro Airport. “We also have a program, and the visitors will also receive gift bags,” he said.

TCB also plans a welcome ceremony for tourists on that day at Paro Airport and also the tourists entering the border gates. A program will be held in Phuentsholing, Samdrupjongkhar, Samtse, and Gelephu gates.

There is no information yet on how many Indian tourists paying the SDF of Nu 1,200 per person per day is coming from the land borders.

On Tourism rules and Regulations 2022, till 31 August, the feedback was open for the sector association and on 5th of September the consultation meeting was carried out in person with the various associations. On 8 September, it was presented to the council and currently it has been submitted to the cabinet.

As per the Department of Immigration, in the new system of Immigration, anyone can register from anywhere and application can be submitted only on payment of applicable SDF and visa fees.

An official from Department of Immigration said that E-visa or e- permit will be approved for 90 days and a tourist can travel anytime (one time) in between.

The department will also provide Visa or permit arrival facilities which is available for nationals from countries eligible for visa or permit on arrival.

Tourists will have to submit their Visa or permit arrival application to directly to department of immigration (Online system). The new system also says that the requirement of itinerary or route permit has been removed. Tourist are not required to submit and follow a pre-approved itinerary

Tourist are not required to stop at immigration checkpoints like the Hongtso checkpoint for interior dzongkhags 

A tourist with a visa or permit will be permitted to visit any areas, except those which fall within restricted or prohibited areas.

However, a tourist will be allowed to visit restricted areas identified as trekking route by the tourism council of Bhutan if accompanied by a trekking guide.

Tourists are Prohibited to go to areas such as   Chanjur in Samtse, Haa beyond Damthang,  Chekha in Paro,  Tshampa in Bumthang, Takpang and Singye Dzong in Lhuentse, Tobrang and  Singphey in Trashiyangtse.

The tourist is restricted to Soi and Lingzhi in Thimphu, Gunichawa in Paro, Khagtsang in Bumthang and beyond Bumdeling.

Responsibility as laid by the department for Tourist guides is that they shall always exercise good judgment and prudence. They must ensure that the tourists do not stray into areas identified as prohibited areas, follow the trekking route and approved by the TCB, ensure that the tourists respect local norms and customs and ensure that the tourists do not engage in any act against the Tsa-Wa-Sum.

As per immigration department, the tour guides will be held fully accountable for any misuse or lapses, including prosecution in a court of law and or penalties under the immigration Act of the Kingdom of Bhutan and any other laws, rules and regulations as may be applicable.

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