Government aims to increase dollar paying tourists to 70 percent

During the first Meet-the-Press conference on 29 February, the media highlighted concerns regarding the government’s commitment to attracting 300,000 tourists and the relatively low number of dollar-paying tourists in the country.

On this the Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay responded, “I have instructed the Department of Immigration to expedite visa processing. We will deploy sufficient manpower to operate in three shifts, ensuring prompt handling of online applications. The Department of Immigration will put up an application to seek additional human resources so that we can offer 24/7 services, including weekends, for immediate assistance.”

In accordance with its pledge, the government intends to formulate a distinct action plan aimed at achieving an annual inbound tourist count of 300,000. This plan may encompass a review of the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) and any other regulatory procedures requiring modification. It is expected that this plan will be crafted in collaboration with input from all tourism stakeholders.

Minister of Industry Commerce and Employment (MoICE) Lyonpo Namgyal Dorji shared, “In the past, we’ve had a ratio of around 30 percent dollar-paying tourists and 70 percent regional tourists. Our goal is to raise the percentage of dollar-paying tourists to 50 percent within the initial year, then progressively increase it to 60 percent, and eventually to 70 percent. We are developing strategies to enhance tourist arrivals. The Prime Minister has engaged with the Department of Immigration, instructing them to streamline tourist visa processing within 24 hours. Strategies are being devised accordingly.”

Minister of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, D.N. Dhungyel,  stated, “The government has committed to elevating annual tourist arrivals to 300,000, with an anticipated 50 percent being dollar-paying tourists and the other 50 percent paying in INR. We have made this pledge and are confident in achieving it. Efforts are underway to strategize for this goal. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already initiated efforts to promote and increase tourist numbers. We have corresponded with Bhutanese Embassies abroad, gathering their feedback and engaging in discussions. To develop effective strategies and promote tourism, adequate budget allocation is essential, and we have included this in our estimated budget.”

The total number of tourists in the country from September 2022 till December 2023 was 123,963 out of which 40,151 were dollar paying and 83,812 were Indian tourists.

Check Also

BNB observes Global Money Week with Talakha Monastery

In commemoration of Global Money Week (GMW) from 18- 23 March, Bhutan National Bank (BNB) …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *