Friday, February 2, 2024

Tourism Levy Act of Bhutan 2022: Need for Rethink

I just returned from an overnight trip to Punakha where I was invited to be a Guest Speaker at the on-going Cultural Tour Guide NC II Level Training at the De-suung Skilling Program (DSP) Training Center at Phadula. Of the 30 PowerPoint Slides I presented during the speak that went on for the whole day, the following was one of the slides:

The other slide was the following – to prove what some countries around the world do - in an attempt to woo back the tourists. By contrast, Bhutan chose to triple the SDF to US$200.00 per person per day – from the earlier US$65.00.

Thankfully the SDF has since been reduced to US$100.00 but there are other damaging provisions in the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 that needs to be removed without further delay. If that is not done proto, the government will find that it had not only shot itself in the foot – but its belly as well. Even more dangerous, there is the possibility that we may never be able to make amends, as we wish - should we delay action any further.

All that it will take is half a day of discussion among genuinely qualified people who know better – so that the sticks in the mud are ejected and we can look forward to an era of bountiful tourism business.

Also, we need to rein in the Lucifer - DrukAir - who is strangulating the industry with its atrocious airfare. It is not only losing business for itself; it is driving away potential tourists to the country.

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