Bhutan tourism tariff to be revised based on the recommendation of the National Council and the seven point proposal put by the National Council to the Government. Bhutan tourism tariff was revised 25 years ago and is being reviewed for revision.
Tourism industry in Bhutan has been plagued by undercutting which undermines the “high value low impact” goal of the Bhutan Government. Undercutting means bring tourists to Bhutan for less than the daily tariff set by the Royal Government of Bhutan. During peak season tourists are to pay US$250/day and US$200/day during the lean season.
With almost 1500 tour operators today, tour operators lower the rate to get business. Bhutanese operators in collusion with foreign partners sell Bhutan at a much lower rate. Some even sell Bhutan for as low as US$120/day. This results in putting tourists in much lower standard hotels and providing low grade service.
Recently the National council has recommended the Government to revise the pricing policy to curb the issue of undercutting.
The revision of the tourism tariff could either mean raising the Government royalty or the Government just charging the royalty and leaving the price to the market forces.
With limited business opportunity in Bhutan almost everybody owns a tourism operating license in Bhutan. This business looks promising with many tour operators growing affluent in a shot time with the help of foreign partners.
The rumour of revision of tourism tariff has sparked debate amongst the different circles in Bhutan. The old timers in tourism feel its better to keep the old system while researched scholars feel the old system is bringing negative impact in terms of pricing and quality of tourism.
Bhutan is further plagued by the influx of regional tourism. Regional tourism is referred to Indians and Bangladeshis. From just 12,000 few years ago the regional tourism has surpassed the dollar paying tourists to over 65,000 this year. This rate is alarming as this could effect brand Bhutan as an exclusive high end destination.
The proposal to revise Bhutan tourism tariff has been tabled in the parliament. Now we wait for the final decision of the house to change future of tourism in Bhutan.