BBS Tshering Dendup & Phub Gyem, Thimphu
Nov 30, 2017

The National Assembly (NA) decided to waive off the tourism royalty of US$ 65 per day for tourists visiting eastern districts yesterday. This was decided while discussing the Tourism Levy Exemption Bill 2017 with the intention to encourage more number of tourists to visit eastern Bhutan.
The Finance Minister, Namgay Dorji, said the royalty exemption will be valid for three years until December 2020.
“The bill was submitted as money bill in the first session. The government submitted it to the committee and I learned that it has thoroughly discussed the matter with all stakeholders,” added the Finance Minister.
However, some parliamentarians had objections against the royalty waiver.
“The existing tourism policy we have is ‘High Value, Low Impact.’ When we waive off the royalty, we are losing US$ 65. When more tourists come here and tax is not imposed on them, it means we are not sticking to the policy,” said the MP Dorji Wangdi of Pangbang constituency under Zhemgang. “As said by the Opposition Leader, we are promoting mass tourism in eastern districts. The US$ 65 is actually the indirect government fund and it’s people’s money.”
Since tourism sector is the country’s second highest revenue generator, the matter on exempting tourist royalty of US$ 65 per day was hotly debated among the members in the house.