The minister for finance, the Member In-Charge of the Bill, Namgay Tshering introduced the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 in National Council on 24 June.
Introducing the Bill, the finance minister highlighted reasons for amending the Bill were mainly to revise the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) from USD 65 to USD 200 per night to strictly adhere to the High-Value Low Volume principle. He said that with the law in place it will portray Bhutan as a culturally, exotic place.
According to the minister, one of the major amendments in the new Bill is the revision of the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) from USD 65 to USD 200 per night, which was instituted almost 30 years ago in 1991.
With the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022, the minimum daily package rate (MDPR), which includes the royalty of USD 65 would be removed.
The members questioned on the various benefit this Bill for the youth; plans and programmes to ensure balanced regional development, plans for infrastructural development; incentives for tourists who want to stay on for a longer period; and procedures put in place to avoid fronting issues and other policy challenges.
During the deliberation the Bill, though most of the provision adopted, few provisions were reverted to the committee for further deliberation. The House directed the committee to prepare the Bill for the final adoption on Monday, 27 June, taking into consideration the views and suggestions shared by the members.
The House will adopt the Tourism Levy Bill of Bhutan 2022 and the Civil Liability Bill of the Kingdom of Bhutan 2022 on 27 June.