Bhutan’s online permit for Indians

Tourists from India will have to submit their biometrics at Phuentsholing and Paro entry points after availing the permit through tour operators or hotels.

AHANA GURUNG

In an effort to curb queues at immigration points and facilitate easier access, Bhutan has finally launched the Online Permit System for Indians and other neighbouring countries. The move comes about after months of deliberation and is a welcome one at that. Damcho Rinzin, Marketing and Promotion Division, Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB), says, “The system was officially launched in January by our Hon. Prime Minister for regional tourists who can apply for the permit online. We are looking to enhance the experience for tourists by helping them save a lot of time especially during immigration.”

The online permit is free of cost and can be applied through tour operators or TCB verified hotels. However, tourists will still have to visit immigration for biometrics which is available at two entry points, Phuentsholing and Paro. Rinzin says that earlier availing the permit was a tedious task and adds, “We received so many enquiries from travellers where some called to find out if it could be issued during weekends – it is usually when the offices that issue the permits are closed. Since it is now online, it will hopefully make entry much simpler and convenient for everybody.”

Bhutan received about 97,000 Indian tourists in 2015 and over 1,20,000 tourists in 2016, signifying that the destination is swiftly catching the interest of Indians. He elaborates, “This year, we are hopeful about the growth prospects and expect an increase of 40-50 per cent. India is the number one source market for arrivals, followed by the US and China. Bhutan is the ideal place for every kind of traveller — be it high-end or budget. You come here to slow down, relax and rejuvenate. Thimpu and Paro are already very popular but tourists should also explore Bumthang and Punakha which offer more solitude for those who seek it.”

Reckon Up:
– Bhutan received about 97,000 Indian tourists in 2015 and over 120,000 tourists in 2016

“We received so many enquiries from travellers where some called to find out if it could be issued during weekends – it is usually when the offices that issue the permits are closed. Since it is now online, it will hopefully make entry much simpler and convenient for everybody”

– Damcho Rinzin, Marketing and Promotion Division, Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB)

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