Thukten Zangpo 

Tourists’ entry fees at the monument sites would be reverted to the old rates from March 15.

The monument sites charging entry fees have also been reduced to seven. The seven sites are Taktsang, Kichu, Changangkha Lhakhang, Memorial Chorten, Tashichhodzong, Punakha Dzong, and Chhimi Lhakhang.

This was decided by the National Monument Fund Supervision Committee during the 15 National Monument Committee meeting held virtually on February 27.

According to the Committee, the revision was done recognising the need to rejuvenate the tourism industry through the difficult situation due to post-pandemic stress, global economic downturn, high inflation, the upcoming election, and the transition to the 13th five-year Plan.

According to the old rates, the tourists’ entry fee for Taktsang would be Nu 1,000 and Nu 500 each for other sites. There will be a 50 percent exemption on entry fees for children of six years to 18 years, and no fees for children below five years.

Beginning July 15 last year, the National Monument Committee revised the entry fees for eight monuments and sacred sites for all tourists, namely Taktsang, Tashichhodzong, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk National Memorial Choeten, Changangkha Lhakhang, Kyichu Lhakhang, Rinpung Dzong, Punakha Dzong, and Chimi Lhakhang.

Tourists visiting Taktshang had to pay Nu 2,000 and Nu 1,000 each as entry fees for other sites.

From September 23 last year, eight other locations were added to the monument list—Jampa Lhakang in Bumthang, Jangtsa Dumgseg Lhakhang, Dobji Dzong at Paro, Rinchending Goenpa, Palden Tashi Choling Shedra at Phuentsholing, Buddha Dordenma and Simtokha Dzong in Thimphu, and Trongsa Dzong.

The Committee yesterday directed the dzongdags of Bumthang, Paro, Punakha, Trongsa, Thimphu, and thrompon and the executive secretary of Phuentsholing Thromde, to discontinue entry fee collection for delisted sites and to implement new entry fee from March 15 this year.

The dzongkhag monument committee should henceforth utilise funds up to 0.3 million (M) per site and continue with current practices of seeking approval when the plans exceed more than 0.3M.

According to the Committee’s directive, the works for the delisted monument sites should be completed and funds utilised from the accrued amount. If the fund is insufficient from the collection, the additional amount should be utilised from funds accrued from other sites based on the tourism department’s recommendation letter, it added.

Service of ticket counter officials and security personnel will be released from March 15. The Committee also directed the agencies to pay their full salary to the staff until April.

Restroom caretakers will be retained to ensure the upkeep of the facilities.

The Committee also directed to exclude the drangpon and district judges from the membership of the Dzongkhag Monument Committee.