Thimpu, Oct 12: It is considered India's friendliest country in South Asia, one of the two countries where an Indian doesn't need a visa to enter. But now, the country is about to bring some changes in its entry rules and if one is planning to visit the picturesque Himalayan country, he/she has to keep some fixed documents to prove their identity since the authorities are having a tough time to verify the authenticity of the documents produced for entering the country.
Not every document will be accepted
From January 1, 2019, anybody entering Bhutan over road will need to produce either a Voter's ID or a valid passport as proof of identity, as per a report in The Telegraph. In case the entrant is a minor, a birth certificate (in English) is what required though it is not clear whether one would require it besides the passport.
Earlier, those driving into Bhutan could produce any of the government-issued documents and get an "identification slip" at Phuentsholing. Now, they will get an entry permit which, however, can be used to visit only Paro and Thimpu. For exploring the rest of the country, one requires a special area permit which is granted at Thimpu's immigration office.
The move has left the tourism industry worried for Bhutan is one of the favourite destinations of several Indians, in summer as well as winter.
"The new decision will definitely affect the inflow of Indian tourists to Bhutan. Leave alone passports, there are many people in our country who still do not have voter identity cards. From January 1, there would be no option left for them to enter Bhutan. We have already communicated the decision to members of travel trade in Siliguri, Calcutta, Northeast and New Delhi. They have been asked to take up the matter with authorities concerned," Suraj Thakuri, president of the Jaigaon Travellers' Welfare Association, was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.