Bhutan Visa Approval and Tashel Recomendation

After speaking with many other tour operators about the Tashel system and the visa approval process, I would like to offer some suggestions on behalf of all of us.

1. Make the tour payment deposits transparent in Tashel. Currently there is no way to view the amount of each tour payment deposited. There are often inconsistencies between what the tour operator deposits and what the TCB record shows. If each deposit was recorded (along with the deposit date and the exchange rate on that date) and was viewable in Tashel, it would be clear when a deposit was made and how much was deposited. This would eliminate inconsistencies. Often when a tour operator deposits payments with the TCB, the funds end up in the wrong account. This creates time-consuming research for the TCB and the tour operator to figure out what happened.

2. Add a feature in Tashel that shows every payment release made by the TCB to the tour operator. And the TCB should show the exchange rate that was used to calculate each transfer amount. It would be a fairer system if the exchange rate TCB uses is the same rate that is used on the day that BNB gives the voucher.

3. We understand the need to cut down on paper, but there needs to be an instantaneous receipt when a tour payment is deposited. Too often a tour operator makes a deposit, and then when the funds don’t appear in the account, there is no way to prove to the TCB the amount that was indeed deposited. Therefore, tour operators are being told they have insufficient funds, when in fact it was TCB’s mistake. If tour operators could receive a receipt at the moment of deposit, this situation would be eliminated.

4. As a result of the supposed insufficient funds, visas are not being approved for the smaller tour operators. The bigger companies are running into the problem of insufficient funds, but their visas are not being delayed. It has become very frustrating for many operators to have visas delayed and to have to try to convince the TCB that the full tour payment was indeed made.

In conclusion, more transparency and a better receipt system would lead to more accurate records and an easier way to verify the amount and dates of deposits.


by Dorji Thinley

This story from Sangay Tshomo