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Bhutan Supports MICE Sector by Waiving Sustainable Development Fee

Bhutan’s Department of Tourism has introduced a new initiative to boost the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector by waiving the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) for MICE events. This move is aimed at strengthening the MICE market, a significant contributor to the nation’s tourism revenue.

Key Points:

Conditions for SDF Waiver:

  1. MICE events with a minimum of seven participants (excluding organisers, speakers, or hosts) are eligible.
  2. Participants can receive an SDF waiver for up to four nights per event (excluding travel days).
  3. The event must be organized by a Department of Tourism (DOT)-certified Bhutanese tour operator or hotel.
  4. The waiver applies exclusively to participants, not accompanying partners, children, or friends.
  5. Eligible events can be scheduled throughout the year with no blackout dates.

 

Application Process:

  • MICE organisers must submit an online application at least one month before the event.
  • The application should include a summary of the event and a detailed day-wise program.
  • Once approved, organisers can apply for visas/entry permits through the DOT’s official website.
  • A list of participants with passport copies must be submitted for approval before the event.

Post-Event Requirements:

  • Organisers must submit a comprehensive report, including event outcomes and photographs, within one month after participants’ departure.
  • MICE participants have the option to extend their stay in Bhutan as tourists by paying the applicable SDF.

 

Importance of MICE Business:

The Director General of the Department of Tourism, Dorji Dhradhul, highlighted the economic advantages of MICE business and the importance of providing incentives to attract more group business to Bhutan.
The SDF, normally a daily contribution by tourists, is waived for MICE events to encourage group tourism.

Utilisation of Sustainable Development Fee:

The SDF contributes to Bhutan’s development, supporting sectors such as healthcare, education, environment, culture, and the economy.
Bhutan, a carbon-neutral nation, uses the SDF transparently to maintain its forest cover and carbon neutrality.

This initiative follows Bhutan’s earlier move to introduce a 50% reduction in the SDF rate until August 31, 2027, with incentives for children. The reduced rates are USD 100 per adult per night, USD 50 per night for children aged 6 to 12, and no SDF fee for children under six years old.

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