…Bhutan aims to position itself as a MICE events hotspot in the region

Dechen Dolkar 

The Department of Tourism Bhutan (DoT) has announced the immediate waiver of Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) to support the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) sector.

The initiative aims to enhance the impact of the MICE market on Bhutan’s tourism industry, including local businesses and event venues. 

In 2019, 904 MICE travellers, mainly from Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and India, significantly contributed to the local economy and community.

Dorji Dhradhul, the Director General of DoT, emphasised the MICE market’s importance as a high revenue contributor to the global tourism industry. 

Recognising the economic benefits it can bring to Bhutan, the decision to waive the daily sustainable development fee for MICE events is seen as an incentive to attract more group business to Bhutan.

Originally applicable only to government events and meetings, the SDF waiver has now been extended to cover all tourism-related events organised by tour operators and hoteliers.

To qualify for the SDF waiver, events must have a minimum of seven participants (excluding organisers, speakers, or hosts), and participants may receive the waiver for up to four nights per event, excluding travel days. 

The event must be organised by a DOT-certified Bhutanese tour operator or hotel, and the waiver applies only to participants, not their dependents.

Applicants must submit their requests for the MICE SDF waiver at least one month before the event and obtain any necessary clearances or approvals. 

After the guests’ departure, a comprehensive report, including the event’s outcomes and photographs, must be submitted to the department within one month.

MICE participants can choose to extend their stay in Bhutan as tourists by paying the applicable SDF.