Bhutan Waives SDF for MICE Events

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Bhutan seeks to establish itself as a prime destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) events in the region.

The Department of Tourism Bhutan (DoT) has made an important announcement by granting an immediate exemption from Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) for the purpose of supporting the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) sector.

This initiative has been implemented with the goal of amplifying the positive impact of the MICE market on Bhutan's overall tourism industry, with a particular focus on benefiting local businesses and event venues within the country. In the year 2019, a total of 904 MICE travelers, primarily originating from Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, and India, made a substantial contribution to the local economy and the community.

Dorji Dhradhul, the Director General of DoT, has stressed the significance of the MICE market as a major source of revenue within the global tourism sector. Recognizing the substantial economic advantages it can bring to Bhutan, the decision to waive the daily sustainable development fee for MICE events is seen as an enticing incentive aimed at attracting a larger volume of group business events to Bhutan.

SDF waiver for MICE events in Bhutan

Initially, the Sustainable Development Fee waiver was exclusively applicable to government-organized events and meetings. However, this waiver has now been extended to encompass all tourism-related events organized by tour operators and hoteliers.

To qualify for this SDF waiver, events must have a minimum of seven participants, with the exclusion of organizers, speakers, or hosts. Participants may benefit from the waiver for up to four nights per event, excluding travel days. It is important to note that this waiver is only applicable to participants themselves, and not to their dependents.

Procedure to apply for MICE SDF Waiver

Applicants interested in availing the MICE SDF waiver must submit their requests at least one month prior to the scheduled event, and they must also secure any necessary clearances or approvals in advance. Following the departure of the event's attendees, a comprehensive report that includes the outcomes of the event and relevant photographs must be submitted to the Department within a month.

For MICE participants who decide to extend their stay in Bhutan as tourists, they will be required to pay the applicable Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) for the additional days they spend in the country. This initiative is designed to encourage MICE travelers to explore Bhutan's tourism offerings beyond their business events, ultimately benefiting the country's tourism industry.

Criteria and Summary of MICE Event SDF Waiver Application

 1.    Eligible MICE events require a minimum of seven participants, excluding organizers, speakers, or hosts.

2.    Participants may receive a waiver for the SDF for up to four nights per event (excluding travel days).

3.    The event must be organized by a DOT-certified Bhutanese tour operator or hotel.

4.    The SDF waiver applies exclusively to the participants. Accompanying partners, children, and friends are not eligible.

5.    Eligible events can be scheduled throughout the year without blackout dates.

6.    Applications for the MICE SDF waiver must be submitted at this link at least one month prior to the event.

7.    Applicants are responsible for obtaining any additional required clearances or approvals.

8.    Only events categorized as Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions qualify for the SDF waiver.

9.    A comprehensive report, including the event's outcomes and photographs, must be provided to the Department of Tourism within one month after the guests' departure.

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

How much is the Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) for Bhutan?

All tourists entering Bhutan are subjected to a Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) of USD 100 per night.

Children under 5 years old are exempt from the SDF, while those aged 5 to 12 years are required to pay USD 50 per night. 

Regional tourists from India are required to apply for a permit and pay 1200 INR/night.

For more information about organising MICE events in Bhutan, check out www.micebhutan.com



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