The timely intervention
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs last week issued a notification regarding the growing concerns over holding of international meetings and conferences in Bhutan during the peak tourist seasons. The notification states that the Ministry is fully aware of the contributions of hosting international and regional conferences in Bhutan in strengthening our relations with the international community and promoting the Brand Bhutan.
The benefits it reaps by holding the international and meetings in Bhutan is immense but a growing concern has been always felt when such meeting and conferences are held in peak tourist season giving pressure on the tourism infrastructure especially the hotel accommodation and airline seats which are stretched to its limited during the peak tourist season months of March – April- May, September – October – November.
The notification request all the ministries , constitutional bodies, autonomous agencies , corporate and private sectors to avoid hosting of large which exceeds above 30 international participants of international and regional conferences and other such events during the peak tourist season.
Referring to the Economic Development Policy 2010 and the Tourism Council of Bhutan have incorporated the Tourism Rules and Regulations 2017 for MICE participants who are in Bhutan for attending only the meetings and conferences from Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) paying countries shall be exempted from SDF for additional two days besides the actual duration of the conference and meeting.
The two days are provided as incentives for leisure stay provide the MICE participants are in Bhutan during the lean seasons. More over there should be more than thirty participants coming for the international meetings and conferences in Bhutan for a minimum of one day.
The notification states the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will take into account the timing of these events and according clearance for the conference and meetings to be organized in Bhutan will be issued. The notification also states that a minimum of 30 days notice must be given to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when applying for the clearance to host the international conferences in Bhutan and the notification will come into effect from 1st of January 2018.
The tourism Industry was first opened in 1974. Since then it has grown to become, a major contributing factor to the Bhutanese economy creating countless employment opportunities and generating additional revenue for the government.
The government is committed to building a sustainable tourism industry that is not only financially viable but also limits the negative cultural and environmental impacts commonly associated with the culture of mass tourism.
Tourism industry in a major contributor to the national exchequer and with the timely intervention like some of these initiatives, the tourism industry is bound to grow.