Visit Bhutan 2015

Visit Bhutan 2015Four decades ago in 1974, when the nation celebrated his coronation, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck opened up the country to tourism, ending the age-old self-imposed isolation. Now on the auspicious occasion of his 60th birth anniversary, we are observing Visit Bhutan 2015, as part of this grand celebration.

This is a symbolism that we cannot remain closed. After all ‘no man is an island” or a nation for that matter. The year-long celebration will last throughout the year and every dzongkhag will be rejoicing the occasion.

We have always followed a cautious approach in development. The same strategy was adopted in tourism too. We never wanted our environment to be trampled upon indiscriminately for the sake of short-term economic benefits. Environment is a treasure that we are safeguarding for our future generation.

And so is our customs, tradition and our cultural heritage that give us an identity so unique that the world remembers and respects us for what we are. That is one of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s great legacies bequeathed to us Bhutanese. For, what are economic benefit and other creature comforts that come with it, without our own identity as a people and a nation?

Globalization is a great idea but we don’t want to be ‘gobbled up’ in the process. That is what we are grateful for to the king who gave us democracy.

The young prince who ascended the throne at the tender age of 17 as the Fourth Hereditary Monarch of Pelden Drukpa (another name for Bhutan), he authored the concept of Gross National Happiness that caught the imagination and admiration of leaders and common folks alike around the world.

He believed that the happiness and aspiration of the people could never be achieved through GDP. The concept of GNH called for equitable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion of cultural and spiritual heritage, conservation of environment and good governance. He believed that we are just custodian of our natural and cultural resources for our future generations.

Thus to bring tourism more in line with our national principle, the concept of Eco Tourism was floated, whereby the benefits from the industry filters down to the people at the grassroots, through conservation of our natural and cultural heritage. Tourism has been one of the major sources of revenue but it shouldn’t come at the cost of our natural and cultural heritage, and most of all our source of happiness.

For, our nature and culture are two important aspects that make us unique.

That makes us Bhutanese.

So, welcome to Bhutan. Enjoy our nature and culture, among many other things.

Testimonials Sometimes a packaged holiday comes so much with a predefined set of takeaways, but The Destination Bhutan offered so much freedom of choice that it did not feel like a packaged holiday at all.

KH Zaman
Buffalo, New York

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