Bhutan is a small and beautiful eastern Himalayan kingdom nestled between world’s economic and demographic mammoths China in the north and India to the south. With its total area about 38,394 square kilometers, the nation holds approximately 700,000 people. The country is known as the last Shangri-La to the outside world for many different reasons. Bhutan has captured the attention of the world through many of her salient features among which the noble philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) propounded by the Fourth King of Bhutan has made headlines worldwide lately.
The development of the nation is governed and guided by the principles of GNH which has four holistic and inclusive pillars, Equitable and equal socioeconomic development, Preservation and promotion of culture, Conservation of environment, and Good governance. The country’s strong and wise policies have fostered in maintaining pristine and rich environmental biodiversity, preservation and promotion of tradition and cultural diversity and maintaining peace and harmony in the country.
In this era of environmental degradation and the consequent crises the world suffers, Bhutan still has her environmental state pristine and intact. Making it one of the world’s finest biodiversity hotspots, she enjoys a wide range of floral and faunal biodiversity. With the constitutional mandate of sixty percent forest coverage for all times to come, the landlocked nation enjoys about seventy percent forest coverage now. Championing the world in the forefronts of environmental conservation and biodiversity protection including many critically endangered floral and faunal species, Bhutan plays an important role in environmental conservation.
Since the time immemorial, Bhutan celebrated its rich tradition and cultural diversity. Divided by the hills and gorges the nation remained united by its cultural diversity. Tradition and culture form an intrinsic identity and traits of an independent and sovereign nation. This rich and diverse culture has long been the strength of a small nation like Bhutan. For this reason and beyond, the government has always focused on preservation and promotion of both tangible and intangible culture. Different regions and ethnicities of the country has unique and diverse cultures which are why many international tourists come to Bhutan to witness and experience this authentic traditional lifestyle.
Among many other reasons, rich culture and a pristine environment are the two primary reasons for international tourists for visiting Bhutan. These two jewels of the nation have contributed so much to the national sovereignty and economy. Given such advantages, there is always an opportunity for tourism boom as well as threats of environmental and cultural exploitation. These are however checked by the “High-value low volume” policy of the tourism sector. Bhutanese are always regarded as people with great hospitality and humanity besides its plausible environment and other reasons for international tourists. As a Bhutanese, we invite you with open heart and arms in Bhutan. Come, Explore, Enjoy and learn from the authentic environment and culture of the Himalayan kingdom called Drukyuel.
By Tashi Dendup