The Kingdom of Bhutan

Today we have decided to bring  you some interesting facts concerning the Kingdom of Bhutan. This small country in central Asia is known for its amazing landscapes, for the Himalayas and for its curious practices regarding tourism. Indeed, in order to discourage mass tourism and embracing the slogan “high value, low impact”, Bhutan’s government works in partnership with private tourism agencies, charging a fee of around $220 per day per tourist. These $220 per day cover accommodation, transportation, guides and others, but are not easily affordable. Despite this policy, last year Bhutan received 100 000 tourists, these being thus an enormous source of income for the country.

Although not immune to modernity, Bhutan is still very much marked by traditional practices, strong folklore, spirituality and the Buddhist religion (which according to its Constitution is Bhutan’s “Spiritual heritage”), making many say that it is a quite magical country. What is interesting is that Bhutan’s history has many tights to the history of Tibet. Having known an absolute monarchy during the first part of the 20th century, the country was deeply isolated from the rest of the world and undeveloped until the 1970’s. In 2005, the country’s first Constitution was drafted, giving place to the constitutional monarchy that rules nowadays.

Another curiosity about Bhutan, is that rather than measuring GNP, the authorities prefer to measure the quality of life in the country according to GNH (Gross National Happiness). It is said that Bhutanese citizens are one of the most happy people in the world. Nevertheless, as a BBC article points out, the country which has still mainly an agrarian society, faces problems in terms of economic growth and has an important external debt. Changing its economy may thus prove to be a true challenge for this little kingdom lost in the clouds.

You can read more about it here or check out more photos here.

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