Monday, 24 January 2011

High-value, low-impact tourism to contribute to Gross National Happiness of Bhutan

The World Tourism Organisation(UNWTO) has expressed its support for Bhutan's long-term tourism policy, which focuses on sustainablity and quality.

UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, met with Bhutan's acting Prime Minister, Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba at a seminar earlier this month. Lyonpo Yeshey Zimba told those gathered that the Royal Government of Bhutan considers tourism “a window of opportunity for the future of Bhutan" and that tourism will contribute to the economic security and Gross National Happiness (Bhutan’s measure of wellbeing) of the Bhutanese people.

The two met during a seminar on ‘Mainstreaming Tourism’, co-organised by UNWTO and the Bhutan Tourism Council and attended by government officials, private sector representatives and members of development agencies.

Taleb Rifai told the seminar that the tiny landlocked country of Bhutan - dubbed 'The Last Shangrila' - is facing “significant challenges and strong pressure for change.”

In regards Bhutan's tourism plans, he said: "At UNWTO we acknowledge the tremendous pressure Bhutan is under to stimulate rapid growth in tourism and praise the government for its continued focus on sustainability and quality.

"The principle of high-value, low-impact tourism development, guiding tourism’s growth in Bhutan, is highly commendable and has undoubtedly contributed to the unique tourism brand of this country”.

The landlocked Kingdom of Bhutan remains one of the most intriguing, little visited and charismatic countries on the international tourism stage. It's been on my wish-list for years due to its combination of Himalayan mountain scenery, happiness and giant multicoloured phalluses painted on every building for good luck - the type of lucky charm that this girl is always drawn to.

Bhutan Basics

Geography Landlocked at the eastern end of the Himalayas and bordered to the south, east and west by India, and to the north by China.

Population 691,000

Paperwork Visas only granted to travellers pre-booked on authorised tours.

Why visit? To trek through pristine Himalayan mountain scenery where steep peaks soar higher than 23,000 feet and pure river water rushes by. A landscape that provides habitat for big cats including snow leopards, Bengal tigers, clouded and Indian leopards, as well as Himalayan black bear, red panda, Tibetan wolves and Himalayan musk deer. To experience traditional festivals with masked dances and traditional music.

For organised tours you could try
Blue Poppy from the US
Transindus from the UK

Monastery by thomaswanhoff
Ceremony of the masks by miles_lane
Phallus by rafaelgomez

And here is the rest of it. Read more!