Bhutan finalist for Destination Stewardship award

The Kingdom of Bhutan, a tiny country nestled high in the Eastern Himalayas, has been selected as one of three finalists in the “Destination Stewardship”category for the Tourism for Tomorrow Awards hosted by the World Travel & Tourism Council. The award goes to a destination that successfully demonstrates a program of sustainable tourism, while incorporating social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits. This year’s awards panel received 133 applications from more than 46 countries on six continents, with Bhutan being short-listed to the top three of this pool. Since opening its borders to tourism in 1974, Bhutan has carefully nurtured its environment and protected its living culture, and Bhutan’s people have benefited from the resulting economic growth. Ensuring the happiness of its 750,000 people is at the core of Bhutan’s development, and the destination has long been known as a country that puts gross national happiness (GNH) ahead of gross domestic product (GDP). As noted by the World Travel & Tourism Council’s international judging panel, the Tourism Council of Bhutan adheres to not only GNH-driven practices, but also to a policy of high-value, low-impact tourism. Bhutan is also known as The Land of the Thunder Dragon and is one of the last bio-diversity hot spots in the world. With 72% of the country covered in forests, 60% of the total land area protected, and its lands home to some of the world’s rarest and most endangered flora and fauna, Bhutan is an environmentalist’s dream. Visitors to Bhutan can marvel at the country’s varied landscape and witness for themselves how the modern world can be finely balanced with a traditional lifestyle. ( ,