Incorporating The Values Of Gross National Happiness Into Bhutan’s Hospitality Sector


High-end hotels like Six Senses and Zhiwa Ling have come up with their own ways to incorporate the tenets of GNH and sustainability practices into their services.

(Source: Facebook/Six Senses Bhutan)


By Esori Waglay Kuensel

When it comes to matters concerning the incorporation of Gross National Happiness (GNH) principles to achieve sustainability, it does not matter if it is a five-star hotel with high-end facilities or a three-star hotel.

General Manager of Zhiwa Ling Hotel in Paro, Brent Hyde said that everything has to do with the philosophy that rules the hotel’s guiding principle.

This issue was discussed during the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Commission Meeting held in Thimphu on 3 June 2019.


Graphic: Centre for Bhutan Studies and Gross National Happiness


High-end hotels like Six Senses and Zhiwa Ling have come up with their own ways to incorporate the tenets of GNH and sustainability practices into their services.

How Six Senses Hotel in Bhutan harnessed the values of GNH

The Vice President of Sustainability with Six Senses Hotel, Jeffery Smith said that with the hotel’s vision to reconnect people, it was easy to translate sustainability practices into the hotel’s activities.

Essentially, sustainability lies at the core of the hotel’s guiding principle. Thus, the hotel focuses on the well-being of the local community and environment.

Some examples of sustainable practices which the hotel has carried out include bottling all the water the hotel requires in glass bottles. This can potentially eliminate over a million plastic bottles a year.

Taking a holistic approach to work, the Human Resource section works on making employees happy. Here they are not referred to as employees but as hosts of the hotel.

The ‘hosts’ are made to take a wellness survey through which the happiness of the workers inside the property is ensured.

Jeffery Smith also added that the hotel’s practice of sustainability extended beyond the hotel’s property.


Source: Youtube/Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas


To protect the local eco-system and communities and to add more value to it, a funding mechanism is in place.

The hotel sets aside a certain percentage of its budget for projects such as re-forestation, habitat and wildlife conservation as well as afforestation.

In addition, a certain proportion of the hotel’s fund is also invested in local education. Villages nearby are the beneficiaries because this is where the hotel’s host families go to school and where the hotel’s future hosts will come from.

“We do not want to invest in projects we have no connection to,” he said.

How Zhiwa Ling Hotel in Bhutan harnessed the values of GNH

On the other hand, Zhiwa Ling has its own approach to applying GNH principles and ensuring sustainability.


Source: Facebook/Zhiwa Ling Heritage Hotel


According to Brent Hyde, the hotel hired local people from the local communities. By doing so, it is investing in a team of people who are aware of their culture and tradition, thereby promoting GNH values.

“By investing in a management team of just Bhutanese people, we are investing in the values of GNH,” Brent Hyde said.

Moreover, investing in local management team has yielded better results. Brent Hyde mentioned that all hotels should practice sustainability, as it is important and doable.

“As long as the domains of GNH are followed, you will have sustainable hotels driven by the principles of GNH,” he said.

Echoing his view, Jeffery smith also felt that if any business did not adopt a sustainable approach, it will be a ‘short-sighted’ business.


This article first appeared in Kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.


Related Posts

Six Senses Bhutan Preparing For October 2018 Opening

Three of the five Six Senses luxury lodges are now taking reservations for travel starting on Nov 3, 2018.

Jun 21, 2018 10:01

Applying Bhutan’s Tenets Of Gross National Happiness As...

The UNDP Administrator said that there was an extraordinary alignment between the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and...

Mar 19, 2019 10:38

Harnessing Bhutan’s Concept Of Gross National Happiness As Soft...

Bhutan is a soft power in its own right.

Jan 17, 2019 07:55

Prof Thurman Extols Bhutan’s Concept Of Gross National Happiness...

"His Majesty The Fourth King came up with the brilliant concept of Gross National Happiness, which is going to conquer...

Nov 26, 2018 07:48

Druk Water World – First Water Sporting Recreational Center To Be...

"I think it is important to know that it’s going to be a Gross National Happiness community Park and not a Disney land,”...

Feb 19, 2019 16:22

Here’s What It’s Like Inside Asia’s Best Hotel - COMO Uma Punakha...

Luxury resort COMO Uma Punakha was awarded best hotel in Asia and third best hotel in the world, by Conde Nast...

Jan 18, 2019 17:05



Daughter Of U.S Covid-19 Patient Thanked Bhutan For Its Great Care And Prayers

The 76 year old American tourist left Bhutan for the US on March 13 for further medical treatment.

Mar 16, 2020 23:28

Bhutan’s Labour Minister, Ugyen Dorji Selected For The Forum Of Young Global Leaders 2020

The Forum of Young Global Leaders is a platform where leaders from different fields share their ideas and passion for the community’s...

Mar 13, 2020 15:44


Gangkhar Puensum – World’s Highest Mountain Forbidden To Climbers

The Bhutanese also believe that the Gangkhar Puensum is home to the mythical Yeti and other legendary creatures.

Mar 23, 2020 23:28

New Species Of Endangered Orchid Found In Trongsa, Bhutan

The species, which is new worldwide, is named as Bulbophyllum Trongsaense.

Mar 19, 2020 00:58


Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08


Celebrating Bhutan’s Entrepreneurs: Namkhar Gyaltshen Of Transcend Artisan

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

Mar 06, 2020 11:48

Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58


Bumthang The Switzerland of Bhutan Beyond Itineraries

Bumthang in Bhutan is the most historic dzongkhag if we consider the number of ancient temples and sacred sites. Being a combination of four...

Mar 28, 2020 11:59

Thimphu Urbanites Hits The Hiking Trail Than Ever Before.

One of the best and easy walk around Thimphu is the three-to four-hours round trip from Dochu La to Lungchuzekha Goemba. It affords...

Mar 26, 2020 11:40


Food on Wheels- First of its kind in Bhutan

The World's Largest Fast Food Restaurant Chains doesn't exist in Bhutan.

Mar 04, 2020 09:39

Amazing Stories from the Eastern Part of Bhutan

You can't say you have visited the eastern part of Bhutan unless you have experienced the following bizarre things.

Mar 02, 2020 19:02

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!