Tapping On Brand Bhutan To Promote The Himalayan Kingdom As An Exclusive Destination


Gross National Happiness and the Wangchuck dynasty will always be the core components of Brand Bhutan.

Spring time in Bumthang, Bhutan. (Source: Hai Piano)


By Dechen Dolkar Business Bhutan

Tapping on the positive image of ‘Brand Bhutan’, the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) is trying to strongly promote the Himalayan Kingdom as an exclusive destination.

Brand Bhutan is made up of the following elements:

  1. Gross National Happiness,
  2. Rich history,
  3. Dzongs (Monasteries),
  4. Exotic Shangri-La (or Last Paradise),
  5. Exclusivity,
  6. Pristine Environment,
  7. Carbon negative,
  8. Culture and Tradition,
  9. Language and people
  10. Tshechus (Festivals),
  11. Vajrayana Buddhism, and a
  12. Vibrant democracy gifted by the Monarchs and Selfless Kings. 


Source: Druk Asia


Bhutan opened her doors to the outside world with the visionary policy of ‘high-value, low volume’ tourism in the early 1970s.

Promoting Bhutan as an exclusive travel destination

The Director General (DG) of TCB, Dorji Dhradhul said that today, they intend to further strengthen this policy with the adoption of an organisational tag line – ‘Taking Tourism to the Top’.

The TCB aims to make the Kingdom of Bhutan the most exclusive or ‘best’ travel destination in the world, as part of its ambitious drive to promote Brand Bhutan.  The TCB is by default, one of the key promoters of Brand Bhutan.   

The DG mentioned that Brand Bhutan can comprise of just an attribute or a combination of characteristics which make Bhutan unique and stand out amongst all other countries.

In other words, it is the positive reputation that Bhutan has earned over the years, like the CV of a person.


Photo: Behance.net


“I also believe that nation branding is a subset of nation building. Traditionally, our nation branding’s main interest was to attract foreign investments, tourists and inbound brain drain. But today, nation branding is becoming more integrated with nation building. It is about building the best image for our nation,” said Dorji Dhradhul.

The lasting legacy propounded by His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo

Every Bhutanese needs to know and remember that had it not been for the far-sighted tourism policy of ‘High value, Low Volume’, propounded by His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo in the early 70s, tourism in Bhutan would not have been the same today.

“We also need to remember with immeasurable gratitude, our beloved Kings and all the efforts, sacrifices and decisiveness in resisting the pressures to adopt the liberal tourism policy which is more attractive and popular but unsustainable and short-sighted,” said the DG.


Photo: Tourism Council of Bhutan


The TCB also aptly adopted and promoted the national flower – blue poppy with the tagline ‘Happiness is a place’ as the logo for Bhutan Tourism.

Gross National Happiness - the core essence of Brand Bhutan

This is of course influenced by the concept of Gross National Happiness, which could be considered as the ‘mother’ of Brand Bhutan.

While the integrity and consistency of the core value or the characteristic of Brand Bhutan is important, some elements can and should change over the years to ‘sync with’ the changing situation and times.

For instance, GNH and the Wangchuck dynasty will always be the core components of Brand Bhutan. As nation building is dynamic, so is branding.   

Emphasis on ‘High value, low volume’ tourism

According to Dorji Dhradhul, advocating ‘High value, low volume’ tourism means that tourists will have an exclusive experience, therefore hospitality and tourism services have to be top class.

The number of tourists should be guided by the carrying capacity of our goods and services. Therefore, when we talk about our exclusive Brand Bhutan, we are also talking about the management of all tourists regardless of their origins.

“The TCB hopes to start properly managing regional tourism with some regulations to start with and hopes to do away the two categories (regional and international) of tourists that we have as of today in due course,” said Dorji Dhradhul.

In the near future, we hope to have just one category of tourist, which means that any visitor or guest visiting Bhutan will be labelled as a tourist regardless of where they are from.


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


Related Posts

Tourism Council Of Bhutan Conceived A Draft Strategy To Address...

"We need to manage this important sector of tourism through some regulations for the mutual benefit of the tourist...

Jun 02, 2019 21:08

Bhutan Received 71,417 International Visitors In 2017; Singapore,...

In 2017, Bhutan received 71,417 international visitors and the revenue earned was USD 79m, the highest arrival and...

Dec 03, 2018 11:25

Tourists Number Records Growth Of 7.61% : Bhutan Tourism Monitor...

According to the report, international leisure arrivals grew by 1.76 percent to 63,367.

Apr 08, 2019 22:22

Unique Products From 20 Districts Of Bhutan Pitched To...

The tourism flagship programme seeks to advance the development, management, promotion and growth of the tourism sector...

May 09, 2019 19:18

Transforming The Economy Through Tourism: A High Value, Low...

What measures must Bhutan take to prevent the destruction that challenges other niche destinations, in a world where a...

Apr 16, 2019 15:46

Taking Tourism To The Top – Conference Addressed Issues And Steps...

The Lyonchhen said that the government was committed to taking tourism to the ‘top’, in alignment with the theme of the...

Mar 01, 2019 10:15



Employment opportunities amid crisis - Tour guides opts farming

A tour guide could earn a minimum of Nu 30,000 per month during the peak tourist season in Bhutan. The income made was sufficient to support...

May 19, 2020 19:53

Covid-19 response must address gender-based violence, other rights of women and girls

“The social and economic stress that Covid-19 pandemic brings upon households places women and girls in vulnerable positions, burdening them...

May 12, 2020 16:46


Haa- Home of Ap Chundu, the omnipresent local guardian deity

Haa is one of the smallest districts in the country and is highlighted by the Wang chu Lo Dzong which is the administrative centre of the...

May 20, 2020 18:24

Convertible currency earnings hit

Bhutan was set to have one of the best years in tourism after the Lonely Planet in October 2019 recognised Bhutan as the number one travel...

May 19, 2020 08:32


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


Wangdue Phodrang - The gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan

Known as Sha or east to the Bhutanese, Wangduephodrang district is an important gateway to the far-flung corners of Bhutan. The region, the...

May 27, 2020 08:47

Reasons Why Dagala Trek is Every Trekkers Dream

May 13, 2020 11:30


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!