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



Find Innovative Solutions For Every Challenge: Prime Minister Modi To Bhutan’s Youth

Prime Minister Modi said that he ‘sees dynamism and felt energised’ while meeting with the future of Bhutan.

Aug 18, 2019 23:58

Prime Minister Narendra Modi On 2 Day State Visit To Strengthen India-Bhutan Bilateral Ties

Prime Minister Modi is visiting Bhutan upon the invitation of Bhutan's Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering.

Aug 17, 2019 23:59


Fulfilling His Majesty The King’s Vision, Digital Drukyul Is Set To Improve Public Service Delivery And Empower Citizens Digitally

Digital Drukyul will help create a digital ecosystem for citizens which is unencumbered by bureaucratic red tape.

Aug 19, 2019 15:28

National Tourism Policy To Be Implemented By July 2020: Tourism Council Of Bhutan

Promoting ‘High value and low volume’ tourism has been Bhutan’s policy for the last 50 years.

Aug 12, 2019 17:48


Two Young Bhutanese Swimmers Competed In 18th FINA World Championship

The duo are proud to represent Bhutan and compete on a worldwide stage for the first time.

Jul 28, 2019 21:32

Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and...

Jun 08, 2019 22:18


Southeast Asian Company Invests Over US$100,000 In Bhutanese Start-up Drukfood

The investment includes a mix of cash and investment-in-kind.

Aug 15, 2019 14:26

Bhutan’s First Crowdfunding Platform Gaining Traction, Opens Doors For Entrepreneurs To Raise Funds

So far, three promoters - Bhutan Alternatives, Freelancer Bhutan and Himalayan food have registered with the Bhutan crowdfunding platform.

Aug 05, 2019 22:10


7 Facts You Never Knew About Flying Into Bhutan

Druk Asia interviewed Namgyal Wangchuk, Senior First Officer with Drukair to find out what it's like to fly into Paro International Airport.

Aug 07, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Has Great Potential To Be A Top Eco-Tourism Spot: Albert Teo

Despite Bhutan being home to a wide array of flora and fauna, it is still not a top ecotourism destination.

Jul 19, 2019 23:58


Finding One’s Voice: Rapping In The Kingdom Of Bhutan

The lack of support for rappers stems from the general misconception that most people have about rap.

Aug 10, 2019 23:38

First Bhutan-Bollywood Film Collaboration - Rolong: Make the Dead Walk In The Making

The film is expected to hit the theatres by the middle of 2020.

Aug 04, 2019 23:58

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!