Marketing Bhutan

I heard a lot of good ideas from people about how to make our economy stronger, recently.
One was to work at making the tourism industry high end luxury in Bhutan. It is already happening, we already have something of a “brand”.
But the hotels and resorts in the country fall far short in service delivery. The tourists complain that the service quality is not worth the money they pay, except in those companies owned by foreign investors. Promoting Bhutan as a luxury brand in tourism destination is not calling it “shangri la” and taking the tourists on a trip to taktshang, we need serious professionalism.
Another great idea was promoting Bhutan as an Organic Brand, this one came from the Agri Minister. We already have the unique mushrooms, herbs, cordyceps. Bhutan was, after all, known as “lho men jong” in the old days.
Bhutan could also emerge as a fashion hub, with its textile contributing to the high end fashion industry that constantly looks for new materials to work on. Bhutanese textile is already popular with many of the western tourists, we just need Prada to demand a large supply for their next fall collection. Or maybe project our own Pradas to the world.
One idea i did not like- Giving a village a “heritage” status, and hence shutting down the freedom of the people living there. Trong in Zhemgang was recently brought into attention due to a media coverage.
The village was declared a heritage village in 2003, and villagers are not allowed to change much of their surroundings, even their own homes.
The reason? To attract tourists. This brings to mind the gross idea of a “living museum”, with the rather unwilling villagers as the pieces.
Lets not get into all the rights being violated here. Why cant the government, or better, a private entrepreneur, BUY some land, build a village, employ people to live there (as staff) and viola, create a resort village?
Now is someone’s vague idea of “tourist attraction” a good excuse to violate the basic rights of people? We are the land of GNH here, we spout the whole “Money is not happiness” story. Actually, money is happiness. If you earn it the right way.

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