By Passang Dorji
Sept 24, 2008-Thimphu: When Bhutan adopted Gross National Happiness as its development philosophy, it had thrown down the gauntlet at itself.
And today the challenge is staring straight and square at the country’s soul.
With the economy yet to gain strength and stabilize at a self-assuring digit, Bhutan’s immediate challenge, some economists say, is to remain unscathed by the inevitable forces of the global trade integration.
But, to do so Bhutan must strengthen its economy – a Catch-22, for the time being. The test doesn’t end here, either. There is a weightier challenge, because Gross National Happiness demands more than a tangible economic development. Continue reading Why a strong economy matters
Distinct old ways are vanishing with the pace of progress
By Tashi Dema
|INDISTINGUISHABLE – Except for language, their culture and tradition have succumbed to modernisation
26 September, 2008 – Cool clouds drift over the Wangling village in Trongsa dzongkhag bringing the inhabitants respite from the searing afternoon sun.
Lhakpa, 15, in faded jeans and black half-sleeve shirt, is on the ground near a old hut. He is in pain. While chipping at tree barks his knife fell and cut his ankle.
Lhakpa picks up a piece of cloth lying in front of the hut and wraps it over his wound. His single mother asks him to go to the basic health unit in Jangbi, located at about a two-hour walk from their village. She speaks to him in their local dialect – Monkha. But Lhakpa does not want to go anywhere. He has to attend his non-formal education class in the evening. Continue reading The Monpas of Trongsa are Monpas no more
By Nima Wangdi
23 September, 2008 – A beaten trail, that passed through Ura to Gayzamchu in Bumthang, was once trodden by villagers from the east to transport goods offered as taxes to local chieftains resident in Bumthang, Trongsa, and Punakha. In the ‘50s, the people of Ura used the path as a mule track to barter butter, betel nuts, and clothes.
When the lateral highway emerged, about four decades ago, the path was used only by occasional mushroom collectors and cattle herders.
Today, the diverse ecosystem along the trail, including mushrooms like Matsutake growing under the pines, and different animal and bird species of the region, will change the purpose of the trail altogether. Continue reading Old trail in Bhutan to be restored for tourists
Source: Bhutan Observer
By Rabi C. Dahal
19 September 2008
Small handicraft outlets in the country are crying foul over exorbitant commissions paid by bigger competitors as incentives to tour guides. The smaller retailers say they are unable to pay as much to guides and so are unable to sustain their businesses. Hoteliers, meanwhile, complain about tour operators and guides demanding luxurious rooms and food when they are with the tourists. This is said to be most rampant in Paro and Bumthang.
A source in the tourism industry said almost all the handicraft outlets in the country paid commissions to guides, drivers and tour operators and it has now become a custom. About five handicraft shops in the capital are said to be paying (as commission) as much as 20 percent of the value of items bought. Most others paid 15 percent. He said that last year a guide earned Nu. 300,000 as sales incentive from a handicraft shop for a single purchase. Continue reading The Hospitality Commission
Top 10 Places to Go in 2008
The destinations that rank on our list include renascent cities like New Orleans and emerging countries like Bhutan that are fast becoming the world’s next travel hot spots. Get there now, before the crowds do.
By Shermans Travel Editorial Staff
Choosing the world’s next big travel destinations is never an easy feat, especially when there’s seemingly so little left of the globe to discover. But when our editors got into a room to hash out our top picks for 2008, we realized that we could have done a Top 13 this year, as all eyes will be on Beijing (when it hosts the Summer Olympic Games), and there’s never been a better time to visit Quebec City (which celebrates its 400th birthday in 2008) or Liverpool (the year’s European Capital of Culture). Here’s the remainder of our list.
Cradled by the majestic Himalayas in a remote corner of Southern Asia, the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” has long held steadfast to its rich culture and Buddhist heritage. Though an isolated locale and high tourist entry tariffs (of up to $200 per person per night) keep crowds at bay, these factors have also permitted this last Shangri-La to keep its traditions intact. If the lush valleys and snowcapped mountains, ancient temples and monasteries, and expansive markets full of cheerful locals haven’t lured you to Bhutan yet, reconsider in 2008, when the 101st anniversary of the country’s monarchy will be commemorated by a yearlong celebration. Continue reading BHUTAN: Ranked Among Top 10 Travel Destinations in 2008