Tuesday, December 5, 2023

115th National Day in the Kingdom of Happiness


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On December 17, 2022, the Kingdom of Bhutan gathered to commemorate its 115th National Day. All Bhutanese take great delight in celebrating the country’s National Day, which is a significant annual event. The primary event this year was hosted in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, while celebrations were held all around the nation (and even to Bhutanese living overseas).
The National Day is celebrated in commemoration of the coronation of the first king of Bhutan, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck, on this day in 1907. Bhutan has never been colonized in its history, and on December 17, 1907, the country was united as one nation under one leadership in the form of the monarchy. Bhutanese people love their King, and the monarchy enjoys much deserved respect in the Himalayan kingdom. Bhutan has been blessed with the extraordinary and visionary leadership of the Wangchuck Dynasty.
The major policies of Bhutan have always been guided by the vision of The Kings who have and continue to work tirelessly to ensure the country’s peace, prosperity and happiness of its citizens. The development philosophy of the Kingdom of Bhutan, namely ‘Gross National Happiness’ is also one the legacies of the Monarchy, introduced by His Majesty the Fourth King and is aimed towards sustainable and balanced development that is integral to social, economic and cultural wellbeing of the nation and its people.
Similarly, His Majesty the Fourth King also had a vision for the nation’s tourist strategy. When Bhutan first opened its doors to tourism in the 1970s, the nation made a conscious and deliberate decision to pursue “High Value, Low Volume” tourism. Ironically, it was also a moment when the global economy was struggling. As a result of this visionary programme, which is now admired and valued by many people around the world, Bhutan now has a strong “Brand Bhutan” that is nurtured by its values, virtues, and essence.
In order to forge a new path following the pandemic and strengthen the nation’s fundamental philosophy of pursuing sustainable growth, Bhutan has revised its tourist policy.
The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), which supports initiatives promoting Bhutan’s economic, social, environmental, and cultural development, increased from USD 65 to USD 200 per person, per night. Bhutan is speeding up its efforts to maintain its status as one of just a few carbon-negative countries in the world since it is a country that is sensitive to the consequences of climate change (experiencing melting glaciers, floods, and unpredictable weather patterns) (in 2021, Bhutan sequestered 9.4M tonnes of carbon against its emission capacity of 3.8M tonnes).
The Kingdom also unveiled a new brand, “Bhutan Believe,” which embodies its resolve to concentrate on laying the groundwork for future generations and adjusting its trajectory to keep pace with modern advancements. A fresh vision for the Kingdom and its goals for the next generation are intended by the new brand. It is also helpful for those seeking an exceptional and once-in-a-lifetime travel experience.
The new Brand Bhutan is centred on the next generation, the nation’s future guardians, as Bhutan is undergoing a dramatic transformational journey under the personal direction of His Majesty The King across all sectors, including the public service, tourism, education, and many others.
During the National Day event, Bhutan’s Orders, Decorations, and Medals are awarded to recognize groups and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the country. There is always much anticipation for the awards.
“This day has profound significance in the lives of every Bhutanese. We gather to remember and pay respects to our great forefathers who worked tirelessly for the wellbeing of our country and people and who ensured to hand over a strong and sovereign nation to us. It is the day where all the generations come together to not only rejoice, but reflect and pass our solemn vows, recommit to the cause of the nation and rededicate to building a better future,” said Dorji Dhradhul, the Director General of the Department of Tourism.
“We congratulate all Bhutanese on this wonderful occasion,” he concluded.
The event also featured a mega cultural bonanza with traditional performances by the Royal Academy of Performing Arts and other groups selected by a committee which coordinates the celebrations, as well as a concert featuring popular Bhutanese performers. (IANSlife)

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