The Kingdom of Bhutan

Bhutan is the only nation in the world that measures its progress in terms of Gross National
Happiness (GNH)
, unlike other countries, which measure progress by Gross Domestic Product
(GDP) This distinction is uniquely characteristic of the small, landlocked country, tucked away
in the Eastern Himalayas, south of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and bordered by India on
the East, South and West. Woven into the fabric of Bhutan’s governmental policies and everyday
way of life is a belief in the need for harmony between the land and its people, between tradition
and development, between old ways and new.

One of ten “biodiversity hotspots” in the world, Bhutan is home to an exotic array of wildlife, including an estimated 770 species of birds, as well as numerous medical plants, orchids and
over 50 species of rhododendron. Constitutional laws require that at least 60 percent of the
nation must remain under forest cover at all times.

In 1999, the Bhutanese government lifted a ban on television and Internet, one of the last
countries in the world to do so. This introduced new elements of modernization, however
tourism and development remain carefully controlled, in order to preserve Bhutan’s strong
cultural traditions and majestic natural treasures.

February 23, 2014
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