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Bhutan celebrates its 115th National Day

14 November 2022

Bhutan’s National Day Celebrations commemorate the coronation of the first King of Bhutan in 1907, and is an annual event to celebrate the sense of nationhood

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(December 19, 2022) The Kingdom of Bhutan came together to celebrate the 115th National Day on 17th December 2022. The Bhutanese National Day is a major annual event that all Bhutanese take pride in celebrating. While the celebration was held across the country (and beyond to the Bhutanese living abroad), this year the main event took place in Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan.  

 

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. 

 

Likewise, the tourism policy of the country is also one of the visions from His Majesty the Fourth King. Bhutan embarked on a conscious and deliberate journey of ‘High Value, Low Volume’ tourism in the 1970s when the country first opened its doors to tourism. Ironically, it was also a time when the world was grappling for economic fortunes. Today, Bhutan enjoys a strong ‘Brand Bhutan’ nourished by values, merits and essence of this visionary policy which is now appreciated and admired by many in the world.

 

Bhutan recently revamped its tourism strategy forging a new path post pandemic and strengthening the country’s core principle for seeking sustainable development. The Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) increased from USD 65 to USD 200 per person, per night, which goes towards projects that support Bhutan’s economic, social, environmental and cultural development. As a country that is vulnerable to the effects of climate change (experiencing melting glaciers, floods and unpredictable weather patterns), Bhutan is stepping up its efforts to maintain its status as one of only a handful of carbon-negative countries in the world (in 2021, Bhutan sequestered 9.4M tonnes of carbon against its emission capacity of 3.8M tonnes).

 

The Kingdom also introduced a new Brand ‘Bhutan Believe’ that is reflective of the determination to focus on paving paths for future generations and maneuvering its course that is befitting to the changing times and universal advancement. The new brand aims to inspire a new vision for the Kingdom and its plans for the younger generation.  It is also suggestive for the guests who are looking for a unique and once-in- a lifetime travel experience. 

 

As Bhutan is undergoing a drastic transformational journey under the personal guidance of His Majesty The King across all sectors that include civil service, tourism, education and many more, the core focus of the new Brand Bhutan is placed on the future generations, the future custodians of the country.

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.  

There were also several events starting on 4th December leading up to this main event on the National Day, such as a Cottage and Small Industries fair, and an Innovation and Technology Fair.