Tour guides attend GNH workshop
The Centre for Bhutan Studies and GNH Research (CBS) organized a daylong introductory course on Gross National Happiness for the Bhutanese tour guides on 30 January in Thimphu.
Besides, Buddhism, culture, and environment, one of the main attractions for tourists visiting Bhutan is to understand GNH.
Therefore, it has become important for tour guides to be sensitized on the subject to facilitate accurate dissemination of information on GNH.
The objective was to raise awareness on the concept and history of GNH and to provide information on GNH indices as a holistic measure of progress.
The director of the Department of Bilateral Affairs of the foreign ministry, Kesang Wangdi, said tour guides are the representatives of the country. “Tour guides are projecting the image of the country, first living culture and traditions,” he said.
The workshop coordinator from CBS, Tshoki Zangmo, said the centre recognized that com- munication is key to reinforcing people’s awareness, knowledge and attitudes on GNH. “Through such events the centre hopes to dispel misconceptions on GNH,” she said.
She added that it had become increasingly important for tour guides to be sensitized on the subject to foster accurate dissemination. “So, it is imperative that tourist guides in the country have some level of understanding of the concepts and advancement made in GNH measure- ments,” she said.
The workshop was part of a larger GNH workshop series organized to provide information and raise awareness amongst tour guides on the concept, practice and measurement of GNH.
The workshop introduced the participants to the concepts of GNH and its history, sustainability of tourism, globally, nationally, communication skills and GNH domains and indicators through presentations and discussions.
The organizers said that it is also important for tour guides to know Bhutan’s foreign policy to avoid misinformation.
The training was expected to enhance the capacity and professionalism in the tourism industry besides promoting and ensuring its sustainability.
Besides, the workshop enabled the guides to learn about the importance of Driglam Namzha in the society, GNH index methodology, and the finding of the 2015 GNH survey.
The survey was con- ducted by CBS with representatives from dzongkhags that with funding support from the government and Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), Thimphu.
The GNH index is updated every three to five years to provide a reliable, comprehensive, and up-to-date picture of the country’s overall situation and progress.
The indicators serve as an input for debating and sharing policies and enable a close monitoring of the effects of such policies. It also allows the society to evaluate improvements and changes in their quality of life.
His Majesty the Fourth King promulgated GNH in the 1970s when he said, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.” Since then, GNH has been a unifying force behind the country’s five-year planning cycle and lies at the core of its long-term development vision.
About 100 tour guides attended the workshop and the program concluded with the awarding of certificates.