Tour guides at­tend GNH work­shop

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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.

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