- Official Name: Kingdom of Bhutan
- Official Languages: Bhutanese (Dzongkha)
- One of two dozen languages spoken in Bhutan
- All languages are members of the Tibeto-Burman language family except for Nepali, an Indo-Aryan language, and Bhutanese Sign Language
- Population: 727,145
- Currency: Ngultrum (Nu)
- The Kingdom of Bhutan is located in the southern foothills of the Eastern Himalayas.
- Capital: Thimphu; Financial Center: Phuntsholing
- Government: Constitutional Monarchy
- The Kingdom of Bhutan has never been colonized.
- Bhutan was one of the last countries to introduce television -- the government lifted a ban on television and the Internet in 1999.
- The Bhutan government introduced Gross National Happiness (GNH) as the goal of the government in the Constitution of Bhutan, enacted on July 18, 2008.
- The philosophy uses an index to measure the collective happiness and well-being of a population.
- The king of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the term in a 1972 interview with the Financial Times: “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product.”
- Critics describe GNH as a propaganda tool used by the Bhutanese government to distract from ethic cleansing and human rights abuses.
- According to Human Rights Watch, “Over 100,000 or 1/6 of the population of Bhutan of Nepalese origin and Hindu faith were expelled from the country because they would not integrate with Bhutan’s Buddhist culture.”
- An estimated two-thirds to three-quarters of the population follow Vajrayana Buddhism, the official religion of the Kingdom of Bhutan.
- Approximately one-quarter to one-third of the Bhutanese population are followers of Hinduism.
- Ngalop 50%, ethnic Nepali 35%, indigenous or migrant tribes 15%
- Hunting and fishing, except for catch and release, are banned in Bhutan.
- It is forbidden to climb high peaks, where it is believed that spirits dwell.
- Employees must wear the traditional clothing -- gho robe, for men and kira dress for women -- during work hours.
- To deter low cost tourism, Bhutan requires visitors to spend hundreds of dollars a day.
Business Communication & Relationships
- Bhutan’s nationwide system of etiquette, called the “driglam namzha,” governs how to send and receive gifts, how to speak to authority figures, and how to dress.
- Men and women converse and mix freely, without the restrictions present among other South Asian cultures.
- The business community is young and friendly, yet traditional and formal. Many businessmen and women wear traditional attire. Formal wear is acceptable.
- For many years, more than 90 percent of Bhutanese trade has been with India.
- In 2018, India accounted for 84% of Bhutan’s total imports, and 78% of its total exports.