Supporting Global Development through Sustainable Tourism


Bhutan’s Heritage Sites Bill: Action Planning for Policy Implementation

  • Client: The World Bank
  • Partners: Royal Government of Bhutan
  • Project Duration: March, 2015- August, 2015

Project Overview

This project responds to a high level request from the Royal Government of Bhutan for the World Bank’s continued advisory and technical assistance in the domain of socioeconomic integration in a culturally sensitive manner for Bhutan’s inclusive growth. Solimar's work will focus on the documentation, inventory and assessment of traditional villages and the preparation of an action plan, in a participatory manner, for the implementation of the country’s Heritage Sites Bill (HSB) as well as the review of Bhutan’s draft Tourism Policy. It will continue focusing on understanding the geography of poverty in Bhutan, with the ultimate goal of informing policy making and resource allocation for a more inclusive development in the country.

When thoughtfully developed, cultural heritage products are a vital strategy for increasing revenue to rural villages that can directly support cultural heritage preservation. Solimar understands that demand-driven products and experiences can greatly benefit heritage villages in Bhutan, but must be developed with proper management and guidelines to ensure the preservation of the cultural resources upon which the economic opportunity depends.

This activity aims to assist the Royal Government of Bhutan in the implementation of the Heritage Sites Bill and the review of Bhutan draft Tourism Bill with a focus on improving the living conditions and economic opportunities for the poorest communities in the country, which tend to live in traditional houses and villages across Bhutan.

Major Activities

  • Documenting Bhutan’s traditional villages socioeconomic aspects, historic and cultural features and infrastructure and services provision
  • Identifying the issues and opportunities in Bhutan’s traditional villages to assist the Royal Government of Bhutan to prioritize resource allocation and policy making
  • Developing action plans that include short, medium, and long-term activities and investment needs for the Royal Government of Bhutan to better target and address socioeconomic and service needs of traditional villages in the country
  • Review Bhutan’s draft Tourism Bill in alignment with the HSB

Anticipated Results

  • Assist the Royal Government of Bhutan to prioritize resource allocation and policy making by identifying the issues and opportunities in Bhutan’s about 56 traditional villages.
  • Strengthen existing products by developing strategies for improving the competitiveness of existing products that may include tourism, agriculture, handicrafts, masonry, etc.
  • Develop new culture-based tourism products by creating profitable enterprises and visitor experiences that contribute to both cultural preservation and communities.
  • Increase sales of handicraft manufacture by making traditional village crafts both a learning experience for visitors and a source of income generation.
  • Establish a traditional village management and marketing that can serve as the organizing unit for the development, management, and marketing of cultural village products.

Related Blog Posts

“Solimar is an innovative and holistically oriented accelerator of ecotourism."

-Jasmina van Driel Rift Valley Programme Coordinator
Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre & Network, Addis Ababa University

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