Economics at your fingertips  

Cultural Values and Sustainable Tourism Governance in Bhutan

Kent Schroeder ()
Additional contact information
Kent Schroeder: International Development Institute, Humber College, 3199 Lake Shore Blvd. West, Toronto, ON M8V 1K8, Canada

Sustainability, 2015, vol. 7, issue 12, 1-15

Abstract: Governance is recognized as a means to promote sustainable outcomes by democratizing the policy process and potentially harmonizing competing policy interests. This is particularly critical for sustainable tourism policy with its multiple sectors and multiple stakeholders at multiple scales. Yet little is known about the kinds of governance processes and instruments that are able to effectively harmonize competing power interests to better balance economic, ecological, and social concerns. This study analyzes the case of Bhutan and its Gross National Happiness (GNH) strategy as it is applied to sustainable tourism policy. Based on semi-structured interviews and focus groups with 57 state and non-state governance actors, it explores whether Bhutan’s unique GNH governance framework successfully harmonizes competing interests in the pursuit of sustainable tourism policy. It argues that the implementation of Bhutanese tourism policy is characterized by diverse and unexpected applications of power by multiple policy stakeholders. These complex power dynamics are not shaped in a meaningful way by the GNH governance instruments. Nor are they rooted in a common understanding of GNH itself. While this situation should subvert sustainable tourism policy, a commitment among state and non-state governance actors to a common set of Buddhist-infused cultural values shapes and constrains policy actions in a manner that promotes sustainable tourism outcomes.

Keywords: Bhutan; Buddhism; sustainable tourism policy; governance; Gross National Happiness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf) (text/html)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Sustainability is currently edited by Prof. Dr. Marc A. Rosen

More articles in Sustainability from MDPI, Open Access Journal
Bibliographic data for series maintained by XML Conversion Team ().

Page updated 2018-11-03
Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:7:y:2015:i:12:p:15837-16630:d:60715