East-West Center

East-West Center Innovation for Sustainable Development Fellows 2021

Bhutan Tours and Travels and our CEO Thinley Choden is honored to be selected as an EWC Innovation for Sustainable Development Fellows #EWCinnovationfellows for 2021 across nine countries in Asia and the Americas under the Experiential Professional Development (XPD) and the Office of Alumni Engagement (OAE) of the East-West Center.

As an EWC Innovation Fellow, our company plans to develop and launch a Virtual Reality Tourism platform: Virtual Bhutan which will be a standalone but affiliated web platform with the following aspirations:

GOAL: To create Virtual Reality (VR) tourism in Bhutan to address pandemic travel restrictions

SUMMARY: The pandemic has gravely impacted the travel industry and the Bhutanese tourism sector devastating socio-economic and livelihoods at level. However travel and tourism is also a major contributor to the Climate Crisis. Therefore, being mindful of these dilemmas, as an impact travel entrepreneur, I hope to reconcile and navigate this space by following a middle path to achieve sustainability (people, planet, prosperity) by implementing the following strategies and activities with XPD:

  • Create metrics to track our contribution towards SDG 13 and SDG 17
  • Establish partnerships with civil society and other partners in the environment, social and cultural spaces to leverage learnings for meaningful experiences
  • Create Virtual Reality (VR) tourism to address pandemic travel restrictions and bring Bhutan to people if people cannot come to Bhutan (virtualbhutan.com)

East-West Center Arts Program

In February 2018, BTT and EWC Arts Program collaborated to present a live demonstration of a Bhutanese Mandala and photo exhibition. Three monks and our CEO Thinley travelled to Honolulu from Bhutan. Over a period of 5 days, different groups of people including school students stopped by as the 3 monks meditatively constructed a “Mee-Thrub” mandala. It culminated with the completion and consecration of the Mandala – which remained in exhibition at the gallery for 2 months after which it was “destroyed” as tradition goes signifying impermanence. The sand was disposed of into the ocean in a traditional Hawaiin ceremony.

The East-West Center Arts Program held an exhibition on Bhutan titled “Bhutan: Gross National Happiness” from February 25 to May 27, 2018.

Media Coverage Links:

Honolulu Civil Beats
KITV Island News

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