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
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.