Local Perspectives on the Impact of Tourism on Religious Festivals in Bhutan

Wantanee Suntikul, Ugyen Dorji

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


The Himalayan nation of Bhutan is known to embrace Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product as the measure of its people's well-being. Happiness, spirituality and cultural authenticity are prominent factors in Bhutan's tourism image, and these attributes are most clearly exhibited in the traditional festivals that are among the most popular attractions for many foreign tourists. This paper introduces the cultural practice of religious festivals in Bhutan and investigates how tourism may be affecting these festivals. Within this context, this paper reports on the findings of a survey of Bhutanese monks and lay people, regarding their impressions of the effects of tourists on one particular event – the Tsechu festival. With the Bhutanese government's aim to increase the number of annual tourists more than fourfold to 200,000 by 2018, this research provides a baseline study of the perceived impact of tourism on religious festivals and addresses the issue of whether such an increase in volume of tourists would pose a threat to the integrity and value of these festivals as perceived by Bhutanese people.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-762
Number of pages22
JournalAsia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016


  • Bhutan
  • local people's perception
  • religious festivals
  • tourism impacts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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