Bhutan is well-known for its rugged, beautiful landscape and for its drive to achieve Gross National Happiness for its citizenry. The country is landlocked, nestled in the Himalayan highlands, with India to the south, and China to the north.
The 2017 Population and Housing Census of Bhutan counted 735,553 persons. The country ranks first in economic freedom, ease of doing business, and peace, and is considered the least corrupt country in South Asia.
The country has enjoyed healthy economic growth, estimated at 5.8 percent in FY 2017/18. Bhutan’s hydropower potential and attraction for tourists are key resources. Development and construction activities for the hydropower sector have driven recent economic growth, although not creating enough jobs for the country’s educated youth (World Bank, November 2018). The Bhutanese currency, known as the ngultrum, is fully pegged to the Indian rupee; India accounts for 80 percent of Bhutan’s international trade. Government policies have cautiously expanded the tourism sector, focused on “high-value, low-impact” offerings that are sustainable, and preserve social and cultural values.