Bhutan, cradled in the eastern Himalayas, is renowned for its unique approach to development, prioritizing Gross National Happiness over Gross Domestic Product. This philosophy underscores Bhutan’s commitment to sustainable growth and environmental conservation, making it an attractive destination for those seeking a harmonious and fulfilling lifestyle.

The country’s economy is predominantly driven by sectors such as hydropower, agriculture, forestry, and tourism. Bhutan’s pristine natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and emphasis on “high-value, low-impact” tourism have positioned it as a desirable destination for travelers seeking authentic experiences while minimising their ecological footprint.

Let’s take a closer look at what leading rankings say about:

  • Bhutan’s soft power and country brand strength
  • Its appeal to skilled labour, investors and visitors
  • The country’s global contribution to peace and well-being
  • How well it fares in terms of happiness and sustainability

Bhutan’s soft power and country brand strength

How does Bhutan compare in terms of reputation and brand value globally? 

Bhutan was newly added to the Global Soft Power Index by Brand Finance in the 2024 edition. The country ranked 123rd, above Sudan (124th) and below Mongolia (122nd) and Uganda (121st).

Is Bhutan a ‘Good’ country?

What is Bhutan’s contribution to global well-being?

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Democracy Index 2023, Bhutan ranked in the light yellow zone (5-6 range) with a 5.50 out of 10. This score is similar to closeby Bangladesh (6.00) and Nepal (4.50). However, it is significantly lower than India (7.00) and higher than neighbouring China (1.9).

The 2022 Corruption Perception Index ranks Bhutan 25th, tying with Taiwan (25th). Bhutan ranks behind the USA (24th) while surpassing Chile (27th) and the UAE (27th).

The Sustainable Development Report 2023 ranks Bhutan 61st. The Report highlights that Bhutan faces significant challenges in certain SDGs (SDG 2 Zero Hunger, SDG 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth, and SDG 15 Life on Land). The SDG 15 Life on Land is also experiencing a downward trend.

Bhutan’s appeal to digital nomads, business, trade and travel 

What is the global perception of Bhutan as a destination for living, conducting business, and tourism?

The Bloom Consulting biannual Country Brand Ranking Trade Edition 2022-2023 assesses investment-related variables, emphasising perceptions of a country’s trade-specific brand and evaluating branding performance. In Asia, Bhutan ranks 42nd behind North Korea (41st) and Tajikistan (40th). Worldwide, Bhutan ranks 150th.

In addition, the Bloom Consulting Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2022-2023 places Bhutan at 36th position in Asia, climbing by two positions since last year’s ranking. Bhutan ranks behind Iraq (35th) and Bangladesh (34th). Worldwide, Bhutan ranks 132nd behind Belarus (131st), surpassing Samoa (133rd).

How peaceful is Bhutan?

Is Bhutan a peaceful and safe place to be in?

The Global Peace Index 2023 ranks Bhutan 17th, dropping by five positions since last year’s edition. Bhutan now sits ahead of Hungary (18th) and Netherlands (16th). It falls at the high end of the ‘State of Peace’ spectrum, as defined by the Institute for Economics & Peace. Bhutan is positioned 1st in South Asia. 

The Institute for Economics & Peace ranks Bhutan within the no impact zone regarding the ‘Impact of Terrorism’ in the 2024 Global Terrorism Index. Bhutan ranks 89th, tying many countries such as Czechia, Singapore, Sudan, and Jamaica.

Bhutan’s environmental performance

How does Bhutan perform in rankings measuring environmental sustainability?

The 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) edition ranks Bhutan 85th. The EPI analyses the performance of 180 countries, scoring and ranking these countries on their environmental performance using the most recent year of data available, as well as providing calculable changes in scores over the previous decade. Bhutan has experienced a negative shift of -7.20 in the past ten years.

Last updated in June 2024. More country profiles here.

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