Bhutan. On April 28-29, Bhutan hosted for the first time a summit between the South Asian countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). Bhutan has been a member since SAARC was formed in 1985, but had previously refused to hold the summit because of the country’s lack of infrastructure. The fact that the meeting was now held in Bhutan’s capital Thimphu showed that the previously isolated country has been given an active role in regional cooperation. The country’s prime minister Jigme Thinley said that the hostilities would strengthen the image of Bhutan as a sovereign, independent, responsible and equal member state of SAARC. Other members of the cooperation body are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives and Afghanistan, which were elected in 2007.
According to COUNTRYAAH, Bhutan has a population of 754,394 (2018). Bhutan, which has always restricted tourism to the country, plans to increase the number of tourists from the current around 30,000 to 100,000 in 2012. This was announced by Prime Minister Thinley in September. According to softwareleverage, Bhutan began to attract tourists in 1975, limiting the number of visitors to preserve the country’s traditions and special features and to prevent environmental degradation. Tourists are not allowed to travel or roam freely. Rock climbing has been banned because the mountains are considered sacred. Despite tripling the number of visitors, the guidelines should be the same as before, Thinley assured. Tourists may only come in smaller groups and should have minimal impact on the environment and culture. All visitors must pay a tourist fee of US $ 200-250 per day.
BHUTAN. – The population of the Himalayan state, which amounted to 1,034,000 residents in 1969, it has an estimated annual rate of increase of 2% and is mainly concentrated along the east-west axis in the center of the country, in a strip consisting of a series of fertile meridian-oriented valleys. The average density is 21 residents per km 2. on the 45,000 km 2 of the territory.
The interest of scholars for this people has increased in recent years; many documents of Bhutanese history are preserved in dzongs or monasteries, but much of this heritage has been damaged by fires and earthquakes. The majority of the population is illiterate, and reading and writing is reserved for the classes of scribes and monks. The latter, Mahayana Buddhists, are educated in the numerous monasteries, among which the largest is that of Punakha which houses over a thousand pupil lamas. The main settlement is made up of small villages; only the centers of Punakha and Thimbu have any urban character. The rural house consists of a ground floor, where the cattle are housed, a first floor for people and an airy attic for storing cereals and other products.
The Bhutanese economy is essentially based on agriculture, which also occupies a small part of the surface (about 1%), while the forests cover over a third of it. Agricultural production in the lower areas, in the south, is mainly made up of rice, accompanied by corn and some orchards. In the mountains, in the north, the cultivation of barley prevails, accompanied by sem, a small black pea, and yungdo, a type of turnip.
The main communications take place with India, via two rolling roads; the border with Tibet is closed and the traditional flow of goods and people is interrupted.
The breeding of the yak, semi-nomadic, is practiced up to almost 5000 m in the summer months, while in winter the animals are led below 2500 m. The government, in cooperation with the Indian Union, has drawn the lines of a planned economic development, with five-year plans (1961-65, 1966-70, 1971-76) financed almost entirely by Indian capital. In this context, a health and education policy has been attempted, which, however, is struggling to bear fruit; new roads were also built for 1000 km.