When talk about the Gelephu City first emerged many months ago, many imagined it would be full of skyscrapers and resemble any other city in the world.
However, the final vision of the Mindfulness City revealed before us has many things going for it.
Given our location, resources and stage of development there is no way we can compete with a Singapore or Dubai, and so the Mindfulness City plays smartly to Bhutan’s strengths of being a green country, having a well-preserved culture, GNH and being natural.
The biggest thing working against Bhutan’s attempts to improve its economy are the small size or scale of the economy, inability to export, inability to compete and little engagement with the world economy.
At the same time, our inherent strengths has been the strong brand value of Bhutan in terms of it being a must visit destination for many people. Till date except for the tourism industry, we have not really been able to capitalize on it.
The only way for Bhutan to do well is to offer the world a product only it can offer and no one else can.
In that sense, the Mindfulness City is a very smart move at various levels. It firstly addresses scale and size given the enormous size of the project.
It also offers a unique product of a natural and sustainable city nestled in the folds of Bhutan which not many can.
The city not only offers the conventional perks of such cities in terms of regulations etc. but it goes a big step forward to give something much more.
The project is not just a physical project but it is also a mental project for Bhutan in that it represents our collective wish and endeavor to do and be better as a nation.
The going will not be easy but it is important to start.
If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.