Trans Bhutan Trail Scoops Top Sustainability Prize
The restored historic pilgrimage trail traversing Bhutan will be officially re-opened for the first time in six decades in a formal ceremony to be held in Bhutan on 28th September 2022. The vision is for the Trail to restore a unique piece of Bhutan’s cultural heritage for the benefit of its people, including its health and wellness potential, its use as an educational and spiritual resource and the economic benefit to remote communities on its route.
This is the second year for the Marie Claire Sustainability Awards, which champions leading brands, organisations and products that are taking on the climate crisis. The aim is to highlight businesses that are “going above and beyond to protect the future of the planet and make a genuine difference”.
The 2022 Awards were judged by a panel of global experts, featuring over 50 thought leaders, business founders and activists in sustainability. The judging criteria included: sustainability for people and planet; innovation, disruptiveness and uniqueness in the market; environmental accreditations; and end-to-end sustainability practices and methods.
Commenting on the award win, Sam Blyth, Chair of the Bhutan Canada Foundation, the not-for-profit organisation behind the restoration of the Trail says, “We are absolutely thrilled and honoured to be named Best Sustainable Travel Experience for 2022 and for the Trans Bhutan Trail to be recognised in these prestigious awards.
“His Majesty, the King’s vision behind the restoration of the 250-mile Trail is to forge a link between Bhutan’s past, present and future, contributing to the sustainable livelihoods for local communities along the historic pathway, preserving and celebrating their traditional culture and protecting the delicate ecosystems which it crosses.
“We look forward to welcoming conscientious walkers and bikers to come and experience the Trail, with visitors playing a vital role in the Trail’s future, with all proceeds flowing back into creating a sustainable future for The Trail and the communities along it.”
TBT is committed to ensuring the Trail has only positive impact on Bhutan’s environment and ecosystems. A Trail Code, the terms of which all guests must adhere to, outlines the basic principles which bind this sustainable trail community.
Other current sustainability initiatives include:
- trail marker posts manufactured from recycled plastics;
- local Trail stewardship responsibility delegated to Gewogs (counties);
- bridges built using responsibly-sourced timber and sustainable community forestry practices;
- one tree planted for each international visitor;
- zero single-use plastics on TBT journeys; and
- reusable water bottles for all international visitors and provision of filtered water to refill.
Working in partnership with local schools, scout groups and Gyalsung (National Youth Service), TBT is also committed to providing exceptional experiential education opportunities, including curricula in flora and fauna, low-impact trekking and survival skills, first aid and cultural history.
All aspects of guided walking and biking on the Trail can be arranged directly via TBT (transbhutantrail.org) on a not-for-profit basis.
For more information about the launch of the Trail and the restoration project, visit transbhutantrail.org.