Bhutan is one of the worlds poorest and least developed countries. According to the United Nations’ development program, 26.2% of Bhutanese population lives on less than 1.25 US dollar per day. Around 30% of the people live below poverty line. Several organisations have development aid programs to promote education and other projects in Bhutan. However, this development aid is restricted by the government in order to protect the countries traditional culture. Although it might be a financially poor country, it has rich cultural values and nature and the preservation of these is leading.
Bhutanese economy is mostly based on agriculture, which together with livestock keeping is the main source of livelihood for over 80% of the population. The country hardly knows real industry, except forestry and cottage building. Most of the consumer goods and essentials are imported and its major export goods are calcium carbides, cement, wood based products, minerals and horticulture products. Hydroelectric power is Bhutan’s largest export product. Bhutan’s major trading partner is India. The two countries have a free trade relationship agreement. Bhutan exports about 90% to India, which is the countries source for 70% imports. The kingdom also has a preferential trade agreement with Bangladesh. Besides hydroelectric power, tourism also brings a lot of money to the country. Bhutan’s tourism industry is based on the principle of environmentally friendly, economical viability and sustainability. Mass tourism is prevented by the policy of high value and low volume. Tourists have to pay about 200 US dollars per day, thereby keeping Bhutan an exclusive and expensive destination and ensuring the preservation of Bhutan’s culture and traditions.