Although 10,000 kms separate Indigo Shire and Bhutan they believe they share similarities – they each care deeply about preserving the natural, cultural and built environments and both recognise the importance of sustainable and culturally sensitive tourism.
In January 2005, the Indigo Shire Council announced, in conjunction with the Chairman of Tourism Australia, Tim Fischer, and the King of Bhutan, that they will be measuring the Gross National Happiness Index seasonally, according to international, national and local indicators. This index, initiated first by The King of Bhutan, would be an intriguing, high profile way to demonstrate the Shire’s attributes to tourists and potential residents as well as measuring the health of the community.
The results – which will be displayed on happy meters throughout the Shire – measure local indicators:
(i) economic activity locally
(ii) performance of local government
(iii) local law and order and crime situation
(iv) local cultural activity and community fabric
Indigo’s score has lifted from 71% in Summer to 72.5% in Autumn. A new bridge across the Murray – the Corowa Federation Bridge has boosted spirits!
There will soon be a form listing 15 factors on the Shire’s website to encourage more direct community input to the quarterly calculation, which will undoubtedly fluctuate says Indigo’s Economic and Tourism Development Manager – Seane Pieper.