Kezang Dorji: A Visionary Leader Transforming Bhutan's Hospitality Landscape

Kezang Dorji: A Visionary Leader Transforming Bhutan's Hospitality Landscape

Kezang Dorji , Managing Director

Kezang Dorji

Managing Director

The hospitality industry in Bhutan is renowned for its dedication to preserving the nation's cultural and natural heritage while providing exceptional experiences to visitors. Kezang Dorji, a seasoned leader with over two decades of experience in high-volume hospitality, has played a significant role in shaping this dynamic sector. Starting as a room server and bartender, Dorji ascended to become a top-tier butler catering to multimillionaires, celebrities, and royal families. His journey has been marked by excellence, consistently boosting sales, enhancing customer satisfaction, and reducing management turnover.

Dorji's international experience spans prestigious five-star resorts across various countries, including Bhutan. He brings a passion for utilizing best practices to maximize efficiency and profitability. As the Managing Director of Zhiwa Ling, Dorji is instrumental in steering the company to become a worldwide leader in responsible and luxury travel. His commitment to continuous growth positions him as a key figure in empowering the hospitality sector in Bhutan.

In a recent transition, Dorji now serves as the General Manager at The Potlatch Club Resort in The Bahamas. Previously, he held the esteemed position of Managing Director at Zhiwa Ling Heritage, departing in late August of the previous year. His intentions remain to promote Bhutan and express gratitude to the country, its revered King, the people, and the global hospitality industry. Dorji aims to inspire today's youth, emphasizing that dedication from the heart can make anything achievable. He also acknowledges key figures like Honorable Dasho Ugyen Rinzin, the founder & proprietor of Zhiwa Ling and its CEO Karma Lotey, for their vision of creating a welcoming space at Zhiwa Ling that allows visitors to experience the wonders of Bhutan. Let’s hear more from him.

Tell us about your professional background and share your success mantra.

Over more than twenty years of working in various industries, I have primarily excelled in the field of hospitality. My decision to join the Zhiwa Ling family was motivated by a deep-seated passion for promoting sustainable tourism in Bhutan. The rich cultural tapestry and pristine beauty of our country, coupled with the visionary leadership of the owners, inspired me to assemble a team dedicated to providing travelers with unique experiences while also prioritizing environmental conservation and cultural heritage preservation. Today, my unwavering commitment is rooted in the belief that responsible business practices can positively impact both the economy and the environment.

My path to success in the hospitality sector has been shaped by resilience, innovation, and a steadfast dedication to sustainable practices. My guiding principles are straightforward: 'Strive for excellence, embrace adaptability, and uphold your values.' Adhering to these principles has played a crucial role in overcoming challenges and fostering continuous growth. Throughout my journey, my enduring inspiration has been my revered king, who remains a guiding force in my pursuit of success.

My unwavering commitment is rooted in the belief that responsible business practices can positively impact both the economy & the environment

How would you describe Zhiwa Ling and its position in the market? Additionally, elaborate on the flagship offerings and value enhancements.

Zhiwa Ling epitomizes the harmonious blend of luxury and sustainability, crafting genuine Bhutanese experiences. Our focus is on showcasing the epitome of Bhutan's culture, nature, and hospitality. Recognized for our unwavering dedication to responsible tourism, we have established a formidable presence in the market, setting a distinctive standard within the industry.

Our primary offerings center around customized Bhutanese tours and immersive experiences, emphasizing exclusivity and personalized itineraries. Ranging from wellness retreats to adventures in pristine landscapes, we ensure an authentic cultural immersion. What sets us apart is our commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly initiatives, facilitating mindful travel. Additionally, our sister company, Yangphel, stands as one of the nation's pioneering tour operators. With a team that has been with us since the beginning, Yangphel shares our commitment to sustainable tourism, aligning seamlessly with our overarching goals.

How would you describe your leadership style?

My approach to leadership is centered on leading by example, fostering collaboration, and encouraging innovation. The foundation of our approach is built on well-defined objectives, empowered teams, and open communication. Ethical behavior and a commitment to the well-being of our employees and community are the pillars of our leadership philosophy. Guided by principles of transparency, accountability, and a commitment to a greater purpose, my journey from humble beginnings in the Far East, born to farming parents, serves as a constant reminder of my roots, infusing my leadership with profound sentiments and gratitude.

What are your aspirations as a hospitality leader from Bhutan?

Working in the hospitality industry, my future goals are deeply rooted in my gratitude for being born as a Bhutanese, constantly guided by His Majesty The King’s sagacious and inspiring Royal Addresses to the nation. My ultimate goal is to be a true citizen of my country and continue to maintain the values that define what it means to be a Bhutanese. I believe that as unique as it is exclusive, Bhutan’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness is interwoven within its hospitality industry. As ours is an industry underpinned by “development with values” which stabilizes economic growth with socio-ecological well-being, I would always be guided by this vision as long as I am working in the hospitality industry in Bhutan or elsewhere.

What guidance would you offer to aspiring industry leaders?

For emerging leaders, I would suggest them to adhere to their principles and maintain ethical standards without compromise in all spheres of their lives. I would also like to urge them to embrace innovation, strive for excellence, remain humble, and value the pursuit of knowledge. Always remember that perseverance and integrity can have a significant impact on your industry. As a lifelong learner, rather than providing advices, I prefer to share ideas acquired from my perpetual journey of growth.

Kezang Dorji, Managing Director, Zhiwa Ling Heritage

As the managing director of Zhiwa Ling, an exceptional 5-star hotel, and a shining example of Bhutanese ownership and operation, Dorji is driven by a fervent commitment to incorporate industry best practices for maximum efficiency and profitability. He plays a pivotal role in propelling Zhiwa Ling to the forefront of global hospitality, setting new standards for responsible and luxurious travel. Zhiwa Ling stands as a testament to Bhutanese artisanship and cultural richness, with every aspect meticulously handcrafted by the nation's finest carpenters and stone carvers.

Recognized as one of National Geographic's top 20 unique lodges worldwide, Zhiwa Ling is an unparalleled destination that I wholeheartedly recommend for anyone seeking an unforgettable experience.

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