LUMBINI – The Second International Buddhist Travel Mart-2023 has concluded here issuing a seven-point declaration. The declaration stressed the need for promoting and expanding connectivity through the Gautam Buddha International Airport and the Pokhara International Airport, and for expanding the Buddha Circuit in four sacred places, Lumbini, Bodhgaya, Sharnath and Kushinagar.
It also aims to prioritise international networking and activities relating to tourism, and develop a common package that includes the promotion of Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha (Shakyamuni), and the origin of peace, as the entrance to the Buddha Circuit and a destination for peace. It also reached an agreement to organise the Third International Buddhist Travel Mart on 24 March, 2024. The three-day mart was co-organised by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, and the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) in collaboration with the Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA), the Lumbini Development Trust and the Nepal Airlines Corporation with the objective of attracting tourists to Lumbini.
The event was expected to establish Lumbini as a destination for Buddhist tourists, and do the branding and exhibition of local products and activities in the international market, said NTB executive chief Dr Dhananjaya Regmi. Presence of buyers and sellers from various countries on the occasion would additionally make Lumbini’s tourism dynamic, he expressed the hope. “Lumbini itself is a centre for Buddhist tourists. This event is expected to revive COVID-19 marred tourism and additionally expose the significance of Lumbini,” he said.
Similarly, dean of the Lumbini University Dr Manik Ratna Shakya offered his hope that the mart would help further spread the Buddhist philosophy and the publicity of the area. On the occasion, other speakers, tourism expert Prof Dr Himlal Ghimire, and the NATTA President Ramesh Thapa, and Senior Vice President Pramod Dahal said the event was expected to make the entire tourism sector of the country dynamic. Representatives of various 28 travel and tour companies from Nepal, India, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka took part in the mart. Various working papers on Buddhist religion and Buddhist tourism were presented on the occasion.