The Nepalese government has begun foundation work to develop Gautam Buddha’s birthplace Lumbini and its periphery area into a tourist hub within the next fiscal year, Xinhua news agency reported.
The Tourism Ministry, which has been working to implement the idea, said Lumbini could potentially attract a large number of religious tourists especially Buddhism followers.
“There are more than 1 billion Buddhists in the world. If we could attract 20 percent of them to the holy land of Lumbini, that will be more than enough,” said Purna Chandra Bhattarai, joint secretary at the Tourism Ministry.
“The tourist hub would draw hundreds of thousands of tourists from China alone if we can market and promote Lumbini,” he said.
The Lumbini tourist hub will consist of three districts including Nawalparasi and Rupandehi and will extend to an area of more than 100 km.
Religious and archeologically significant sites including Ramnagar, Tilaurakot, Kudan, Niglihawa, Ashoka Pillar, Sagrahawa, Arorakot and Devdeha that are related to Lord Buddha’s life will become the centre of the hub.
“We have prepared an initial blueprint of the project. We are having early of discussions for the implementation of the plan,” Bhattarai said.
Government statistics show 800,000 foreign and local tourists visit Lumbini every year.
source: Bernama, 10 Jan 2014