Buddhist International Travel Mart aims to revive tourism industryTravel and tour companies from 28 countries are taking part in the three-day expo.
Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA) kicked off the Buddhist International Travel Mart on Thursday, to promote Lumbini the birthplace of Lord Buddha, on an international level.
During the three-day event, speakers from several countries and organisations will talk on Buddhism, Buddhist philosophy, tourism and marketing strategies.
Travel and tour companies from 28 countries with Buddhism as a major religion such as India, Malaysia, China, Korea, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and others are taking part in the mart.
Speaking at the inaugural session, Shradha Shrestha, manager of the Nepal Tourism Board said that the event will promote business-to-business relations among tourism entrepreneurs from Nepal and abroad.
“This will be very helpful to revive the flow of tourists halted by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Shrestha.
The event will also try to identify other Buddhist heritage sites as probable destinations for tourists, said Ramesh Thapa, president of NATTA.
In addition to Lumbini, the mart also aims to promote the heritage, spirituality, culture, environment and adventurous activities of Nepal.
The first version of the event was organised in 2019. However, it could not be continued in successive years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dhananjaya Regmi, chief executive officer of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) said that a high number of visitors from these 28 countries want to visit Lumbini, however, the lack of direct flights from these countries has been a major obstacle.
“The event will also attempt to bring in international flights to Gautam Buddha International Airport from the participating countries,” added Regmi.
During the inaugural-day sessions, speakers held discussions on probable ways to promote tourism by introducing new travel packages.
Dr Max Deeg, a professor at Cardiff University in the UK lectured about the history of the Buddha Circuit and probable improvements on it.
Similarly, in the final session on Thursday, CEO of NTB Dhananjaya Regmi, tourism entrepreneur Bikram Pandey Kaaji, former president of NATTA Achyut Guragain, president of the Hotel Association of Nepal Vinayak Shah, secretary of NATTA Yubika Bhandari and archaeologist Basanta Bidari shared their views regarding the probable marketing strategies of Buddhist tourism.