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Nepalese ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Professor Bishwambher Pyakuryal, addressing a representative gathering of tour promoters and business corporate persons from Nepal and Sri Lanka last week said it was opportune for both countries to foster and promote visitor exchanges. Sustainable development goals common to both countries were of such a nature that tourism promotion should take priority listing for economic progress. Both Sri Lanka and Nepal with similar topography and landscapes could foster travel between both countries.

‘The difference was that about 70 percent of the land mass in Nepal was described as highland hills, with the iconic Mount Everest and the Himalayas being world famous travel destinations, the ambassador said.

‘Sri Lanka and Nepal are endowed with natural beauty; the unique mix of mountainous terrain with the attraction of the lowlands. There was however a difference. Nepal is a landlocked country with no seascape or rolling stretch of beaches that Sri Lanka was blessed with. Nevertheless, attributes of visitor attractions in Nepal, included the stunning variety of the hill country of Nepal and historical sites which included the birth place of the Buddha, Lumbini.

‘Tourism absorbed one in ten jobs worldwide and contributed about 10 percent to global GDP. Increasing income and employment were currently on-going phenomena which could not be reversed.

‘The break – down on earnings from tourism was approximately 11 .1 billion dollars, which was a disappointing figure. This sum represented a reduction in such earnings. However, tourism growth in South East Asia contributed in definite terms to SAARC countries’ growth.

‘Based on recent statistics end 2017 would see about one million tourists visiting Nepal. Lankan tourists’ major destination was Lumbini and other religious sites. Although such visitors registered for inbound visits, most did not overstay. They would spend time in India and include Nepal for day time travel. Stay in Nepal, we will assure our guests excellent facilities and memorable stay time..In 2016, there were 75, 600 tourist arrivals registered from Sri Lanka.

‘Nepal generated 4,700, jobs because of tourism. Nepal increased room space. There are now 69,355 hotel rooms with star level accommodation. More importantly, such accommodation is not expensive. The room rental is 53 dollars per day.’

The convened press conference was aimed at promoting increased visits between both countries; also to include business exchanges .

Nepal hads 125 ethnic groups, speaking 123 languages. Nepalese is the main language, with English spoken by many.

Deputy Director Nepal Airlines Sabina Shakya, Lumbini Destination Developer Bikram Pandey Kaji also spoke.

Present at the conference were also First Secretary, Nepal embassy, Dhana Kumari Joshi, Deputy Director Nepal Airlines Pravita Sharma, among others.

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