Importance of Lumbini in Tourism Development in Nepal: Sri Lanka Ambassador
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 1, 2010
H. E. Thosapala Hewage, Ambassador of Sri Lanka, Nepal
Tourism is a complex social, cultural, religious and economical development and one of the most significant Thenomena and the world’s largest industry. In the 21st century, people are increasingly mobile. It is said that one can’t understand the world today without understanding Tourism. There are many definitions to Tourism. For the purpose of this article, “Tourism is the temporary, short-term movement of people to destination outside the places where they normally live and work and their activities during the stay at each destination. It includes movement for all the purposes”. (Tourism Society of England –1976). Tourism is a very important sources for foreign exchange earning. It is an un-risky procedure for transfer of real resources from industrially capital surplus countries to developing countries. There are different types of Tourism. Among them, Leisure tourism, Sustainable tourism, Cultural and Religious tourism, Eco Tourism, Heritage tourism, Medical tourism. Wildlife tourism, War tourism and Disaster tourism are very common. In 2008 globally there were over 922 million international Tourist arrivals with a growth of about 2% compared to 2007. In 2009, international tourist arrival fell to 880 million representing a worldwide decline of about 4% as compared to 2008 mainly due to economic recession affecting all developing countries. International Tourism income grew to US $ 944 billion in 2008, corresponding to an increase in terms of 1.8% on 2007. There has been an up market trend in the tourism over the last few decades, especially in Europe where international travel for short breaks is common. Tourists have high level of disposable income, considerable leisure time are well educated and have sophisticated tastes. WHO estimates that up to 500,000 people are on planes at any given time. Tourism is a labour intensive industry offering employment to skilled, semi skilled, and unskilled manpower. It employees large number of people and provides a wide range of jobs. According to James Robinson, ex-president of the World Travel and Tourism Organization Tourism industry accounts for 9% of global GDP and employs 235 million people. Present Status of Tourism in Nepal Tourism plays an important role in Nepalese economy, particularly in terms of foreign exchange earnings and employment creation. Nepal opened to the rest of the world only during the early fifties. Early day’s tourism was mainly concentrated in the Kathmandu valley and only a few mountaineers visited the Everest and Annapurna regions that are attracted even today. With the increase in tourist numbers, Nepal developed the necessary infrastructure such as international airport in Kathmandu, a full pledged hotel sector, construction of domestic air strips, tourism related public and private institutions and travel and trekking agencies etc.
The tourism industry in 1998 accounted for an average of 46.6% of total exports 23% of total foreign exchange earnings (US $ 161 million) and 3% of GDP. Total number of tourist arrival in 1998 was 463,684. In 2009, total number of visitor arrivals was 509,752. Of the total arrival of tourists in 1999 around three fifth came for holiday or pleasure and a little more than one fifth came for trekking and mountaineering. Rest came for business, pilgrimage and for official purposes. Total earnings in 2008 was US $ 351,968,000/-. The average income per visitor per day is around US $ 73 (Nepal Tourism Board). There are about 24 online airlines in operation in Nepal. Hotel and restaurant sector employed about 114,000 people in 1998. Although data are lacking, it is known that other sectors have both direct and indirect employment related to tourism.
The tourism development has, so far, been concentrated in a few major locations of central and eastern areas, and confined to a few major products. While cultural tourism is confined to Kathmandu and Pokhara, trekking is popular in the Khumbu, Langtang and Annappura regions, and Chitwan is to focus for wildlife and eco-tourism.
Cultural and Religious tourism also play an important role in Nepal. Even then it is difficult to say that the Nepali Government had given due recognition to cultural tourism as in the case of leisure and nature based tourism. Some of the world heritage sites are not properly conserved and preserved. In Lumbini tourists use to come and spend only a few hours and get back to India where basic facilities are available and cultural religious tourism is promoted aggressively.
Nepal is exceptionally rich in terms of archaeological monuments, historical places, unique cultural diversity as well as natural beauty. Hence the tourism in Nepal has enormous potential but it has not yet been exploited fully. Although tourism has emerged as one of the fastest growing industries in Nepal it has not been promoted nationally and internationally as required. This can be done collectively by the countries in the region under the umbrella of SAARC. Prospects for Tourism Development in Nepal Nepal has a wide range of places of importance where tourists are attracted. Tourists are drawn to Nepal by its unparalleled natural beauty, the challenges of its mountain climbing, its rich wildlife and biodiversity and unique religious and cultural heritage. Tourism in Nepal varies from less adventurous pleasurable activities such as village visits, home stays and walking and hiking circuits for non trekkers to the adventurous and challenging trekking mountaineering and white water rafting. There is a need to develop the combination of spectacular and diverse tourism resources and a largely rural based population and deliver benefit of development to the remote rural areas. Community based tourism can generate a sense of pride in the local population and make funds available for maintaining or upgrading cultural assets such as archaeological ruins, historic sites, traditional crafts production ( UNEP 2001). Although tourism in Nepal grew and actually flourished after the first discovery of Mt. Everest in 1953, it is characterized by the presence of fairly large proportion of tourists who remain in the urban areas.
In view of the above, one can suggest that Nepal can benefit from different types of Tourism such as Eco-tourism, Religious and cultural Tourism, leisure tourism and even dark tourism if available potentials are fully exploited. Pokhara to a certain extend can be sited as an example of regional growth due to tourism development. But this can be further improved with better infrastructure facilities such as roads, electricity, water, communication etc. Eco-tourism can also offer opportunities for generating local revenues through informal employments such as tour guides, vendors, involvement of local cultural festivals, local souvenirs production etc. However there is need to preserve the cultural identity of the local community. It is necessary to promote small scale tourism that is developed and owned by local people. Very small group or individual tourists travel to relatively remote undisturbed natural areas with the objective of admiring, studying and enjoying scenery and biodiversity and cultural attributes. Nepal is a country of ancient culture. Cultural tourism has been conceptualized by UNESCO during the seventies and it was regarded as force for cultural preservation. Cultural tourism also defined as “the absorption by tourists of features resembling the nourishing lifestyles of past societies observed through such phenomena as house styles, crafts, farming equipment, dress, utensils and other instruments and equipment that reflects the lifestyle of any particular community during a particular time.” (Smith 1977) Further, Zina identified handicrafts, language, traditions, art and music, paintings and sculpture, history work and technology, architecture, religion, educational system, dress and leisure activities as elements of cultural tourism. There is enormous potential for development of the cultural and religious tourism in Nepal. Places such as Maipokhari (related to Shiva and Parvati), Pathibhara (Temple of Pathibhara Devi), Dhanush & Dham (Birth place of Sita) Tansan (religious festivals such as Baishakh Purnima, Gai Jatra, Tichar are performed) Shaileshwori (Shaileshwori Temple), Ramaroshan (Pancha city of Goddess Parvati) Surma (Surma Devi Temple) Bikram Baba (There is an old tree worshiped by Hindus) are very important cultural and religious places that can be promoted for Tourism development. Among other things that the Tourism authorities should do is to give sufficient publicity internationally and nationally to promote Tourism development. The government in coordination with Nepalese travel trade sector and concerned organizations/Experts has decided to observe the year 2011 as a national Tourism campaign. During Tourism year Nepal expects to achieve one million international arrivals, additional investment on Tourism infrastructure by 50% and also promote eco friendly domestic tourism. Nepal Tourism Board has identified the importance of Nepal from World’s view.
- Nepal among 50 places to see before one dies – BBC
- Everest base camp listed in the 20 Journeys of a lifetime – UK’s observer
- Climbing Mt. Everest among BBC’s 50 things to do before you die
- Annapurna trail of Nepal declared one of the 12 best walks in the world – USA Travel Magzine
- iExplore voted Annapurna circuit as No. 01 in iExplore’s hiking and trekking trips – 2003
- Second position in the most prepared country category out of 180 countries – UK
- Best Eco Tourism Destination in the world by Tourism Market Trends : World overview
As former Secretary General, HE Mr. Nihal Rodrigo said special texture of the SAARC Region is its diversity which ranges from Nepal’s soaring snow-caped peaks to Bhutan’s richly decorated Buddhist monasteries, the bush grass forests and the mighty rivers of Bangladesh to the teeming cities of India. Sri Lanka’s temples and ancient arts to the turquoise sea and brilliant white beaches of the Maldives. This diversity need to be exploited to the maximum benefit of the country. Importance of Lumbini Lumbini where Gautama Buddha was born in 623 B C is one of the most sacred places of all Buddhists. World wide attention is focused on Lumbini not only because pilgrims and tourists visit from all over the world but also for all mankind Lumbini has a special meaning as a place of meditation and spiritual renewal, a centre of cultural exchange and a symbol of peace. This is one of the most important reasons behind the high acclamation of Nepal and is a treasured heritage for the country. Lumbini is also famous for the highly civilized inhabitants and the natural prosperity of the place. It is said that the place holds the devotional Buddha feelings of the air even. ‘Mahaparnirvana Sutta’ Buddha said about Lumbini as “Ananda, Lumbini where the Thathagatha was born, is a place which should be visited and seen by a person of devotion and which would cause awareness and apprehension of the nature of impermanence. At this place, Ananda, who use on a pilgrimage to this shrine, if they should die with devotion in their hearts during the courage of the pilgrimage, will after their death and dissolution of the body be reborn in a good destination, a fortunate celestial realm”. Today devotees and visitors from all over the world come to Lumbini the timeless place where ancient monuments glorify the birth place of Buddha and bear witness to the record of the noteworthy visits by famous dignitaries. They deeply immerse themselves in the calm spiritual atmosphere of Lumbini. Emperor Asoka along with a team of pilgrims made a pilgrimage to Lumbini in 249 B.C. This could be the first recorded religious tourism in the world. He erected a stone pillar bearing an inscription stating clearly “hida Buddha jate Sakyamuniti (here Sakyamuni Buddha was born). He also laid importance to the marker –stone and constructed few other structures to make the exact birth place of the Buddha. The restored garden and surroundings of Lumbini have the remains of many of the stupas and monasteries. The next pilgrims according to the recorded history were the three famous Chinese travelers; Tseng Tsai (4th century AD) Fa-Hsien (5th century DAD) and Hiuen – Tsang (7th century AD) who visited Lumbini. They reported having seen the Asoka Pillar with horse carved on the top of it. For decades the sacred place remained, neglected due to various reasons. However, after the visit of various dignitaries such as King Mahendra, UN Secretary General U. Thant again it became a place of such importance. U. Thant wanted Nepal Government to develop Lumbini as an international pilgrimage and tourist centre in 1970. Master Plan was prepared for the development of Lumbini and the Lumbini Development Trust was established to implement it. In 1997 Lumbini was declared as a World Heritage Site. The rich cultural heritage of Lumbini is attracted by religious tourists because of its sacred garden which spread over 8 sq. km. covering the entire valuable riches of this area. The Maya Devi Temple is the heart of all monuments at the sacred site. Other important places are the marker stone, the Nativity sculpture, the Pushkarani Pond, remains of various viharas and stupas , artifacts and the Asoka Pillar. Another attraction is the Sarus crane sanctuary where hundreds of cranes, hundred of Blue bulls, 27 species of animals, 207 species of birds, 44 types of fishes and heard of Nilgai animals are protected. This sanctuary along with greenery can definitely be of interest for nature lovers. This will add a natural attraction on the cultural destination. Nepalese and international monasteries representing different architecture and culture of Buddhist and Buddhist organizations are other attractions of Lumbini. Some of the important sites round Lumbini which are important in terms of Religious and Cultural value are Tilaurakot (capital of Sakya kingdom), Niglihawa (Kanakamuni Buddha was born and attained enlightenment), Arorakot (natal town of Kanakamuni Buddha), Sagarhawa (Sakya were massacred), Gotihawa (Kakusanda Buddha was born and attained Nirvana), Devdaha (capital of Koliya kingdom) and Ramagrama (out of the eight – astha dhatu was deposited and built a stupa by King Ramagrama. Lumbini is not only a sacred complex for Buddhists but also for Hindu as well as other religious people due to the peace land. The Government of Nepal is making arrangements to develop Lumbini as the land of Peace. It is very important as the teaching of Lord Buddha is meant for peace and harmony. Peace pagoda, peace bell, eternal peace light were constructed by the Japanese to symbolize Lumbni a Peace city. Various conferences, seminars are conducted in Lumbini on peace. The Cultural Centre of Lumbini is dedicated for World Peace. Purpose of visit or the motivation for travel is the main driving force that makes tourists move away from their home to a destination where they can get what they want. 60% of the tourists were interested in Buddha and Buddhism that’s why they moved to get their feet over the land where the Buddha was born i.e. pilgrims. Out of the 66 countries visiting Lumbini, Sri Lanka and Thailand have been at the top two countries, both representing Buddhism as religion of the majority. Number of tourists’ arrivals in Lumbini although decline in some years overall there is an upward trend. Tourist arrival in Lumbini according to various sources is as follows:
1964 - 1023 2004 - 47813
2000 - 46174 2005 - 51655
2001 - 35936 2006 - 62680
2002 - 26438 2007 - 71053
2003 - 39869
(Source: Tourist Information Centre)
To promote and enhance cultural Tourism a unique cultural organization named “Lumbini Cultural Buddha Bihara Greet Sadak Natak” has been formed to promote and conserve of local dance, singing, drama, painting, weaving, food, drinks, dress and ornaments of Lumbini area. (Giri, 2007). This organization attracted Tourists as they could get a glimpse of cultural values of Lumbini area. Promotion of Tourism in Lumbini Although Lumbini is the Buddha’s birth place and declared as a world heritage site and many pilgrims visit the place, it has not been developed to attract more tourists especially to stay in Lumbini and spend several days. Despite the presence of posh hotels in New Lumbini Village and transportation, both air and road facilities in Lumbini are yet to be an attractive tourist destination for many reasons. Main reason for this is the basic infrastructure facilities such as road, communication, water, electricity, hotels, restaurants, and trained guides are not available to meet the need. Even the concerned government authorities seem to have paid less attention to develop Lumbini as a major tourist and pilgrimage site. Today’s Lumbini is a small sleepy town in the South-Western Tarai plains where the ruins of the old city can still be seen. Excavation commenced by the Archaeological Department of Nepal has stopped halfway due to various reasons. These need to be carried out systematically and valuable archeological sites have to be preserved. The development of Lumbini and its surrounding area has been formulated in the Master Plan prepared by Prof. Kenzo Tange. The Master Plan is still the basis for all the development works being carried within the Master Plan area of 1 mile by 3 miles. Lumbini Development Trust was established in 1985 to implement the Lumbini Development Plan. The Master Plan that should have been fully implemented by 1995 is being implemented at a snail’s pace due mainly to lack of needed resources (Bhisnu Gautam 2007). Hari Kumari Rai of Lumbini development Trust had once said “if we implement the plan at the current pace, it won’t be materialized even in a period of 200 years”. However, once the Master Plan gets fully implemented, Lumbini will surely be an attraction for the tourists worldwide. Authorities such as Tourism Development Authority – Nepal should work hard to promote and publicize Lumbini and other sites of the area as major tourists and pilgrimage sites. Similarly efforts should be made to implement the Lumbini Master Plan as soon as possible so as to give a new look to the area and promote it as a number one tourist and pilgrimage site of Nepal. According to Bhishuni Gautam proper package programmes are needed for the development of Tourism in Lumbini. When the flow of tourists in Lumbini is not satisfactory Tourists rarely reach Kapilawastu, the site where the Palace of Suddhodana was located and other Buddhists sites of the area. Therefore, package programme could be a good tool to promote tourism in the area. At present Bhairahawa is the only domestic airport available to visit Lumbini. It’s facilities are minimal. From Bhairahawa to Lumbini there are about 19 km to go by road transport. The road is not satisfactory and that need to be improved to make travel comfortable for tourists. Construction of Lumbini International Airport would be an added attraction to tourists. So that foreign tourists can fly direct to Lumbini and spend few days there. Many of the tourists who arrive in Kathmandu do not include Lumbini in their destination programme. Also local tourism entrepreneurs and hoteliers of Lumbini & Bhairahawa have failed to take advantages from the tourists visiting Lumbini. Instead the entrepreneurs of bordering Indian cities like Sunauli have been benefited from them. “The tourists stay in the Indian Hotels of Sunauli and Gorakhpur and the guides ferry them here (Lumbini) in reserved buses in the day time. Such tourists who arrive here via India do not spend even a single night in Lumbini or Bhairahawa” (P. Neupane). This is due to non availability of required facilities for mass scale tourism and no encouragement by way of promotion of tourism in Lumbini. Lumbini University, Lumbini International Research Institute, Lumbini Museum etc. are additional attractions in Lumbini where tourists like to visit. Recently the government appointed a new Vice Chancellor for the Lumbini University and he is very keen to develop the University. It is encouraging to note that the leaders of Nepal; the King, Prime Ministers, Ministers, VIPP have made promises regarding making Lumbini a great tourism spot with its development and pushing for completion and implementation of its Master Plan. Recently on the occasion of 2554th birth anniversary of Lord Buddha the Speaker of the Interim Government Hon. Subash Chandra Nembang said “it is the historic place for world peace, we have not been able to do justice to this great place but from now onwards we will do what can be done to make this a place to grab the world’s attention”. However, it is believed by many that all these promises and commitments in the past were limited to their speeches only. In addition to the areas that we have discussed above Dr. Gitu Giri has identified following for the promotion of healthy tourism in Lumbini and its peripheral areas. Attraction Improvement Tourists should be informed all of the sites, viz. monasteries, meditation centers, museum, New Lumbini village etc., who visit properly at Mayadevi temple. A Lumbini festival should be organized on the occasion of Buddha Jayanthi in each year. Art reflects the accurate authentic evidences of the past life ways of the people. Museum plays a vital role to conduct exhibition, conservation and preservation of the art remains. In this situation, concerned architectural fragments, sculptures, paintings, photography, replicas of Buddha etc. should be collected and properly displayed in Lumbini Museum in the promotion of cultural tourism. Trained Tourist Guides Tourist-guides should be capable to interpret native languages of the guests, especially Thailand, South Korea, Japanese, Chinese and Cambodian languages. Such training should be conducted at local level and local people should be participated at these programmes.
Preservation of Aboriginal Culture
Local cultural activates like Biraha, music and dance should be organized. Tharu culture and life style among others should be preserved of Lumbini area. Hotel and local community groups should be aware for their cultural activities.
Awakening programs should be carried out organizing meeting, seminars, workshop and symposium to make conscious of their sacred monuments, sacred rituals, sacred functionaries, religious processions and festivals. Local people should be motivated that these are the potential source for the growth of tourism in the region.
Governmental and non-governmental organizations should also organize tourist awareness training programmes in the neighbour’s villages of Lumbini complex including and extending the programs to other places too. The youth of the locality should be trained to conduct tourist activities in future.
Thousands of local people as well as pilgrims come here for the purpose of tourism and daily activities. There is need a hospital with good doctors to provide health facilities to the local people and foreign delegates. The health service of International Buddhist society, Cross Flow and R K Project is not sufficient to cater to the need of the vast number of pilgrims.
Drinking water is directly provided from the boring-system. It is not purified with the use of proper chemicals and hence arsenic problem prevails. Purified water should be supplied using reservoir system after chemical treatment.
Toilet (Sanitation) facilities
Toilet facility should be provided near the temple, monastery and vihara to the visitors without charge. Otherwise open toilet-tradition will create great problem of pollution.
Art & Craft Products
The tradition of local art and crafts should be encouraged, i.e. basket and mat weaving, moulding the images of Buddha and local products should be supplied for sale in the market. It will encourage involving at the tourist activities to the local people.
Tourism Information centre
A tourism information centre, especially for the motivation to Lumbini, should be operated at Butwal, Bhairahawa Lumbini-road (Buddha-choka), Kathmandu, Narayangadha and other proper sites in Nepal and foreign countries.
Having been so popular Buddhist pilgrimage site cheap and reliable informative tourist materials, viz. pamphlets, booklets, cassette, maps, VCD, tape recorder and photographs are not available in proper sites. These materials should be made available to the tourists having interest in knowing in details about Lumbini.
Qualitative rickshaws and bicycles should be provided as preferred means of visiting sites at reasonable rate at this complex. Gautam Buddha Airport of Siddharthanagar should be upgraded in International Airport to increase the flow of tourists in Lumbini.
The authority should be careful for stopping the begging monks and beggars, controlling noise, cleaning the garbage and litters. Industries should not be established about 10 km east, north, south and west from the sacred complex of Lumbini. About 3 km on right and left side of Siddharthanagar to Taulihawa road should be strictly prohibited to establish polluted factories. It should be developed as a Peace Land of the world.
Co-ordination of concerned agencies
Lumbini Development Trust (LDT), District Development Committee (DDC), Village Development Committees (VDC) and other such agencies have carried out integrated programs for the development of Lumbini and its out skirts for long times. Their action plan and programs are duplication lack of proper co-ordination among them. As a whole co-ordination committee should be constituted among the governmental and non-governmental organizations not only for tourism but also social changes of Lumbini area.
Proper Advertisement and Management
Various requirements should be available to increase the number of tourists as well as to increase their length of stay. National and international mass media, viz. TV, VCD, Radio, Internet and e-mail facilities should be used to advertise of this Sacred Complex. Local groups and communities should be aware to mobilize local resources to promote all the pre-requisites for attraction of area in the international markets, LDT, local VDCs, DDC and STDC must be active to use natural and cultural heritages of Lumbini complex.
Promotion of other Religious Places
Mushrooming of New luxury hotels, other facilities and upgrading Bhairahawa Airport to an International Airport shows a positive sign that Buddhist Tourism is strong in Nepal.
Hence it is necessary to plan out to promote other areas rich in religious tourism in Nepal. In Kathmandu following Buddhist Tourism sites are very important and most of the tourists coming to Lumbini are not aware and hence do not visit such sites.
There are many important and historic Buddhist and Hindu sacred sites in Nepal other than those sites found in Lumbini. Some of them are Swayambunath Stupa, Bauddhanath Maha Chaitya, Anandakuti Vihar, Pasupathinath, Ashokan Stupa in Patan, and Sanakrit Vihar, Muni Vihar, Prasanshil Mahavihar Namabuddha in Bakthapur and Muktinath in Jomsom and some more Buddhist temples in Pokhara. They show the various Buddhist sects present in Nepal reflecting the rich history it owns.
Technically, Buddhist tourism is defined as the phenomenon in which the cultural, historical and ethnic components of a society or place are harnessed as resources to attract tourists, as well as develop a leisure and tourism industry. It is also argued that cultural modification contributes to the detraction of social customs, the alienation of residents and the creation of homogeneity between places. Sometimes many planners and developers warn that the economic attraction of tourism and the need to cater to tourists are key reasons for the “mythic reconstruction” of places and the falsification of histories and identities.
It has been widely accepted that when a cultural event is co-opted as a destination area by tourism, it becomes a consumer product. A number of important points must be raised to throw light on the wider context of the co modification process. First, communal assertions of identity, increasing local appreciation of heritage and civic awareness have contributed to a “new urban renaissance”. Changes in urban cultural landscapes are best understood as the outcome of multiple factors that interact with one another. It would be an oversight to consider local cultures as passive and proclaim that tourism is the most important agent of social change.
Second, heritage should not be considered as a relic, but as a dynamic and multi-purpose resource or a form of capital that has been moulded and transformed for diverse audiences. The modification process has helped to balance between visitors and the local community by fulfilling the needs of residents that could have been either marginalized or totally neglected. It has become possible for the heritage entrepreneur to serve multiple goals at the same time without alienating any particular group of people.
Buddhist tourism products are geared towards global audiences as well as home communities. It is imperative to explore the heritage development process as traversing (or attempting to traverse) the tourist-local divide. Buddhist tourism development takes varied forms in different places depending on the success of the planning authority or entrepreneur in bridging the tourist-local gap.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The potential for development of Buddhist tourism in Lumbini is enormous. Presently no constructive plan has been developed or aggressive campaign has been carried out to explore the available potential. The Government of Nepal needs to get the help of UNESCO and seek required resources to develop Lumbini as an attractive tourist destination.
The Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) has to play a pro-active role in promoting tourism in Lumbini as it is the legally constituted body that has the powers to do so. LDT should make all the necessary arrangements to implement the Lumbini Master Plan with the help of UNESCO and Donor agencies.
The International Committee for the development of Lumbini initiated after the visit of UN Secretary General U Thant in 1970, needs to be reactivated in order to accelerate the development process. Basic infrastructure facilities such as roads, electricity, water supply, communication, hotels and restaurants, trained guides have to be provided. It is also important to upgrade the existing Bhairahawa air port and improve connectivity with Lumbini.
Religious important places around Lumbini such as Kapilawastu, Devdaha, Ramagrama also need to be promoted among tourists so that they pro-long their pilgrimage by one –two days in Lumbini. Similarly other important places in Pokhara and Kathmandu also need to be included in the tour programmes. This can be done while keeping Lumbini as the centre of operation.
Aggressive publicity and promotion programmes have to be carried out by respective agencies within the country and overseas. Publicity materials need to be prepared in an manner and distribute among countries where tourists arrive most.
Tour packages to be developed taking Lumbini as the centre of excellence in religious tourism. Packages can include trekking, mountaineering, eco-tourism etc. Priority needs to be given to upmarket tourism.
 Paper presented by Thosapala Hewage Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Nepal on 02nd June 2010 at the Seminar organized on the Occasion of 2554 Buddha Jayanthi by the Buddhist Women Association Nepal .