Kathmandu, August 14:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to initiate a sub-regional tourism development project in the five South Asian states, including Nepal.

ADB and the five participating countries under the South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) held the inception workshop for the SASEC Tourism Development Project in Paro, Bhutan on July 26-27, according to a press release issued here by the ADB.

The workshop reviewed the progress of the SASEC Tourism Development Plan and identified areas for action towards achieving common goals and programmes. It also discussed the inception report and the preliminary findings of the technical assistance grant for the SASEC Tourism Development Project, adds the release.

The grant helps the countries jointly develop multi-country circuits associated with spiritual tourism and nature- and culture-based eco-tourism. It also helps assess the feasibility and design of a package of priority investments in tourism-related infrastructure and facilities in selected multi-country circuits that will result in increased arrivals and lengthened stay of tourists in the sub region.

ADB and the participating states will further refine a proposed investment package that will include sub regional circuits and the required infrastructure to be developed in the short, medium and long term period.

It will incorporate measures to ensure that local communities share the benefits of tou-rism growth, conserve fragile cultural and natural heritage, and maximum participation of private sector in managing to-urism infrastructure and assets.