Kathmandu, August 3:

Buddhi Raj Bajracharya, minister for culture, tourism and civil aviation, while addressing the SAARC tourism ministers’ meeting held at Colombo, Sri Lanka, said that single visa system for SAARC countries will be beneficial in promoting the tourism industry in the region.

The meeting is organised jointly by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Sri Lanka (FCCISL) to promote tourism within the SAARC region. Tourism ministers and senior officials of the seven countries are taking part in the meeting. Bajracharya on the occasion said, “Organisation of joint familiarisation trips of tour operators, media and other concerned sectors specially from long-haul markets would certainly add an impetus to our collective endeavour.

If we are determined to implement the SAARC visa regime, SAARC currency and other procedural formalities in inspiring the movement of people from within and outside the region, we could head in the direction we desired.”

He urged the seven member bloc for a collective participation in major tourism fairs and exhibitions in order to back up the competitive advantages that the region inherits.

Anura Bandaranaike, Sri Lankan minister for tourism, industries and investment promotion, said that the purpose of the meeting was to continue efforts towards the development of tourism industry in South Asia.

The minister stressed on a long-felt need for increasing cooperation not only to promote tourism but also to project South Asia as an emerging and dynamic tourist destination.

Travel agents, inbound and out-bound tour operators, hoteliers, travel related and travel allied organisations from the SAARC countries also took part in the meeting.

They issued a joint communiqué after the meeting.