Kathmandu, September 27

Stressing on need to build Nijgadh International Airport for economic growth of the country, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has said that the government will build the airport at any cost.

Addressing an event organised by Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) here today to mark the 39th World Tourism Day, Minister Adhikari said that the construction of Nijgadh airport will not be halted in the name of environment. “Our plans for second international airport will not be shelved, come what may.”

However, he said that the government is committed to build the mega project by inflicting minimal damage on the environment.

Giving an update on the construction of Pokhara airport and Gautama Buddha International Airport — which have been categorised as national pride projects — the minister informed that construction of the former will take around two years, while the latter should be completed within a year.

Emphasising on developing infrastructure to support and promote tourism, Minister Adhikari expressed his commitment to upgrade Tribhuvan International Airport at par with international level.

He also highlighted how contribution of tourism to the national economy could be increased from around three per cent at present to 10 per cent by 2030, with upgradation of tourism-related infrastructure, including the country’s airports.

Speaking at the programme, Deepak Raj Joshi, chief executive officer of NTB, emphasised on the need for maximum utilisation of digital platforms for various tourism purposes, such as increasing access, promoting destinations, explorations, bookings, e- banking transactions, among others.

Joshi further said the board is committed to bring two million tourists by 2020, as per the plans announced by the government earlier this year.

Similarly, three villages — Doramba of Ramechhap, Rainaskot of Lamjung and Murma of Mugu — were announced as model tourism villages of Nepal during the event today.