World Bank organises stakeholders' meeting to promote Buddhist circuit

KATHMANDU: The World Bank office in India organised a meeting in New Delhi on Tuesday in a bid to bring Buddhist tourism stakeholders, including hoteliers and tour operators, to discuss ideas for promotion of Buddhist sites in Nepal, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as an integrated Buddhist Circuits destination.

Attending the meeting as an invitee from Nepal, Bikram Pandey, who has been promoting cross-border tourism between Nepal and India through Buddhist Circuits tourism, said that the World Bank must play the role of a go-between connecting the government and the Buddhist tourism sector.

Pandey also said that World Bank should safeguard the interest of private sector players by ensuring smooth and hassle-free development of Buddhist Circuits tourism across Buddha’s life sites and Buddhism belt.

At the meeting, Indian stakeholders spoke about difficulties and constraints that they have been facing in development of Buddhist Circuits tourism and also expressed frustrations at their government’s not so friendly attitude toward the industry.

One of the participants from India, Professor at Nalanda University Dr Ravindra Panth, said that Indian government’s contribution has not been enough to give Buddhist Circuits tourism the much-needed impetus and that it must be changed.

On the occasion, Senior Development Planner, Cultural Heritage and Inclusive Tourism Development, South Asia Region under World Bank, Stefania Abakerli assured that the World Bank would play the role of a facilitator between Buddhist Circuits tourism players and the respective government machineries.