COLOMBO: The Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) in partnership with the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) organized a 'Nepal Sanjh'(Nepal evening) with an objective of attracting investment and increasing the number of Sri Lankan tourists to Nepal.
On the occasion, Vice-chairman of the Sri Lankan Parliament, Chandima Birakodi, said that the friendly relation of the two countries would be made stronger through tourism.
He further said that a large number of tourists could be attracted from India, China and third countries by preparing an integrated tourism package from both the countries as Nepal is surrounded by Himalayas and Sri Lanka by sea, and expressed the confidence that it would help in the economic development of both the countries.
Similarly, Nepali Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Sushil Chandra Amatya, expressed the view that a large number of Buddhist tourists from Sri Lanka would attend the Visit Lumbini Year-2012 celebrations if there were direct air services between the two countries.
On the occasion, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Nepal, Thosapala Hewage, said that Sri Lanka has put tourism in high priority for the past three years and added that there are possibilities of developing Hindu and Buddhist tourism heritages of the two countries in a package.
Chairman of HAN, Shyam Sundar Kakshyapati, said that the private sector has stressed on promotional programmes after there was no development of tourism though there are sufficient possibilities of tourism promotion between Nepal and Sri Lanka.
He said that now around 60,000 Sri Lankan tourists visit Nepal annually and there is a target to increase the number of Sri Lankan tourists up to 100,000.
Acting CEO at the NTB, Subash Niroula, said that special programmes have been prepared in various forums including BIMSTEC and South Asian Tourism Society for the tourism promotion among SAARC countries and added that a decision will be taken at the earliest about maintaining direct air services between Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, said that now around 800,000 tourists visit Sri Lanka annually due to suitable policy of the government and has a target to increase the number of tourists up to 2.5 million by 2016.
General Secretary of HAN, Amarman Shakya, discussed on the possibilities of tourism development between the two countries. On the occasion, various cultural programmes depicting Nepali folk culture were presented.