Bhairahawa, May 19: The Buddhist International Travel Mart (BITM) 2023 has been concluded issuing 7 point Lumbini Declaration in the Birthplace of Lord Gautam Buddha. This second edition of BITM is jointly organized by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA), Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) in coordination with Nepal Association of Travel and Tour Agents (NATTA) and Lumbini Development Trust (LDT), whereas other tourism related organizations supported the event.
Committing to organize third edition of BITM on 2024 March 24, BITM 2023 the Lumbini Declaration was jointly declared. The 7-point Declaration consists of making Lumbini the starting point of Buddhist Circuit, to promote Lumbini as peace destination, to make connectivity arrangements in other Buddhist pilgrimage site, develop network between Buddhist sites and promote international pilgrimage package. Similarly, expand BITM to other holy destinations in Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Kushinagar in the Buddhist Circuit, create awareness by storytelling about newly constructed International Airports in Nepal ie Gautam Buddha International Airport in Bhairahawa and Pokhara International Airport was included.
According to Chief Executive Officer of NTB Dr Dhananjay Regmi, the Mart shall help in promoting Buddhist tourism internationally, brand and promote the local products in Lumbini, which should be established as annual program. He added that the buyers’ and sellers’ presence in Lumbini added value to the destination and tourism activities for Lumbini to become more dynamic.
Dean of Lumbini University Dr. Manikratna Shakya said that this level of international mart would help to promote the Buddhist philosophy. During the valediction ceremony, tourism expert Prof. Dr. Himlal Ghimire, NATTA President Ramesh Thapa, Senior Vice President of NATTA Mr. Pramod Dahal emphasized on making Lumbini the top destination of Nepal and bring dynamism to this place by bringing more and more tourists. Buddhist scholars at the program highlighted on forging cooperation between the followers of Buddhist countries to make tourism component more vibrant.
BITM was inaugurated by LDT Vice President Bikchu Matteya (Awadesh Kumar Tripathi) on Thursday May 11, 2023. The Mart had participation of more than 28 travel and tour companies from India, Malaysia, China, South Korea, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri-Lanka. There was exciting participation from various travel trade related associations, NTB officials, NATTA Lumbini Pradesh. There were also insightful presentations by various Buddhist scholars at the program.