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Chinese Prez, Indian PM among different dignitaries invited to Int’l Buddhist meet

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KATHMANDU — The government has invited Chinese President Xi Jinping, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, among different dignitaries, to the International Buddhist Conference to be held here on May 19 and 20.

The Conference is being held in the Capital while the Buddha Jayanti commemorations would be held in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, on the occasion of the 2560th Buddha Jayanti or the birth commemoration of Lord Buddha, which falls on May 21 this year.

Other invited dignitaries include Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and Chief Minister of Indian state of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Begal, Tripura and Sikkim: Nitish Kumar, Akhilesh Yadav, Mamata Banerjee, Manik Sircar and Pawan Chamling respectively.

Ministers for culture and religious affairs from 13 countries – Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia and Israel – have also been invited.

Representatives and delegates of Buddhist organisations from 23 countries are attending the event. They include Buddhist organisations from the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, India, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan, Bhutan, South Korea, Laos, Mongolia, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Russia, Germany, France, Austria and Canada.

As many as 92 delegations at the governmental level and others from 21 countries have confirmed their participation so far, Bachchu Narayan Shrestha, Member Secretary of the Conference Organising Main Committee, said.

Meanwhile, preparations for the International Buddhist Conference being held for the first time on the occasion of the Buddha Jayanti have reached the final stage.

Although various conferences were held in the past coinciding with the Buddha Jayanti celebrations, this is the first time that a historic conference is being held under the chairmanship of executive chief of the country by inviting international representatives and renowned persons.

The government had begun preparations for the Conference from last year. Altogether 24 international working papers on Buddha and Buddhism including 18 by scholars and researchers from Nepal are to be presented in the Conference.

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli heads the 501-member International Buddhist Conference Organising and the 2560th Buddha Jayanti Celebration Main Committee.

The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation is the main organiser of the event.

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NAC aims to bring more tourists

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KATHMANDU — Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) — the national flag carrier which bought two wide-body aircrafts — is exploring new destinations in Europe, North America and South East Asia to bring in more tourists to the country.

The NAC, with the new destinations, expects to increase its business and carry 400,000 tourists on board the NAC planes to Nepal every year.

The NAC’s move is expected to serve largely for the government’s announcement to mark 2020 as Nepal Visit Year.

The NAC is also planning to procure narrow-body planes that would make regional flights while the wide-body planes would fly to the new international destinations.

For the new destinations, the NAC has appointed issue manager.

With the agreement, the NAC planes would make flights to 14 destinations in a week. If things go as planned, the NAC planes would fly to Narita and Tokyo in Japan, easing the tourists visiting Nepal from there.

After getting approval from Japan and South Korea for flights, the inclusion in the significant safety concern list by the EU to Nepal would remove automatically while the flights to South Korea shall open up the golden door for Nepal Airlines.

South Korea is regarded as the safest country in the world in terms of civil aviation. Likewise, the ICAO has already removed Nepal from its blacklist.

Furthermore, the NAC is preparing to operate flights to bring in tourists from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Similarly, Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Rabindra Adhikari has directed the NAC for announcing new business plans by targeting the Indian and Chinese tourists, realizing the crucial role of the national flag carrier to make the Nepal Visit Year 2020 a success.

“Top priority has been given to the NAC as it is the major basis to bring in tourists,” Minister Adhikari shared.

Likewise, Minister Adhikari shared that expansion of services and facilities of the Tribhuvan International Airport has been prioritized.

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