India, Nepal discuss increased flight connectivity and tourism circuits

Kathmandu, Oct 9 (PTI): Nepal’s Culture and Civil Aviation Minister Yogesh Bhattarai met Indian Ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra on Thursday and discussed ways to promote tourism in both countries, including increased flights to remote locations and revival of historically important tourism circuits.

Kwatra, who was appointed India’s envoy to Nepal earlier this year, met Minister Bhattarai at the Tourism Office here on Friday.

Bhattarai told Kwatra that enhanced air connectivity would boost tourism in both countries. Nepal had earlier sent a letter to the Indian authorities regarding new air-gateways to Bhairahawa, Nepalgunj and Mahendranagar.

In the meeting on Friday, resumption of flights between Kathmandu and Indian cities — currently under suspension due to COVID-19 outbreak — was also discussed.

The two sides said ‘Ramayana Circuit’ concept must be implemented at the earliest, as part of which travel itineraries would cover historically important religious sites in India and Nepal.

Pashupatinath, Lumbini and Janakpur are religious tourism destinations of note which do not fall under the ‘Ramayana Circuit’, said Bhattarai, who also heads Nepal’s tourism ministry.

Ambassador Kwatra told the minister that the Indian government looks forward to developing religious sites in Nepal and pledged assistance to revive the tourism sector in the country which is hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

Sources said the meeting ended on a positive note but no final decision was taken.