Hotel Shanker Lazimpat Kathmandu 44600 Nepal

Like every other nation, Nepal too has quite a few claims to fame. The major ones being—Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha, Mt. Everest, the highest peak in the world, and four world heritage sites (two that are cultural: Kathmandu Valley and Lumbini, and two that are natural: Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park). Other unique attractions of Nepal include its traditional Newari architecture (of dwellings, public places, and temples and stupas), outstanding arts and crafts (pau:bha painting, and wood, stone, and metal craft, including gold and silver jewelry), amazing ecological and cultural diversity, and eight of the fourteen highest peaks in the world. A more recent attraction is the Great Himalaya Trail, the world’s longest and highest trekking route. Of course, there are many, many other unique features of this beautiful Himalayan country, besides its important strategic placement between two of the world’s most highly populated countries, China and India, which are now also two of the biggest economies. China, I hear, is for all purposes the number one economy globally, if we are to take various parameters like population size, infrastructure, and manufacturing, as well as size of domestic market, exports, imports, and so on and so forth. Oh yes, the Chinese are now also very big in international tourism, which of course has to be something akin to manna from heaven for us, if just a small percentage were to set their eyes on visiting Nepal every once in a while. Now, Nepali culture is tremendously influenced by Hindu culture, religion being the mainstay, in addition to language, food, lifestyle, etc. Politics, too! But, Nepal is not prepared for making hay while the sun shines as far as Chinese tourism is concerned. I hear that they are really pleased that we are now part and parcel of their great leap of the new millennium—the One Belt One Road initiative—which will most probably make them an unbeatable force well into the next millennium. Now, it’s good that they are happy with us for our collaboration. This should help us in getting more empathy from this powerful neighbor. But, that’s just the PR, what about the sales strategy? I don’t know how many of you know this, but China has the largest number of Buddhists in the world. That’s right, the largest. Here’s what Wikkipedia says, “China is the country with the largest population of Buddhists, approximately 244 million, or 18.2% of its total population. They are mostly followers of Chinese schools of Mahayana, making this the largest body of Buddhist traditions. Mahayana, also practiced in broader East Asia, is followed by over half of world Buddhists.” Doesn’t this have fantastic implications for Nepal tourism? There can be no more devoted a tourist than the one who is on a spiritual path. Ask the hordes of pious Christians swarming year after year to Vatican City, or the millions of devout hajis making their way to Mecca, or the lakhs of Hindus braving rain, storm, and thunder, and yes, even terrorists, to reach Amarnath. And, how about Jerusalem, which is the place to visit at least once in a lifetime for Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike? Even Donald Trump, the man of the moment!