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Lumbini Tourist Numbers Drop Due to Rough Road Conditions

June 8, 2024
Lumbini Tourist Highway

The Lumbini Development Trust (LDT) has raised concerns about a decline in tourist arrivals at Lumbini, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They attribute this decrease to the poor condition of the Narayanghat-Butwal road, a key access route to the region.

Before 2019, Lumbini attracted well over a million domestic tourists annually. However, the COVID-19 pandemic brought tourism to a standstill for two years. While tourist numbers have begun to recover elsewhere in Nepal following the pandemic’s decline, Lumbini has only seen a modest rebound to around 600,000 visitors.

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Sanuraja Shakya, member secretary of the LDT, highlighted the Narayanghat-Butwal road as a significant barrier to tourism growth. He shared his own experience of a grueling 13-hour journey from Lumbini to Kathmandu on a business trip, emphasizing the urgent need for road improvements.

Shakya noted that despite significant investment in Lumbini’s infrastructure, tourists frequently complain about the arduous journey. He expressed hope that the completion of road works would significantly boost tourism not only for Lumbini but also for other western Nepal destinations.

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