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 Nepal News:  Press Release from Nepal Tourism Board  01/24/02

January is the most exciting month for the people of Nepal from the viewpoint of series of visit by the high level dignitaries of the world. United State's Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell paid an official visit to Nepal in January 18-19, 2002 awarding an opportunity to bolster Nepal-USA relation to a new height. The visit is the highest-level official visit from the US, since the initiation of diplomatic ties between Nepal and the United States of America. During the official discussion and in his press Conference, Mr. Powell categorically mentioned about "revising the existing travel advisory issued by the State Department " for increasing the American travelers to Nepal. This is considered as a positive note by all the travel trade entrepreneurs of Nepal.

Likewise, Former Japanese Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto, in his trip to Nepal during January 14-17, 2002, found "Nepal peaceful and secured despite some sporadic incidents reported in remote parts. He hopes that the number of tourists may increase in the coming days". During his visit he also said, "the people from other countries may feel that Nepal is threatened by the activities of the Maoists, but I personally did not feel so. I have realized that the situation in not that dangerous as said by the press in Japan".

As part of a mega event the eleventh South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Summit concluded in Kathmandu on 6th January 2002, with a 56 Point Declaration on various bilateral and regional issues. Most of the heads of state or the government spared their invaluable time by incorporating the compliments as part of their deliberation on Nepal's beauty, renowned hospitality of its people, cultural and natural splendor.

The President of the Republic of Maldives, His Excellency Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom who has been consistently attending SAARC Summit since its inception appreciated the beauty of the city of this Himalayan Kingdom for its "magnificent surroundings". In a course of his deliberation, he said "it is always a great pleasure to visit Nepal, a land renowned for hospitality of its people, and famed for its natural splendor."

The Prime Minister of Bangladesh Begum Khaleda Zia was so impressed with the serenity surrounding the great Himalayas that she wishes to return Nepal some other day too. In her speech she said "the serene majesty of Himalayas serves, as always, to inspire and stimulate our creative impulse, I hope that within this special ambience, the spirit of SAARC will be renewed and revitalized."

Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee said, "It is an uplifting experience for me to be here in this charming city of Kathmandu, the earthly abode of the Lord Pashupatinath, and in a country with which India is linked by geography, kinship, tradition and culture."

Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf said, he was 'truly charmed' with the beauty of this land. "Now I know why the founding fathers of SAARC chose Kathmandu for its secretariat".

It is a great achievement for Nepal to successfully host the summit and the high level dignitaries from across the world at this crucial juncture when global travel and tourism is in slowdown. This would certainly pave the way for creating a positive image about Nepal at the eve of approaching high season for tourist. Travel trade entrepreneurs are looking enthusiastic about impression that the summit and the visit have awarded in creating an exotic destination image of Nepal.

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