India gets $20m ADB loan to develop Buddhist sites

Financial Express, Nov 19, 2009

Chennai, India -- India will receive a loan of $20 million from Asian Development Bank (ADB) for its tourism infrastructure development projects, which will improve key tourism sites in the country.

The creditline is specifically aimed at developing Buddhist sites in Sikkim. The state tourism will act as the executing agency. The project is likely to be completed by September 2014.

According to the project summary prepared by ADB, Sikkim has a good road connection to Bagdogra, a regional hub and an airport site with potential links to north Bangladesh, east Nepal, Bhutan, and other north-eastern states as it was part of the subregional Buddhist circuit and the Great Himalayan Trail. The state has been experiencing high tourism growth rates at an average of 15% per annum at the aggregate.

The Sikkim project involves access and on-site infrastructure and visitor facility improvements to Rumtek Buddhist monastery, nature-based tourism destination infrastructure and facilities including trail development, signages, sanitation improvements, other tourist facilities, and a subregional training institute to be specialised in ecotourism and mountaineering and related capacity building activities for public sector institutions and communities in tourism and heritage management.

Of late, efforts by Nepal, India and Bangladesh to take advantage of the tourism potential of their rich natural and cultural attractions, including many of the world’s major Buddhist sites, are getting support from the Asian Development Bank.