Coimbatore: Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha will be made a major worldwide tourism destination with the Nepal Tourism Board organising a special event this year to popularise the pilgrimage centre.

"Visit Lumbini Year-2012' will be a special event organized by NTB to pay tribute to Buddha and to invite the world to work towards creating a peaceful society through his message of peace,", Dhruba Rai, Senior Manager, Corporation Service, NTB, said.

He said 2011 was celebrated as Nepal Tourism Year and recorded the highest number of tourist arrivals of  about seven lakh, 5.44 lakh by air alone, marking a 21.4 per cent increase over arrivals in 2010.

Rai said the 350 Million USD tourism sector in Nepal this is all set to keep the mementum going this year by adding more attractions to visitors from the across the globe.

Nepal received 1.50 lakh Indian tourists in 2011, a 39 per cent increase over last year, of which South India contributed almost 50 per cent, with special emphasis on pilgrimage tours, Rai said.

(Agencies)