Narendra Modi at Kushinagar LIVE Updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will today inaugurate 29 international airports and India’s third international airport in Kushinagar in the presence of Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and a 125-member delegation. Kushinagar is where Gautam Buddha reached Mahaparinirvana. The grand opening ceremony, which is seen as a key channel in the Buddhist circle to boost the influx of tourists, will be attended by UP Chief Minister Yoji Adityanath and a host of dignitaries, including ambassadors from about 15 countries to India. The airport will witness the arrival of its first international flight from Colombo with the president and a 125-member delegation accompanying him on board, including Buddhist monks and pilgrims on the occasion.

The airport will provide hassle-free movement of tourists to six Buddhist sites across Uttar Pradesh and North Bihar – Kushinagar, Sarnath, Shravasti, Kesaria Stupa, and Vaishali. Earlier, the entry point for Buddhist tourists was Kolkata, Delhi, Gaya and later Varanasi, which are located far from each other. Besides, due to the lack of aerial contact, it took time and most tourists could not complete the circuit in one go. However, with the opening of the airport, foreign tourists can complete the Hajj rituals in much less time.

Here are the latest updates:

• The international airport extends over an area of ​​590 acres and features world-class facilities. The eight-storey Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower built at a cost of Rs 17.5 crore is now fully operational at the airport, while the navigation system for safe landing and take-off of flights at the airport has also successfully passed trial.

• According to tourism industry experts, Kushinagar International Airport will give a boost to the development of Eastern UP as the aviation, tourism and hospitality industries boom.

• According to the available figures, Kushinagar received 8.98 lakh, 9.3 lakh, 9.7 lakh and 10.96 lakh tourists in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively, which decreased to 3.23 thousand tourists in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent closure. Similarly, Shravasti received 2.2 lakh, 2.58 lakh, 11.32 lakh and 12.71 lakh in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 respectively, which decreased to a mere 0.17 lakh in 2020.

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