New Zealand supports eco-tourism development in Afghanistan

April 4th, 2008 - 4:20 pm ICT by admin  

Wellington, April 4 (Xinhua) Prime Minister Helen Clark said Friday New Zealand would support an eco-tourism project in Bamyan province in Afghanistan over the next three years. Clark made the announcement at the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania, where the alliance leaders discussed international support for Afghanistan’s rebuilding.

The ancient Bamyan Buddhas and the renowned Bandi-e Amir lakes in Bamyan have great tourism potential, with the Bamyan Valley already recognized as a World Heritage Site.

“Tourism is an important avenue for development in Bamyan. This project complements the health, education, and other development projects which New Zealand is already actively involved with in Afghanistan,” Clark said in a press release.

“New Zealand has a special connection with Bamyan through the New Zealand reconstruction team which is stationed there, and our development assistance programme in Afghanistan is focused there,” Clark said.

To cover this project, investment by New Zealand’s international development agency NZAID in Bamyan will increase by one million NZ dollars ($0.78 million) in the next financial year. The total funding for the project will amount to 1.7 million NZ dollars over three years.

The eco-tourism project will be undertaken by the Aga Khan Foundation and the provincial government who are long-term partners of NZAID in Afghanistan.

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