Nepal is the country where Mount Everest, the highest mountain peak in the world, is located. Mountaineering and other types of adventure tourism and ecotourism are important attractions for visitors. The world heritage site Lumbini, birthplace of Gautama Buddha, is located in southern Nepal, and there are other important religious pilgrimage sites throughout the country.
According to statistics of 2012, there is slow growth rate of 9.8%. The number of tourists had increased by 21.4 percent in 2011, which was Nepal Tourism Year (NTY). According to statistics from Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), a total of 598,204 foreign tourists entered the country via aerial route in 2012. The government of Nepal declared 2011 to be Nepal Tourism Year, and hoped to attract one million foreign tourists to the country during that year. The tourist industry is seen as a way to alleviate poverty and achieve greater social equity in the country. The government of Nepal has also declared Lumbini Tourism Year 2012 to promote Lumbini - the birthplace of Lord Buddha.