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Nepal tourism's short cut

The world's shortest person Khagendra Thapa Magar had a heavy burden placed on his tiny shoulders on Friday. Utpal Parashar reports.

world Updated: Sep 25, 2010 01:11 IST
Utpal Parashar

The world's shortest person Khagendra Thapa Magar had a heavy burden placed on his tiny shoulders on Friday.

Nepal's tourism board hopes the 22 inch small 17-year-old will help the country attract one million tourists when it celebrates Nepal Tourism Year next year.

The ever-smiling Little Buddha was named brand ambassador for the ambitious task at a function held here. Nepal plans to double its number of foreign tourists from 500,000 to a million in 2011.

As cameras flashed, the boy from a remote village in Baglung district, 160 km west of Kathmandu, flexed his muscles to show he is ready for the task. "We will be taking him to important destinations across the world with the aim of luring tourists," said Prachanda Man Shrestha, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board.

As part of its international promotion campaign, Khagendra will fly to Tokyo later this month to urge tourists to visit Nepal in his barely audible voice. He is also expected to visit London, Paris and Singapore.

"Tourists will be told that both the world's highest mountain — Mount Everest and the world's shortest person will be ready to welcome them when they visit Nepal," said Shrestha. Khagendra's presence in most of the functions organised would depend on his physical abilities, he added.

The teenager who suffers from primordial dwarfism returned from a trip to New York and London where he hogged media limelight with his smile and comments about preferring leggy blondes. Khagendra has been named the world's shortest person by Ripley's Believe it or Not while Guinness Book of World Records who would confer the title after October 14 when he turns 18.