Kathmandu/Lumbini, Dec. 3 -- Four and a half years after a devastating earthquake in April 2015 ravaged Nepal, the small hilly nation aims to reclaim its standing on the world tourism map with plans to attract Buddhist pilgrims from India, Bhutan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka, besides countries like Japan, with a spanking new international airport close to the birthplace of Buddha.

Potential economic spinoffs of the plan include new investments in tourism infrastructure such as hotels, which in turn is expected to spur employment generation in a country described as one of the poorest and slowest growing in Asia by the World Bank.

Christened the Gautam Buddha International Airport, the facility is being developed with financial assistance from...