“Cross Border Tourism” Promoting Buddhist Pilgrimages

Highlighting the need for corrective measures, Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has pointed out that despite India being a land of Buddha, not many Buddhist pilgrims come here.

Listing important sites in the country connected to the life of Lord Budhha, Patel said Buddhism has a large following across the world.

However, India being the ‘Land of Buddha’ and endowed with rich Buddhist heritage attracts a very small percentage of Buddhist pilgrims, Patel said while inaugurating the webinar on “Cross Border Tourism”.

Organised by the Association of Buddhist Tour Operators, participants in the online event included representatives from the UN Peacekeeping Forces Council, Travel and Hospitality Associations of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam amongst others.

The Tourism Ministry has taken several initiatives for the development and promotion of Buddhist sites in the country.

Stressing upon the point that it was important for all to ascertain the reasons for India receiving a fraction of global Buddhists as tourist/Pilgrims and take corrective measures accordingly.

The Minister also shared the initiative of having signage in international languages at important Buddhist sites in the country including signages in Chinese language that have been put up at 5 Buddhist sites / monuments in Uttar Pradesh including Sarnath, Kushinagar and Sravasti.

Similarly, since Sanchi receives a large number of tourists from Sri Lanka, signages in Sinhalese language have been put up at the Sanchi Monuments.

Patel also highlighted the decision of the Centre to declare the Kushinagar Airport in Uttar Pradesh as an International Airport which will offer better connectivity to the air-travellers resulting in boosting of domestic/international tourism and economic development of the region.

He further informed that the Ministry of Tourism, under its various schemes has taken several initiatives for the development and promotion of Buddhist sites in the country.

The Association of Buddhist Tour Operators is the association of dedicated inbound tour-operators engaged in promoting Buddhist tourism, with over 1500 members in India and Overseas.