‘India is the seat of Spiritual Tourism’
Saranath (PIB-GR-TYP-BIN): The International Buddhist Conclave-2016, which was officially inaugurated on 02nd October, 2016 in New Delhi, opened its sessions in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, the heartland of Buddhist pilgrimage on Oct 5.
The opening session was addressed by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism & Culture. Mr. Om Prakash, Tourism Minister, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, Tourism Secretary Mr. Vinod Zutshi, Mr. Navneet Sehgal, Principal Secretary, UP Tourism and Commissioner Varanasi. H.E. Assoc. Professor Chavanee Tongroach, Vice Minister of Tourism & Sports, Govt. of the Kingdom of Thailand, Mr. Macio Favilla, Executive Director, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) and Mayor of Varanasi amongst others attended the opening session of the conclave.
Delivering his opening remarks, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said, “India is the seat of Spiritual Tourism and that Government of India & Government of Uttar Pradesh are committed to develop the Buddhist Circuits. He also stated that Sarnath will be made the hub of Buddhist Tourism in India and efforts will be made to bring in Air, Rail and Road connections from Sarnath to various Buddhist sites in India”.
Dr. Sharma further outlined the Ministry of Tourism’s investment in tourism infrastructure for development of Buddhist Circuit in India under its Swadesh Darshan Scheme and stated that an amount of Rs. 132.17 crore have been sanctioned till date. He further added that for Uttar Pradesh, the Ministry of Tourism is in the verge of sanctioning an amount of Rs.99.97 crore this year for infrastructure development of Buddhist Circuit covering Saravasti, Kapilvastu, Kushinagar.
Welcoming the delegates and participants, the Tourism Secretary Mr. Vinod Zutshi said that this is the first time when the International Buddhist Conclave is being organized in the premises of Sarnath. He further added that India is prepared for developing a trans border Buddhist Circuit across ASEAN & SAARC countries to enhance movement of Buddhist pilgrims in the region from remaining parts of the world.