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Thursday, 23 August, 2018, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

Both Tourism & Buddhism are about people and empowerment: President of India

Sixth International Buddhist Conclave 2018 gets underway in Delhi
Inaugurating the 6th biennial International Buddhist Conclave in Delhi organised by the Union Ministry of Tourism (MoT), President of India, Ram Nath Kovind said that both Tourism and Buddhism are about people, and their empowerment and can go hand in hand. The President said that the business potential of tourism is immense across the world and its capacity to generate employment is also proven till the local community level. Similarly, Buddhism is also about people and their empowerment.

Appreciating the efforts of the government in developing infrastructure around the Buddhist sites, the President said the government has sanctioned projects worth INR 350 crore to improve facilities across Buddhist destinations spread in states like Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc. He also highlighted the cooperative projects taking place with JICA and World Bank Group, etc.

However, the President said that there are still lot of issues to be overcome. There are issues related to market research, limited interpretation of history and its narration, and last mile connectivity.

The President unveiled a dedicated website developed by MoT to promote Buddhist Tourism (inddiathelandofbuddha.in) and a new video film – India the land of Buddha – for international promotions.

Over 200 delegates including researchers, monks, and opinion-makers from 30 countries are participating in the Conclave.  The delegates will be taken to Ajanta in Maharashtra, and Buddhist spots in Bihar and UP, as part of the familiarisation tours.

Earlier, addressing the delegates, India’s Tourism Minister, KJ Alphons said that Buddhism and Lord Buddha’s teachings based on peace, harmony and brotherhood are more relevant today, and sites associated with his life will continue to motivate and inspire people.  The objective of the conclave is to encourage people to people contact and bring countries which share common culture and heritage closer and promote better understanding.

Japan is the Partner Country in this year’s International Buddhist conclave. Kenji Hiramatsu, Ambassador of Japan to India, in his address highlighted the strong and long-lasting relationships between the two countries, and said that Buddhism is one of the important foundations of that relationship. He mentioned the support the Japan government and its agencies are according in the preservation and development of Buddhist sites in India.  However, the Japanese Ambassador said that these good relationships are yet to convert into real numbers in travel and tourism exchanges between the two countries.  He said that the Joint Working Group in Tourism between the two countries has resolved to increase the numbers to 7 lakh tourists by 2020.
 
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