Akansha Pandey | New Delhi
This year thematic promotions under the Incredible India 2.0 campaign by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) will reiterate India as the “Land of Buddha.” To ensure a first-hand experience, the investors coming in for the Tourism Investor’s Meet (TIM) on July 4, 2018, in New Delhi will be hosted on a familiarisation trip to showcase the astounding beauty at iconic Buddhist sites in Ajanta (Maharashtra), Bodhgaya (Bihar) and Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh).
Leveraging the same, the 6th International Buddhist Conclave themed “Buddha Path – The Living Heritage” will be held from August 22-25, 2018 at New Delhi and Ajanta simultaneously. The international delegates arriving for this event from 21 countries will also be taken for site visits to Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda and Sarnath.
Targeting travellers from ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, the Incredible India roadshows in these nations (in Yangon, Ho Chin Minh, Phnom Penh and Bangkok) have already created a buzz and currently, MoT is in the process of making a promotional video targeting the concerned travellers.
“The world sees over 50 crore Buddhist travellers every year and India being the birthplace of Buddhism with a significant number of sites, receives 0.005% of Buddhist pilgrims. Recognising it as a low hanging fruit, MoT has planned to ensure better engagement with the travellers from these countries with our marketing campaigns. This will help get us a bigger pie of the Buddhist tourist arrivals,” said Rashmi Verma, Secretary, MoT and Chairperson, PATA India Chapter at the 7th Update and Outlook Meeting of PATA India Chapter today.
Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, MoT added that the Buddhist Travel Circuit in India is being developed further. Five projects worth Rs. 361.97 crore have been sanctioned to Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh under the Swadesh Darshan scheme. Last mile connectivity will also be ensured under this scheme.
The International Finance Corporation (World Bank) in collaboration with MoT and the State Governments and Tourism Departments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh have also developed a strategy of “Investing in Buddhist Circuit.”