India to strengthen measures to attract more Buddhist pilgrims

Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has said that despite India being the land of the Buddha, not many Buddhist pilgrims visit the country. Hence corrective measures need to be taken to address this issue, he said.

Despite India being endowed with rich Buddhist heritage, it attracts a very small percentage of Buddhist pilgrims, Patel said, while inaugurating a webinar on “Cross Border Tourism”.

Emphasising the point that it was important for all to ascertain the reasons for India receiving only a fraction of global Buddhists as tourists, Patel said corrective measures will be taken accordingly.

The Minister talked about the initiative of installing signages in international languages at important Buddhist sites in the country, including in the Chinese language. Such signages have been put up at five 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 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 air-travellers, resulting in boosting of domestic/international tourism and economic development of the region.

He added 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 webinar was organised by The Association of Buddhist Tour Operators, an association of dedicated inbound tour-operators engaged in promoting Buddhist tourism, with over 1,500 members in India and overseas.