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Patna / New Delhi : The Union Tourism Ministry organised a Conference atn Bodhgaya in Gaya District in Bihar on October 5, 2021, to promote potential of Buddhist tourism.

The conference was attended by DG,  Ministry of Tourism, GoI, G Kamla Vardhan Rao; Director (Tourism),  Govt. of Bihar; District Magistrate (Gaya), and other officials of the Ministry of Tourism

The major objective of the conference was to present the efforts made and developments that have taken place in the Buddhist Circuit by the Government of India and to discuss the way forward for the promotion of Buddhist Tourism in India. This conference was part of Ministry of Tourism’s Buddhist Circuit Train FAM Tour from October  4 to October 8, 2021. The Buddhist Circuit Fam Tour started on  October 4, 2021,from Safdarjung Railway Station, Delh. It was Flagged off by Union Minister of State for Tourism & Defence Ajay Bhatt.

The delegates/participants included members of Indian Association of Tour Operator (IATO), Association of Domestic Tour Operator (ADTOI), and Association of Buddhist Tour Operators (ABTO). During the conference, major focus was given with regard to the infrastructure development including Air, Rail, and Road Connectivity.

It was emphasised that Gaya should be promoted as round the year destination for tourists of all ages including younger generation to visit Buddhist Sites and attractions. A presentation including the tourism products offered and government initiatives undertaken for development was made by Bihar Tourism. The  IRCTC made a presentation with regard to Buddhist Special Train and facilities being provide by IRCTC in the train which includes Mini Library.  Challenges &opportunities in respect of overall development and  promotion of Buddhist tourism were also discussed.

The FAM tour is from Delhi to Delhi covering the visit of prominent Buddhist sites and conferences at Bodhgaya and Varanasi. It will cover the visit of prominent Buddhist sites and conferences at Bodhgaya and Varanasi. The event is likely to be attended by around 125 delegates including tour operators, hoteliers, media, and officials of Ministry of Tourism and State Governments.

Union Ministry of Tourism, in collaboration with various Central ministries and State governments of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, is developing Buddhist circuit across the Buddhist destinations in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. The major verticals of development under the Buddhist circuit are Connectivity, Infrastructure and logistics, Cultural research, heritage and education, Public awareness, communication and outreach, according to a PIB release.

Under the above mentioned verticals, major interventions being undertaken are development of international airports at Kushinagar and Shravasti, operationalisation of RCS UDAN routes connecting Buddhist destinations, Development of Gaya Railway station, Construction of National and state highways connecting Buddhist destinations, Development of Bodhgaya under Iconic sites and Swadesh Darshan scheme, development of museums and heritage centre at Buddhist destinations,  digitisation and preservation of manuscripts at Buddhist Tibetan institutes, development of courses on Buddhism etc.