Union Tourism Minister Minister Shri Subodhkant Sahai will inaugurate the Second International Buddhist Conclave at Varanasi on September 29, 2012.
The conclave is being held with a view to showcasing and projecting the Buddhist Heritage of India. The Conclave invitees include the International Buddhist scholars, tour operators and media both domestic and international who actively promote Buddhist Tourism. The other states with Buddhist sites like Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha besides Bihar will be associated in the event. The Conclave is an important tourism marketing event designed to bring together international buyers from around the world particularly from the popular Buddhist destinations like Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, China etc. together, to interact, promote and sell, with the objective of increasing tourist arrivals to India and specifically to the Buddhist sites in different states.
About 130 Overseas guests including Buddhist Scholars/Tour Operators and Media representatives (mainstream media and travel journalists) from 30 countries including Australia, Belgium, Bhutan, Cambodia, Canada, China, France, Holland, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Phillipines, Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sri lanka,Taiwan,Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam will be attending the conclave. More than one hundred Indian Tour Operators, Scholars, Media personnel from 16 States/UTs will also be attending the Conclave.
The Conclave sessions include Technical sessions on Buddhism for scholars, and travel and Tourism sessions for the media and Tour operators. The delegates will also be taken for site visits to Bodh Gaya and Nalanda.
India has a rich Buddhist Heritage, with several important sites associated with the life of Lord Buddha, which are of great interest for followers of Buddhism the world over. Buddhism originated in India and has spread to almost all the countries of the world, with the population of Buddhists estimated to be around 350 million. Countries like China, Thailand, Cambodia have a high proportion of Buddhists in their population and the religion is also becoming quite widespread in America, Australia and United Kingdom. Other Southeast Asia countries like Japan. Thailand, Korea, China, Vietnam, Srilanka etc. have sizeable Buddhist population and are important source markets for India Tourism.
Buddhist sites in India include Bodhgaya, Nalanda, Rajgir and Vaishali in Bihar, Sarnath and Sravasti in Uttar Pradesh, Ajanta & Ellora in Maharashtra, Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh, Amaravati & Nagarjuna Konda in Andhra Pradesh and many more. There is a great potential for promoting tourism to these sites and efforts are being made to drive tourist traffic to the different sites.