I was delighted to participate and address at the 2nd International Buddhist Travel Mart(IBTM) & Convention, organised by Association of Buddhist Tour Operators (ABTO) at Bodhgaya on 10-12 dec.Supported by Ministry of Tourism and partnered by various International Tourism Organisations namely NATTA,FATA,International Buddhist Confederation,ATTA,ABTO-Bhutan,TOAB and Asoka Mission, the event was one of the largest congregations of delegates from 17 countries including Malaysia,Indonesia, Srilanka, Nepal, Bangla desh, Bhutan, Vietnam, Taiwan and Thailand, committed to Buddhist Tourism in India and the Asian Subcontinent.
IBTM proved to be an Excellent platform to showcase the Buddha Trail of India and to reinforce the fact ,to the world ,that India is the ‘Land of Buddha’
Buddhism is not just a religion but also a philosophy where teachings and values are affecting the cultural lives of people across the world. Buddhist Tourism is therefore of immense value to India not only from pilgrimage point of view, by attracting Buddhist travellers but also for its Heritage , Spiritual and Educational value, which can attract the Non- Buddhist International travellers from all over the globe.
Buddhist Tourism has no national boundaries and goes beyond Indian Buddhist Circuit. While Lumbini in Nepal, is of great importance , being the birth place of Lord Buddha, the spread of Buddha heritage has been far and wide in Asian Subcontinent. There is therefore a necessity of promoting Trans Border Buddhist tourism. A ‘Regional Buddhist Circuit’ with India as the focal centre and comprising SAARC and ASEAN countries could help in creating a regional hub of Buddhist tourism to attract travellers from rest of the world.
I also availed the opportunity of visiting the Sacred Mahabodhi Temple and offer prayers.