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‘Infrastructure and connectivity is the key for the success of Buddhist tourism in India’

Dr Kaulesh Kumar, secretary general, Association of Buddhist Tour Operators - ABTO and convener International Buddhist Travel Mart (IBTM) 2018, shares his views on the potential of Buddhist tourism and the primary focus on IBTM. By Reema Lokesh

How would you define the evolution of Buddhist tourism in India?

As per the ex secretary Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India said that Buddhist Tourism is a Diamond Triangle, with unlimited scope. According to me if we can provide quality ground arrangement services, upgrade infrastructure, ensure effective marketing, then this niche area of tourism will only see unprecedented growth as part of a tourism product for inbound tourism.

What is the plan and mission of ABTO?

Our aim is to spread the voice of the potential of Buddhist tourism and we also aim to unite, preserve, conserve, protect and promote Buddhist monuments and culture around the world specially in Asia Pacific region. This is the aim and objective of ABTO.

How involved is the government to push the cause
forward?

Ministry of tourism, government of India, state tourism boards of India, countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Vietnam and national & international organisations like IATO, NATTA etc are always ready to support. Nepal Government is working proactively with us to further the cause of this niche tourism sector.

How will the initiative help local DMCs and operators?

ABTO is combination of stakeholders, scholars, monks, etc apart from DMCs. If we all work toward providing quality services then everyone will be benefited. ABTO will provide proper guideline/information for all to benefit from.

What are the primary challenges, which this circuit and niche tourism sector is facing?

Infrastructure and connectivity is the main problem in the circuit.

Can you throw some light on the upccoming convention?

Within three years ABTO is playing a very important role with the MoT, state tourism, national organisations like IATO, international organisations like NATTA, IBC, etc. ABTO delegates and members are all over in Asian countries but never meet in one place. Main aim of this convention is to bring all stakeholders on a common platform, under one umbrella. We all need to work in harmony to reach the ultimate goal of encouraging Buddhist tourism, both national and international.

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