New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Kushinagar International Airport today. On the occasion of inauguration of Kushinagar International Airport, Uttar Pradesh, Ministry of Tourism has organised a two days’ conference titled “Tourism in Buddhist Circuit – A way forward” on 20th & 21st October 2021 at Kushinagar. The conference was inaugurated by the Union Minister for Tourism, Culture & DoNER Shri. G. Kishan Reddy in the august presence of Union Minister for Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia; Minister of State for Culture Arjun Ram Meghwal;Minister of State for Civil Aviation General (Retd.) V K Singh and Minister of State for External Affairs and Culture Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi. On this occasion Secretary Tourism, GoI Shri Arvind Singh; Director General of Ministry of Tourism Shri G K V Rao and other officials of the Ministry were also present. After inaugural session, an interactive session with the tourism stakeholders, media etc. was held which resulted in number of valuable suggestions from the stakeholders as well as the Ministers.
During his address Shri G Kishan Reddy highlighted the Buddhist circuit around Kushinagar, Sravasti, and Kapilvastu that is being developed as a part of the SWADESH Darshan scheme. He also spoke about several Buddhist circuit projects that have been undertaken in other parts of the country such as Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh which are already nearing completion. Union Minister also spoke about the high priority being given for the development of courses on Buddhism through various specialised institutes in India such as the Central Universities of Tibetan Studies, Sarnath, the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies, Leh, the Nava Nalanda MahaVihara, Nalanda, Bihar and the Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies, Arunachal Pradesh.
Talking about the efforts made by the Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi Shri Reddy added, “Our Prime Minister has taken it as his dharma to strengthen India’s ties with Buddhist countries and the inauguration of the Kushinagar international airport is another step that will facilitate the travel of Buddhist monks and pilgrims around the world to visit this revered site associated with Lord Buddha.”
Reddy said that Tourism is one of the sectors which was the first and worst affected by covid pandemic. However, signs of revival have been very encouraging especially in the hilly states. “Ministry of Tourism has started focusing on more infrastructure related initiatives. To provide relief to the tourism stakeholders, a loan scheme has been finalized and published under which the approved tour operators are eligible for a loan upto Rs. 10 lakh and approved guides (Regional Level guides as well as guides approved by state Government) will be eligible for loan of Rs. 1 Lakh”, Minister added. Shri Reddy further said that a comprehensive National Tourism policy is under consultation process and will be finalized very soon. He encouraged the stakeholders to participate in establishing the brand image of India as a holistic destination.