Bodh Gaya - A spiritual journey

14:46 | 07/03/2022 Culture & Tourism

(VEN) - The Consulate General of India in Ho Chi Minh City organized a tourism B2B meeting with the theme ‘Bodh Gaya - A spiritual journey’ on March 4. The meeting aimed at looking at the phase of opening of both India and Vietnam for tourism purposes and to provide the stakeholders an opportunity to understand the facilities and possibilities in the Indian province of Bihar, home to a large number of Buddhist sites which attract many travelers from Vietnam.

Pranay Verma, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam shared information at the event

The online and offline meeting was attended by more than 120 delegates and representatives from Indian and Vietnamese tour operators.

Mr. Pranay Verma, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam talked about the strong bond existing between India and Vietnam due to the shared Buddhist heritage and advocated that India had many Buddhist tourist destinations for Vietnamese tourists. He remarked that there are still some restrictions on travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once people can travel, India has many facilities and activities to welcome Vietnamese travellers to India.

Mr. R. O. Sunil Babu, Consul/Head of Chancery, Consulate General of India in Ho Chi Minh City, shared with the participants about India’s current visa policy for Vietnamese travellers. He also expressed his optimism that India and Vietnam will resume tourism activities soon for the benefits of both countries.

Mr. Tran Phong Binh, Deputy Director General, Tourism Marketing Department, Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT), mentioned that from 2016 to 2018, the number of visitors from Vietnam to India has been doubled, from 16,728 to 31,427 visitors. The same goes for the number of visitors from India to Vietnam in the period of 2016 (85,126 visitors) to 2019 (168,998 visitors). It shows that the potential for tourism development between the two countries is huge.

At the event, Mr. G. Kamala Vardhana Rao, Director General, Ministry of Tourism of India, shared that one of the areas of mutual interest between India and Vietnam was places of Buddhist heritage. India has taken several steps to strengthen connectivity including constructing a new international airport at Kushinagar, highways connecting Buddhist places, and developing other tourism-friendly amenities. A number of cultural and other events have been planned to showcase Buddhist heritage and India looks forward to continuing to welcome Vietnamese visitors.

Nun Thích Nữ Huệ Đức, Abbess, Quan Âm Tu Viện Monastery, presented on the Buddhist heritages and their importance for Vietnamese pilgrims. The nun also shared her own experience while visiting the holy places in Bodh Gaya. Mr. Prabhakar, Director, Department of Tourism, Bihar updated the audience with an informative presentation on ‘Blissful Bihar’, in which he highlighted the current major tourist circuits in Bihar. Mr. Nangzey Dorjee, Member Secretary, Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee, provided a view on facilities for Buddhist tourists at Bodh Gaya.

Following the remarks session, about 25 companies from India and Vietnam joined the B2B session to discuss potential in tourism cooperation between both sides.

PV