There is an urgent need to improve the various constraints that inhibit the growth of Buddhist tourism to India, which has most of the places connected with Lord Buddha. At the same time, caution is required to see that while awareness of the places increases, the infrastructure that comes up should suit the pilgrim traffic, and not cater to the luxury segment.
These were some of the major points that emerged on January 10 at a conference on the Roadmap on Living Buddhist Leadership, organized in Delhi by the International Chamber for Service Industry (ICSI).
The meeting was attended and addressed by several monks from India, Japan, and other countries.
The rendering of mantras by the holy men added a unique color to the deliberations, designed to build a framework for enhancing and facilitating inbound Buddhist pilgrims and the development of Buddhist tourism.
Dr. Gulshan Sharma, director general of ICSI, announced that to start with, 60 pilgrim executives will be trained in the Japanese language in order to take care of the visitors who come from the Land of the Rising Sun to India to see the many sites.
Later, this will be extended to the Korean language also, Dr. Sharma said.
Dr. Sangeeta Saxena from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that only five percent of the 8.03 million tourists who came to India were Buddhist pilgrims. She said capacity building and involving of the local communities was important.
Satyajeet Rajan, director general of the Ministry of Tourism listed some of the steps taken to promote Buddhist traffic.
Pran S. Dasan, chairman of the aviation group for ICSI, called for steps to see that connectivity is improved to Buddhist places.
Satinder Dhiman, president of ICSI, spoke on the salient features of Buddhism.