5th International Buddhist Conclave begins in Varanasi-Sarnath

With a view to showcase and project the Buddhist heritage and pilgrim sites of India, the Ministry of Tourism is organising the ‘5th International Buddhist Conclave, from October 2 to 6, 2016, in Varanasi-Sarnath in collaboration with the state governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Conclave was inaugurated by Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Tourism & Culture on October 2 in New Delhi. Ministry of Tourism has received over 250 nominations from 38 countries such as Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USA and Vietnam for participation in the Conclave. This year’s International Buddhist Conclave is very special as ASEAN as a Guest of Honour partner and a large participation is expected from ASEAN Countries which are also major source markets for India in general and the Buddhist Heritage sites in particular. Participants in the Buddhist Conclave will include international Buddhist opinion makers, tour operators and media, as well as state governments and domestic tour operators promoting pilgrimages to the Buddhist sites in the country. The Conclave will include Presentations, Panel discussions, Business to Business Meetings between international and domestic tour operators and State Governments, an exhibition highlighting Buddhist attractions in India, as well as visits to important Buddhist sites in and around Varanasi, Sarnath and Bodhgaya. The event will give the participants an opportunity to interact, promote, package and sell pilgrimage itineraries to the Buddhist sites in the country, for overseas visitors. International Buddhist Conclaves have earlier been organized in New Delhi and Bodhgaya (February 2004); Nalanda and Bodhgaya (February 2010), Varanasi and Bodh Gaya (September 2012) and Bodhgaya – Varanasi (2014). The International Buddhist Conclave is also one of the initiatives being taken by India as its commitment as the land of origin of Buddhism and to improve the experience of pilgrims as well as tourists wishing to savor the essence of Buddhist heritage, at the Buddhist sites of the country. The Conclave will include presentations, panel discussion, business to business meetings between the international and domestic tour operators, an exhibition highlighting the Buddhist attractions in India, as well as visits to important Buddhist sites in and around Varanasi and Sarnath. State Governments will set up booths at the conference venue for interacting with the international delegates and for showcasing India’s Buddhist Heritage.The Conclave is expected to be a great success with the cooperation of State Governments of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.