New Delhi: Government is planning to extend Visa-on-Arrival facility to nationals from countries having sizable Buddhist population such as Thailand and Malayasia.
Inaugurating a two-day International Buddhist Conclave in Varanasi on Saturday, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai said his Ministry had also decided to develop a Ghat in the temple town in the name of Lord Buddha on the bank of river Ganga.
"India, being the land of origin of Buddhism, is the main attraction for Buddhist tourists from across the globe. We are drawing up plans to attract more tourists from Buddhist countries like Thailand and Malayasia by providing them special facilities like Visa-on-Arrival (VoA)," Sahai said.
Currently, India extends VoA facility to 11 countries including Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Myanmar.
Sahai said three circuits have been identified to be
developed as part of Buddhist Circuits during the 12th Five Year Plan.
The three circuits are (1) Dharmayatra or the sacred circuit, (2) retracing Buddha`s footsteps and (3) heritage trails covering all Buddhist sites including Gaya, Varanasi, Kushinagar, Bodhagaya, Patna, Piparva, Dharamshala, Ladakh, Spiti and Lumbini.
Referring to Keep India Clean Mission, he said efforts are on to keep clean the cities, particularly tourist places, across the country to attract maximum tourists.
The conclave is being held with a view to showcasing and projecting the Buddhist heritage of India. The delegates at the conclave include the international Buddhist scholars and tour operators.