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Minister Advocates Promotion of Religious Tourism

August 21, 2023

According to Dr. Ramesh Kumar Vankwani, Minister of State and Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Gandhara Tourism, ISLAMABAD has the potential to benefit greatly from the growth of religious tourism.

The recent Gandhara symposium, headlined “Cultural Diplomacy and Revival of Gandhara Civilization and Buddhist Heritage in Pakistan,” drew attendees from all over the Buddhist world, he said at a press conference here on Friday.

He claimed that by encouraging such pursuits, thousands of new employment may be generated in fields ranging from transportation to lodging. He further added that the positive image of Pakistan and the hospitality of the Pakistanis would be promoted through religious tourism.

He reported that representatives from 31 different countries had visited the Gandhara Centre to learn about the life of Gautama Buddha and that they had all left happy with what they had seen. Dr. Kumar remarked, “I hope people visit Pakistan so they can learn about its history.” I want to encourage people to visit Pakistan since that’s where Gautama Buddha’s narrative begins.

According to Dr. Kumar, Vietnam’s tourist industry is worth $30 billion annually, and a chartered flight to Pakistan has been offered to a Vietnamese group to promote tourism there. He stressed that the rise of tourism would lead to the end of terrorism and economic progress for the country.

“Everyone in Pakistan, from the government to the military to the private sector, must do their part.” Dr. Kumar said that the armed forces of Pakistan were responsible for the country’s continued survival. “The promotion of religious tourism is crucial for GDP growth, and tourism can play a significant role in the economy of the country.”

He added that the international “Gandhara Symposium” was a success and that it would promote peace, interfaith unity, and a welcoming atmosphere for travelers to Pakistan through religious tourism.

He mentioned that monks were shown a draft of the “Takshashila Declaration,” which attempted to find ways to boost interest in Gandharan art and tourism. Kumar stated that the website www.gandhara.gov.pk has been created to assist visitors interested in touring the Gandhara sites located in Pakistan. According to him, the portal will speed up the visa application procedure for visitors.

He claimed that the head of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had been instructed to encourage students at various universities to compose theses on Gandhara art.

He praised the HEC, saying it was instrumental in the success of the “Gandhara Symposium,” which attracted 500 institutions from across the world and 248 from Pakistan.

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