Kolkata can be a gateway for Buddhist tourism in Asia, believe the experts at Tourism Summit – Destination East, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Friday.
Many top officials of airlines, trade promotion organisations and travel agencies agreed to the single point that the city has every potential to become a gateway of such tourism circuit, especially for its geographical locations.
However, expects are in a process to discuss the matter with the Bengal government. The state government left no stone unturned to woo the foreigners for its ambitious Buddhist trail project.
"Bengal is really best place for Buddhist tourism. I often suggest that Bengal is neighbouring state of Jharkhand, Bihar, Nepal and Bhutan, which is beneficial to the tourist to go to the Buddhist shrines," said Suresh Nair, general manager – India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, Air Asia Berhad.
Anil Mehta, the OSD Air India said, there are some operational problem in Bardogra Airport. "We'll start flight from Bagdogra airport in 2018, after such problems are fixed. However, Air India will introduce Kolkata-Bangkok flight in May," said Mehta.
Devendra Prakash, the managing director of Travel and Rentals Lufthansa City Centre said that Kolkata is well connected with the world. But direct flight to USA and UK will add more connectivity. "Yes Kolkata has every potential to become a gateway of Buddhist circuit. The South-east Asian nations are nearer to this city," he said.
Meanwhile, minister of state for Tourism department, Indranil Sen said: "Come to Bengal and experience the wonders of wonders, invest in a highly investable state, and if you encounter any problem and need any help, feel free to connect – things will be sorted out in time."
Indranil Sen also said: "I am available for all of you, all the time." 100-odd tourism stakeholders coming from as many as 33 countries, including US, UK, Germany, Australia, China, France, Denmark, Canada, Russia, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Belgium, Italy, UAE, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Peru, Sweden, Greece, Israel, Bulgaria, Thailand, Czech Republic, Oman, Italy, Portugal, Brazil, participated at the summit.