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Ambassador’s Remarks at Webinar on “Buddhist Circuit : Tourism in India”

Posted on: November 08, 2021 | Back | Print

It gives me great pleasure to address today’s webinar on “Buddhist Circuit” as part of our Embassy’s events to promote tourism to India.

I thank Vice Chairman of Vietnam National Administration for Tourism (VNAT), Mr. Ha Van Sieu for joining us. VNAT has always been an active partner in our efforts to promote tourism exchanges between India and Vietnam.

I also thank our Ministry of Tourism, the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha and the International Buddhist Confederation for their support in putting this event together.


Ladies and gentlemen,

The tourism sector was particularly hurt by travel restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19. 

And now, as countries around the world are taking steps to achieve post-pandemic socio-economic recovery, revival of tourism has emerged as a common objective for many of them, including India and Vietnam.

We are happy to inform you all that India has opened to tourism last month – from October 15th for group tourists arriving by charter flights.

And from next week – beginning November 15th, India will be open for all tourists arriving by sea and air routes. And the first 500,000 tourists will receive their visa free of charge!

In the new post-pandemic phase, there is of course a new travel and entry protocol based on vaccine certificates that would allow fully vaccinated foreign tourists to be able to visit India without any inconvenience, while at the same time ensuring that necessary precautions are taken.

The details of latest travel advisory to India are available at our Embassy’s website. 


Ladies and gentlemen,

It is in this context that we are particularly pleased to host today’s interaction to explore tourism promotion in the post-COVID era and highlight one of India’s key attractions for travelers from Vietnam – our shared Buddhist heritage.

The linkages between our two countries have deep historical and civilizational roots, going back over two thousand years. Buddhism is an important part of that connection. As many people from Vietnam wish to visit India to pay their homage to Lord Buddha, the Buddhist circuits in India offer a great platform to promote our tourism exchanges.

The Buddhist circuits showcase the rich Buddhist Heritage in India and highlight the major destinations associated with Lord Buddha’s life. They also take visitors to Buddhist heritage left behind by Lord Buddha’s disciples, including many modern monasteries.

Through today’s webinar, we would like to share with our audience not only about many of these destinations, but also new facilities that have been created to make it easier for foreign travelers to visit them.

Among these, most notably, is the new international airport at Kushinagar, which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India last month – on 20th of October. The new airport will connect this holy site with the entire world.

Like Bodhgaya, where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment; and like Sarnath, where he gave his first sermon to his disciples – Kushinagar has an important place on the global Buddhist map. It is where Lord Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, the end of his life.

In addition to air connectivity, Special Buddhist Circuit Tourist Trains have also been launched in India for a comfortable, safe and hassle-free tour of important places connected with the life of Lord Buddha.

Besides tourists, we also welcome monks and scholars from Vietnam to visit India for Buddhist studies. We already have a number of Vietnamese Buddhist scholars studying in India. We welcome more such scholars to our many centres of excellence such as the Nava Nalanda Maha-Vihara in Bihar.


Ladies and gentlemen,

The start of direct flights connecting major cities in India and Vietnam in late-2019 opened new avenues for tourism. They unfortunately got disrupted due to COVID-19.

We hope that the direct flights will resume once normal air connectivity is restored post-pandemic. They will have a multiplier effect in promoting diverse engagements between the two countries, not just in tourism, but also business, cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

To make travelling to India easier for foreign tourists, Government of India has recently launched a new official app for Indian visa called “Su-Swagatam”, which means “warmly welcome”. The app is a single window facilitation for foreign tourists – from getting Indian Visa to exploring Indian Culture, Heritage, Business Prospects, Medical treatment, Education, emergency services as well as Yoga and spiritual experiences in India. The link to the App is on our Embassy’s website.

India has also liberalized its e-visa regime in the last few years with a significant cut in the e-visa fees, which will greatly facilitate tourists from Vietnam visiting India.

For example, e-Tourist visa with one-month validity has been introduced with a visa fee of USD 25; fee for one-year e-Tourist visa has been reduced from USD 80 to USD 40; and the validity of regular e-visa with a fee of USD 80 has been increased from one year to 5 years, with multiple entries.

We hope that the travel companies from both India and Vietnam will seize these new opportunities to offer attractive packages to Vietnamese tourists visiting India.


Ladies and gentlemen,

Although the number of tourists between India and Vietnam has shown a considerable increase in recent years – nearly doubling between 2016 to 2019, it is still well below the potential when compared as a percentage of outbound tourists from both countries. There is, therefore, a huge untapped potential for growth of tourism between the two countries.

Besides Buddhist circuit, which is the focus of our today’s webinar, India offers geographical diversity, attractive beaches, hill-stations, numerous World Heritage Sites and bio-reserves. India’s diverse traditions, lifestyles, colorful fairs and festivals offer a vast variety of choices for tourists. Visitors can also experience a wealth of sports, cultural and leisure activities, such as yoga, meditation, river-rafting and skiing in the Himalayas. India is also an important health-care destination with world-class hospitals, modern medical equipment, qualified and experienced doctors.

As India and Vietnam prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic relations in 2022, we hope that our tourism exchanges will fully come out of shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic and reach new heights.

We also hope that today’s event will enhance cooperation in the field of tourism between travel companies in both our countries.

On our part, the Embassy of India in Hanoi, the Consulate General of India in Ho Chi Minh City and the India Tourism Office in Singapore stand ready to extend all help in facilitating further engagements and providing the crucial links between the two sides.

I wish the webinar all success.

Thank you.