The Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism Shri Sujit Banerjee has said that in a world that is becoming increasingly inter-independent with each passing year, tourism has emerged as one of the key areas for enhanced cooperation and mutual understanding amongst different nations. He was inaugurating UNWTO Symposium on Encouraging Tourism Exchange in India here today. The symposium was organized with an aim to advance strategic and global partnership between India and Japan in Tourism Sector. Shri Sujit Banerjee said, India and Japan are ancient civilizations and share a long history of religious, intellectual and cultural interactions. As important partners in Asia, both the countries aspire for strengthening peace and prosperity in the region through a shared commitment to the principles of democracy, rule of law, independent judiciary and free press. He said, Buddhism, which originated in India, was received by millions in Japan.
Shri Banerjee said, both the countries have similar family values, respect for elders and love for traditional arts. These similarities now also extend to other areas with both India and Japan occupying important positions, as growth centers of global economy. He said, the transformation of India-Japan relations to realize their true potential has long been the vision of our Prime Ministers.
Secretary Tourism noted with happiness that tourist arrivals from Japan to India is increasing steadily. He said, India received a total of 150732 tourists in 2008 and Japan is one of the top ten source market for India. He said, people-to-people exchanges have been further enhanced through joint collaboration in India’s revival of the Nalanda University as a regional centre of learning and the establishment of a Chair on Indian Studies at the University of Tokyo. During the recently concluded Buddhist Conclave held in Nalanda in Bihar, a delegation from Japan comprising Tour operators, Media members and Buddhist Scholars actively participated in the programme.
Shri Sujit Banerjee said, the Government has recently taken several initiatives to establish India as one of the lesading tourist destinations. These measures include, Visa on arrival, Wellness and Medical Tourism, Rural Tourism, providing more opportunities in Adventure Tourism, upgrading MICE facilities, Caravan Tourism and upgradation and modernisation of Infrastructural facilities and Airports. He urged the delegates participating in the symposium to create awareness about India in their country to serve a larger cause of creating brotherhood and mutual understanding amongst nations.
Shri Masashi Mizukami, Minister, Deuty Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in India, Mr. Yuichiro Honda – Chief UNWTO Regional Support Office for Asia and the Pacific & President of APTEC and Mr. Hiroshi Tabata – Director General, Regional Develmnt Dept, Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) along with 100 participants have attended the daylong symposium. Representatives from UNWTO, IATO, TAAI, TAFI, HAI, FHRAI and ATOAI also attended the sumposium.