The ASEAN con­nect

TravTalk - India - - GUEST COLUMN -

This Repub­lic Day wit­nessed 10 heads of ASEAN coun­tries in at­ten­dance, who were also here for the ASEAN sum­mit— an op­por­tu­nity that saw In­dia dis­cussing var­i­ous poli­cies with these na­tions, in­clud­ing tourism. While more In­di­ans are trav­el­ling to these coun­tries in the past few years, they still make up only 3 per cent of vis­i­tors to the re­gion. The na­tions could come to­gether to fo­cus on build­ing the ASEAN tourism sec­tor to­gether. In fact, Buddhism is what con­nects all of them, es­pe­cially with In­dia be­ing the cen­tre of most Bud­dhist sites. Most of the ASEAN coun­tries have many fol­low­ers of Buddhism, who are po­ten­tial tourists for In­dia. In­dia’s MOT has al­ready put a Bud­dhist cir­cuit in plan, but in­fra­struc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity are still an is­sue. There is also the In­dia-Myan­mar-Thai­land (IMT) tri­lat­eral high­way un­der con­struc­tion, which would ex­tend from Moreh in North­east­ern In­dia to Mae Sot in Thai­land and is ex­pected to be com­pleted in 2020. While it might ad­dress the trav­el­ling woes be­tween these na­tions, Bud­dhist tourism still has a long way to flour­ish be­tween ASEAN.

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