Malaysia minister sees scope for Buddhist tourism in Vizag

Pakistan promoting Buddhism by developing Buddhist sites for tourism in five places in its country, he says

Visakhapatnam: Malaysia's deputy minister of tourism, arts and culture Datuk Seri Dr Santara said here on Wednesday that Vizag has vast scope to develop Buddhist tourism.

Tourists with such interest would come from Malaysia, Vietnam, China, Singapore, Japan and Thailand to visit ancient Buddhist monuments here, he said.

Santhara is a native of Nellore settled in Malaysia. Speaking to Deccan Chronicle here, Santara said he visited the port city's 2000-year-old Buddhist monuments at Thotlakonda and Ross Hills in the port area. “Pakistan is also promoting Buddhist tourism by developing such sites for tourism in five places there,” he noted.

“Vizag is similar to Malacca city in Malaysia. We shall sit down with chief minister Jagan Reddy and discuss possibilities for bilateral cooperation in tourism projects," Santhara said.

Santara said, “We have come to India with an eye on bilateral tourism promotion and we would like the involvement of four cities -- Vizag, Kolkata, Kochi and Tiruchirappalli.”

The Malaysian team has interacted with local tourism agencies, hoteliers and businessmen. At least 1000 tourists can be expected to visit Malaysia from AP through this roadshow, the minister said.

The Malaysian government has launched the roadshow for the second time this year after opening its international borders in April, post the Covid-linked halt.

The roadshow is being held in India from Wednesday to August 24, starting with Vizag. The first road show was organised in six cities in India from April 18 to 30.

A total of 7,35,309 Indian tourists visited Malaysia in 2019. This was an increase of 22 per cent compared to the previous year. Tourists can apply for e-visa online and Malaysia will allow vaccinated Indians without any Covid19 tests, he said.

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