Central Maharashtra town of Aurangabad, where the world famous Ajanta-Ellora caves are located, will host the country’s first SAARC Tourism Summit that will explore opportunities in tourism promotion.
The two-day meet will be organised in the second week of October. The summit is also aimed at tapping FDI under ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in Maharashtra’ schemes, a senior official said in Mumbai on July 5.
“The Ajanta-Ellora caves have always remained the biggest tourism attraction in the State among foreigners and Indians. The historical silk route and connect of the place with the Buddhist circuit across world, including China, is significant. These are reasons for Aurangabad to be the preferred choice (of tourists) in Maharashtra,” the State’s Tourism and Culture Principal Secretary, Valsa Nair Singh, said in a release in Mumbai.
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On the first day, she said officials from SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries – Nepal, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – will attend the conference.
On the second day, the Tourism Ministers from these countries and from Indian States would participate, she added.
“The coming two years are very important for the progress and prosperity of the tourism sector. 2017 will be celebrated as ‘Visit Maharashtra Year’ and in 2018, we will be celebrating completion of 200 years of the discovery of the world heritage Ajanta Caves by British officer John Smith.”
Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation is also planning to set up a Buddhist Centre on its 900-acre land at Ellora during the summit, she said.