Uttar Pradesh’s third international airport after Lucknow and Varanasi will be inaugurated at Kushinagar later this month. The inauguration is most likely on October 20 at the hands of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of Buddhist Tourism Summit in Varanasi, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh said that the airport is being opened keeping in mind the demand of the region, especially the Buddhist travel of citizens of South East Asia. Keeping in view the wide interest for Sites in the area.
A special delegation from Sri Lanka led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will arrive via a chartered flight to attend the opening ceremony. Singh said representatives of 13 countries with large Buddhist populations, including Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Nepal, would also be invited for the ceremony. Since the airport will primarily serve the Buddhist tourism circuit, a special invitation has been sent to 100 Buddhist monks for the opening ceremony.
While the inaugural flight will land from Colombo, other specific routes that will serve this airport are yet to be finalized, Singh said, adding that whether international or domestic – the decision will be based on airlines’ interest, tourist rush and applications. but will be taken. Received for sector-wise approval by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
“Things also depend on how the demand grows COVID-19 situation,” he said. From October 15, the government has also allowed e-tourist visas for chartered flights, while individual travelers on scheduled commercial flights can get visas from November 15. International tourist arrivals resumed after a long gap of 18 months. In view of the pandemic.
Officials said that since Kushinagar is strategically located near the Nepal border and also close to Bihar, the direct air route will turn it into an ideal destination for Buddhist pilgrims from across the country as well as the world. Kushinagar is an important historical site as Buddha is said to have attained Mahaparinirvana there. It is also the mid-point of the Buddhist circuit, which includes pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sravasti, Kapilvastu, Sarnath and Gaya.
The state will get two more international airports in the next few years. While the Jewar International Airport is expected to be ready by 2023, the Ayodhya International Airport aims to promote religious tourism.