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India tempts more travellers from Viet Nam

HCM CITY — The Indian Consul General Abhay Thakur last week said there was good potential to make more direct flights between Viet Nam and India, and visa facilitation for Vietnamese travellers to the South Asian nation.

Speaking at the presentation Incredible India: Buddhist Destination on, Abhay Thakur, stressed Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's announcement during his visit to Viet Nam in October that the country would grant visas on arrival to nationals of Viet Nam, Cambodia, Laos and the Philippines from beginning of next year.

"There are at least 28,000 people travelling between India and Viet Nam every year, or about 540 travellers every week," Thakur said at the opening of the presentation, which was attended by leading tour operators, tourism and hospitality companies.

Thakur said there was a good chance direct flights would be increased to two or three times weekly between the two countries.

"It will make it easier for Vietnamese to travel to India," he said.

Currently, AirAsia, Thai Airways International and Malaysia Airlines fly between Viet Nam and India via their hubs in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur.

Buddhist train tour

At the presentation, Nalin Shinghal, director of tourism and marketing at the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation, introduced the Mahaparinirvana Buddhist circuit train package in India to attract more Vietnamese to visit India's Buddhist sites, as the country is a major Buddhist pilgrimage destination.

Shinghal said the tour starts in Delhi and takes in major Buddhist sites including Bodh Gaya where Buddha attained enlightenment and Sarnath where Buddha preached his first sermon.

The eight-day tour by train also visits Lumbini in Nepal where Buddha was born and Rajgir where the first Buddhist Council was held after Buddha attained Nirvana.

There will be two train package tours every month until March next year, Shinghal said.

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