The two-day International Buddhism Conference in Pakistan: History, Archaeology, Art and Architecture unveiled the potential of religious tourism in Pakistan in terms of promoting social cohesion and interfaith harmony.
Managing Director Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation and President of STFP, Aftab-ur-Rehman Rana chaired the 8th session on Potential of Religious Tourism in Pakistan at the two-day conference.
MD PTDC said “Pakistan is a holy land for millions of Buddhist devotees around the world because the it the birthplace of Mahayana Buddhism and many renowned Buddhist philosophers and Gurus were born in the areas which are part of preset KP Province. Pakistan is a land of great Buddhist heritage and there are millions of Buddhist who can be attracted to visit Pakistan. He said, we need to engage all the stakeholders to provide an ideal environment for the promotion of religious tourism especially for Buddhist religious tourism in Pakistan. He further emphasized that we need to especially involve local communities living in the vicinities of heritage sites through the sustainable heritage tourism in the protection and providing custodianship of the heritage sites. There is also a need to create a self-financing mechanism through tourism promotion to better protect and manage the heritage sites of Buddhism which have great potential for attracting religious tourism”.
During the session, topics like religious tourism, overcoming hindrances of religious tourism to enhance social cohesion in multi-religious settings, Potential of Religious Tourism in Pakistan with Special reference to Religious Heritage of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sri Lanka Image of “Taxila” in the Sri Lankan Folklore and Writing Context, Interfaith Dialogue and Peace Making in the Age of Globalization: A Necessity of Youth Involvement, Potential for cultural diplomacy of Gandhara were covered.
The two-day 2022 International Buddhism Conference and Art Festival for Promoting Social Cohesion and Interfaith Harmony was jointly organized by Silk Road Centre, International Institute of Central Asian Studies, Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad and Taxila Institute of Asian Civilizations with the support of PTDC, STFP, Serena and other organizations at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) Islamabad.
Both in-person and online panel sessions provided an opportunity to multiple presenters to speak on a common theme of the conference. Presentations by the panelists were followed by questions and answers. Together with research presentations, the conference hosted an art festival featuring exhibition of Gandhara art and craft. In this exhibition, local and international artists presented the outstanding beauty of Buddhist art through their artworks and visual stories. The artwork was on display throughout the conference.