|Why BIMST-EC is so important to us ?|
BIMSTEC is the only inter-regional organization in Asia which connects the countries of South Asia and South East Asia together. Predominantly inhabited by Buddhists, BIMSTEC nations have legacy of Buddha connected to them in one way or the other. Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan and Sri Lanka have majority of people following Buddhism where as Nepal and India have Catumahasthana, the four great places (of birth, enlightenment, sermon and mahaparinirvana ) related to the life of Lord Buddha. Bangladesh has world heritage site dedicated to Buddha known as Prathapura. Every Buddhist living in this part of the world always nourishes a dream to visit the places where Buddha was born, accomplished enlightenment, given first sermon and attained Mahaparinirvana. Lord Buddha himself told his disciple Anand that his followers would visit these places after he attained Mahaparinirvana. The very concept of BIMSTEC brings the people of these countries together to follow the for noble path shown by Lord Buddha. Another importance of BIMSTEC is that it has realized the tourism potentiality of this region and has adopted a policy to address it by cumulative effort of all countries. Besides Buddhism there are many things that BIMSTEC nations share. The King of Thailand himself believes that King Janaka of ancient city of Mithila which is in Nepal is his ancestor. He has a book on benevolent King Janaka and has been translated in many languages including English and Nepali. All BIMSTEC countries inherit the same cultural, social and historical values that have had great impact on their citizens. That's why BIMSTEC is so important to all of us who believe that Buddhism is not only a religion but it is a way of life for all of us, and it is a part of our life, and we value it more than anything else in our life.
Why BIMSTEC is so important for this region ?
BIMSTEC’s objectives stretch from creation of economic and social prosperity based on equality, to enhancement of mutual benefits in economic, social and technological aspects. They also involve intra-regional assistance in the form of training, research and development as well as beneficial cooperation in the areas of agriculture, industry, expansion of trade and investment, improvement in communication and transport, for the purpose of improving living standards and cooperation with other international organisations.
During the Round Table and Workshop of Tourism Ministers of BIMST-EC countries held in Kolkata, India on February 21-23, 2005, a plan of action was drawn. As per the Plan of Action, it was agreed that a Tour Package would be developed involving two or more countries and the member countries would explore synergies between SASEC and BIMSTEC in the tourism sector. Apart from economic cooperation, BIMSTEC also seeks to make tourism a tool to benefit rural and poor communities.
At the end of Round Table and Workshop of Tourism Ministers of BIMST-EC countries on February 23, 2005 at Kolkata, India, Tourism Ministers and representatives of India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Bhutan signed Kolkata Declaration on Tourism Cooperation. The Declaration says that all member countries
Agree to utilize the BIMSTEC for providing a fresh impetus to further development of tourism within the region;
Recognize that the future development of tourism in this region will largely depend upon the closer cooperation in transport network i.e. by air, land and water;
Agree to reap the maximum advantage from the plethora of heritage, cultural, adventure, eco-tourism and MICE tourism product that our countries have to offer in a sustainable manner;
Agree to devise attractive and cost-effective thematic, tour Packages connecting different tourists destinations among the BIMSTEC member countries;
Note that simplification of immigration procedures and other frontier fon11nlities shall facilitate faster movement of people in a hassle free manner ;
Agree to draw up a compendium of rccognized tour operators and hotel facilities available in our countries;
Agree to share our "best
practices" on tourism related activities that are currently in
vogue in our respective countries.