Indian government to hold programmes in China to attract Chinese tourists

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India will organise a series of special events across China in 2015 as part of ‘Visit India Year’ programme to introduce its picturesque spots to Chinese tourists, who form a major chunk of global travellers.
There is a deep interest about India in China, but the number of Chinese visiting the country is minuscule, said India’s Ambassador to China Ashok K Kantha.
And the number of Indians travelling to China is also not up to the potential, Kantha told Communist Party’s official organ People’s Daily in an interview.
“Recognising this, we will be launching the ‘Visit India Year’ in China and the embassy of India in China is planning to hold a series of activities, not only in Beijing but also in different parts of China, to introduce India to our Chinese friends and promote tourism from China to India,” he said.
According to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the volume of international trips by Chinese travellers has grown from 10 million in 2000 to 83 million in 2012.
Their expenditure abroad has also climbed rapidly, increasing by 40 per cent from 2011 to 2012.
While 2015 will be the ‘Visit India Year’ in China, next year will be ‘Visit China Year’ as part of an understanding between the two countries reached during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India last year.
India has been making dedicated efforts to attract Chinese tourists as their numbers reached close to 100 million last year and raked up a revenue of $102 billion. Officials say visa policy has been liberalised to facilitate more visits.
Currently over five lakh Indians, mostly businessmen, visit China while nearly one lakh Chinese travel to India.
China has been promoting tourists from the country to visit Sri Lanka and the Maldives. In 2013, over 30 per cent of the million tourists in Maldives were stated to be Chinese.
Kantha, however, said India-China ties progressed in all spheres last year.
“When I look back at the year that has just gone by, I do feel a sense of satisfaction. I am also encouraged by these accomplishments to plan ahead for an even more successful year in 2015. We expect Prime Minister Modi to visit China this year,” he said.
He said 2014 was the ‘Year of Friendly Exchanges’ during which relationships enriched by a series of high-level visits which included Vice President Hamid Ansari’s trip to China followed by Xi’s India visit.
Kantha said Xi’s visit to India was a “high watermark for our engagement and took our exchanges to a new trajectory of cooperation.”
The Narendra Modi government has accorded the highest priority to bilateral relations.
“In fact, Prime Minister Modi and President Xi have already met three times in the last six months, and PM Modi has also met with Premier Li Keqiang in Myanmar,” said Kantha.
“We have strengthened our relationship in all areas, including at the political, economic and cultural levels. Our two countries have added new substance to our strategic and cooperative partnership.”
He said the two countries are also looking at broad-basing our economic partnership and are encouraging two-way flows of investments.
Several new areas of cooperation emerged during President Xi’s visit to India, including in railways and industrial parks.
“We have agreed on several other initiatives such as cooperation in the fields of smart cities, space, and civil nuclear energy. We have enhanced exchanges in the defence field at all levels. We have successfully concluded the ‘Hand-in-hand’ joint counter-terrorism exercises in November (2014),” he said.
“We would like to utilise the synergies that exist between our two countries. Chinese companies have comparative advantage in the areas of infrastructure and manufacturing.”
Referring to the planned investments of $20 billion in two Chinese industrial parks being set up in India, Katha said: “In India, the government believes that infrastructure and manufacturing have to be the major focus for the country to develop.”
He said Chinese companies should make use of the ‘Make in India’ campaign and invest there “both for our large domestic market and for exports, thus resulting in a win-win situation for both our countries.”
He said India also successfully held ‘Glimpses of India Festival’ in 14 cities of China.
Besides, India and China are also cooperating with each other in the multilateral context.
“One example I can give you in this regard is the decision to establish the BRICS-led New Development Bank,” he said.

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