India sets up tourism cell in Beijing

April 7th, 2008 - 7:18 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Ambika Soni

Beijing, April 7 (IANS) Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni Monday inaugurated a tourism cell in Beijing to promote travel initiatives between the two Asian countries. The Beijing tourism cell is the 14th overseas office of the ministry and is part of an action plan drawn up during the India-China Friendship Year 2007, a ministry statement here said.

Addressing the inaugural event, Soni said the India tourism office would increase people to people contact between the two countries and strengthen bilateral ties between India and China.

The flow of inbound tourists from China has almost tripled since 2003, from a mere 21,152 tourists annually to 62,330 in 2006.

Similarly, the outbound tourists to China almost doubled with 405,091 in 2006 as compared to 219,097 in 2003.

“The stakeholders in the tourism sector must explore the possibilities of making tourism innovative and affordable,” Soni said.

Economic, social and cultural ties between the two Asian tigers, which date back to ancient times, are blooming despite some contentious border disputes.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently visited Beijing and swivelled the spotlight to areas of cooperation. Tourism was one of the areas identified.

The tourism ministry has launched several tourism promotion programmes between India and China.

The highlights of the programmes include printing new tourism brochures in Chinese, setting up of a website in Chinese and India’s participation in the China International Travel Market held in Kunming November 2007.

As part of its destination promotion campaign, India has embarked on a massive branding exercise by advertisements in the outdoor media in China.

China had set up its national tourist office here August 2007.

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