India starts tourism cell to lure Chinese travellers

April 7th, 2008 - 9:25 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Ambika Soni
(Supercedes earlier version)

Beijing, April 7 (IANS) India Monday started a tourism cell in Beijing to promote travel by Chinese travellers, whose numbers have nearly tripled between 2003 and 2006. Indian Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni inaugurated the Beijing tourism cell, which is the 14th overseas office of the ministry, a ministry statement said.

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

Similarly, the number of Indian tourists to China has also doubled to 405,091 in 2006 as compared to 219,097 in 2003.

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

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

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

The highlights of the campaign 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 in November 2007.

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.

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