India, China to roll out red carpet for tourists

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Shanghai | Updated: Nov 16, 2014 9:40 AM

Prime Minister Narendra Modi played the perfect host and a guide to Chinese President Xi Jinping...

Li Jinzao (front row, third from left), Chairman of China National Tourism Administration with delegates at the opening ceremony of the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai.Photo: Utkarsh AnandLi Jinzao (front row, third from left), Chairman of China National Tourism Administration with delegates at the opening ceremony of the China International Travel Mart in Shanghai. Photo: Utkarsh Anand

Prime Minister Narendra Modi played the perfect host and a guide to Chinese President Xi Jinping as he showed the Chinese premier around at the Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad during the latter’s visit to India in September.

Buoyed by the experience, China too has geared up to welcome Indian tourists and has planned slew of measures to boost tourism opportunities.
With a special emphasis on India as a potential sector for its inbound tourism traffic, the China International Travel Mart (CITM) opened in Shanghai on Friday amid much fanfare.

The CITM, China’s biggest travel and tourism event, kicked off with participation of more than 100 nations, promoting various spots of tourism in their lands.

India emerged as a major point of discussion during the event as China National Tourist Office (CNTO) put its spotlight on developing bilateral tourism arrangements with India in order to promote tourism between the two neighbours.

The event marked forum discussions where deliberations took place to spot the areas which required attention of the stakeholders to develop relationship between the two countries and spur exchange of ideas through bilateral agreements on sectors like eduction, health, infrastructure and especially through tourism.

As a leading step towards achieving this goal, China will be promoting India as a tourism destination through the Indian government’s ‘Visit India’ campaign for 2015. India will reciprocate by promoting ‘Visit China’ campaign in 2016.

“We really want Indian tourists to visit China and see places like Shanghai, Beijing, Shanxi, Datong and many more spot they would find amazing variety of experiences,” Li Qianguo, CNTO head in India told The Indian Express.

China received around 6.8 lakh tourists from India in 2013. Li said that although this number is expected to rise by around 3-5 per cent this year, they would aim at a spurt of at least 10 per cent every year considering the potential of this sector.

“Promoting Indo-China relationship for tourism, we reckon, will be beneficial for both the countries and we are hopeful the new government will acknowledge the significance of developing relationships through tourism,” said Li on the sidelines of the event.

Li also said that China was training a cadre of English-speaking tourist guides to mitigate the communication related problems and have also identified places offering Indian cuisine, besides inviting tour operators and travel writers to experience China.
(The reporter was in Shanghai at the invitation of the CNTO.)

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