India tourism, has stepped up its ‘Incredible India‘ campaign to woo Chinese tourists amid projection that over 54 million Chinese were expected to travel abroad this year to spend an estimated $6.86 billion.
The Annual Report of China Outbound Tourism Development 2009-2010, released by the China Tourism Academy, estimated that 54 million tourists would go abroad this year, up from 47 million in 2009.
They are expected to spend $6.86 billion overseas which is up by 14 per cent from a year earlier, the report carried by official China Daily said.
“The outbound travel market of the Chinese mainland will remain brisk this year, continuing to contribute to the recovery of the world economy and helping to offset China’s trade surplus,” said Jiang Yiyi, director of the academy’s international tourism development institute.
“We are running a vigorous campaign with dances and cultural events all over China projecting India as tourists destination. It is in many ways paying off,” Shoeb Samad, Beijing-based Director of India Tourism told media.
“We are expecting the numbers to go up well this year,” he said. The number of Chinese tourists arriving in India has gone from 21,152 in 2003 to 98,724 in 2008. Over 1,02,509 visas were issued in China region and much of it is believed to be for tourism, he said.
The campaign has led to increasing numbers of Chinese girls and boys taking up Indian dance and yoga at the India Cultural Centre here. A series of such programmes were inaugurated by Indian Ambassador to Beijing S Jaishankar here.
As a result, increasing number of airlines are operating flights between China and various Indian destinations, including Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai, Samad said.
India is a natural destination for Chinese travellers looking for a spiritually gratifying experience.
“Buddhism is a strong focus of our promotional efforts. It’s a significant commonality that unifies India and China,” Samad said.
Pilgrimage to historical destinations, such as Sanchi, and Budh Gaya, are high on the list for Chinese tourists along with India’s most famed tourist sight, the Taj Mahal in Agra, he said.
He said many Chinese businessmen combine their trips to India with leisure. Given these enticements among others, Chinese travellers are increasingly opting to see India, he said.