Cashing in on the tourist inflow in Beijing during the Olympics, India has planned a month-long Incredible India campaign, showcasing the country's rich heritage and culture, which will be highlighted in crucial subways and junctions of the Chinese capital.
As the Beijing 2008 Olympics provide a great opportunity to promote India as tourist destination worldwide, the tourism ministry said on Thursday the Indian Tourism Office in Beijing would launch a range of promotional activities though the month.
Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni had inaugurated the tourism office in Beijing, the 14th overseas office of the ministry, April 7 in accordance with an agreement as part of India-China Friendship Year celebrations during 2007.
A China National Tourist Office was also set up in New Delhi last year.
In the month-long advertising campaign in Beijing, specially designed and illuminated images and creative works would be showcased, said a statement issued in New Delhi.
Advertisements would also be placed in major newspapers including the China Daily and South China Post during the Olympics, around the Indian Independence Day celebrations on Aug 15, it said.
Apart from the advertisement blitzkrieg, the tourism office would also organise an 'India evening' proposed to be held Aug 16. Among the invitees would be major Chinese tour operators, as well as the 57-member Indian team competing in 13 disciplines in the Olympics that starts Aug 8.
An exhibition of Indian handicrafts and textiles and a photographic exhibition on India by Mao Xiaoyu, a renowned photographer, who has lived and travelled extensively in India, will also be held.
The ministry said the advertising campaign would not be restricted to Bejing and similar campaigns would be launched in other countries to coincide with the Olympics.
One of the countries chosen for the campaign is Russia, which is celebrating the 100th year of their participation in the Olympic games.
The popular Incredible India slogan would be screened on giant digital screens at premium locations in Moscow and St Petersburg from Aug 8 to 24. The campaign will also feature on the Euro News channel during the Olympics and will be aired in over 45 countries.
The sustained campaign in China is also being planned as in 2006, the mainland China emerged as one of the top 15 tourist generating markets for India.
“It occupied the 14th position with a 1.4 per cent share in arrivals. The arrivals from mainland China were merely 1,371 in 1981 but have grown to 62,330 in 2006 at a compound annual growth rate of 16.5 per cent,” the ministry statement said.
While in 2003, only 21,152 Chinese travellers came to India, the number went up to 88,103 in 2007.
Comparatively many more Indians travel to China - 219,097 Indians went to China in 2003, while in 2006 the figure was 405,091.
One of the main reasons for the growth in this sector, the ministry said, was due to the promotional brochures being made available in the Chinese language and also India's participation in the China International Travel Market in Kunming in November 2007.