India and China need to foster people-to-people and cultural exchanges besides strengthening cooperation and friendship, President Xi Jinping said on Saturday.
“The two countries (should) learn from each other and set a model for cross-cultural communication, playing an important role for the progress of human civilization,” Xi was quoted as saying by the official news agency Xinhua while congratulating the launch of “Visit China Year” in India.
“China and India have remarkable complementary advantages and significant potential for cooperation in various fields,” Xi said.
“Xi noted that the launching of Visit India Year in China in 2015 and Visit China Year in India in 2016 were jointly decided by him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visited India in 2014. The Visit India Year in China in 2015 was very successful,” the Xinhua article quoting Xi said.
The Visit China Year for Indian tourists was launched earlier this week in New Delhi.
China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) chairman Li Jinzao read out Xi’s letter at the opening ceremony at the Sirifort sports and cultural complex.
According to Li Yaying, deputy director-general of the CNTA Marketing and International Tourism Cooperation Department, the number of tourists exchange between the two countries is about 900,000 in the first 11 months last year.
“But against the backdrop of China and India as the two most populous countries in the world as well as the countries with such a large outbound tourists market, this number is relatively small,” said Li.
According to Chinese government statistics, more than 3.5 lakh Indian tourists had come to China in the first half of 2015.
The number of Chinese tourists heading to India has also seen an increase with the number arriving in India going up from 21,152 in 2003 to more than 200,000 in 2013.