Even in tourism stakes, China has stolen a march over India. What started as a trickle a decade ago is turning out to be a flood as China played host to over six lakh Indian tourists in 2012. The corresponding number of Chinese tourists visiting India was 1.5 lakh.
Lured by budget tours and low-cost shopping attractions, over six lakh Indians visited China last year, a tour operator said.
"Name any top Chinese city, you can find Indian tour groups visiting places like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xian," Yaofeng Liang, general manager of the Beijing Nimbus International Service Company Ltd said, highlighting the growing trend in the communist giant's tourism sector.
It appears that the 'Mysterious China' campaign is paying off better dividends while the 'Incredible India' campaign in China is struggling to shore up the numbers.
Barely 1.5 lakh Chinese visited India 2012, according to the official figures though it is about 9.5% higher than the previous year. Besides tourists, large number of visiting groups from India comprised businessmen.
Nevertheless, China is emerging as an important destination for India's retired as well as wealthy who are interested in shopping at some of famous malls besides visiting the tourist hot-spots.
So much so that the Chinese shopkeepers who cater to droves of groups from all over the world everyday are learning smattering of Hindi to greet Indians with a 'Namaste'.
A trip to China which includes travel to Hong Kong, Beijing, Xian and Shanghai, stay and food at Indian restaurants costs about Rs. 1 lakh per person.