Tourism ministry’s vision doc stresses on need to woo travellers from ChinaUpdated: Jan 20, 2020 23:11 IST
New Delhi: Union tourism ministry’s vision document for the next five years has stressed on the need to make it more viable for Chinese tourists to visit India, according to officials aware of the matter.
There were 149.7 million outbound Chinese travellers in 2018, as per the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute. It marked an increase of over 1,300% since 2000 when there were about 10.5 million outbound Chinese tourists. China is the world’s most populous country.
An official involved with the preparation of the document said India received less than 1% of the Chinese tourists--only 0.3 million--in 2018. “Almost every country is attempting to woo the Chinese traveller,” said the official, who did not wish to be named.
Infrastructure development to boost tourism at the sites under the Buddhist Circuit, increase in their numbers, and training more guides are some of the steps the ministry plans to pursue aggressively to woo Chinese tourists.
Union tourism minister Prahlad Singh Patel said some of these steps are being taken following his meeting with Chinese officials in August. “The Chinese told us that language is a key barrier, and so we included [Chinese] signage at four ASI-protected monuments. A plan to have QR-code scans at these sites in Chinese is also being planned,” Patel said.
The four sites are Sanchi, Nalanda, Sravasti and Bodh Gaya. The new Incredible India portal, too, now has a Chinese version.
Emphasis on infrastructure development at these sites features prominently in the vision document. Officials said this includes better road, rail and air connectivity, good hotels and training for more guides in Chinese. They added hotels in Bodh Gaya are not of international standards and five-star hotels are planned to be built there.
Pronob Sarkar of the Indian Association of Tour Operators said the while the move is welcome, the lack of infrastructure remains the main hurdle. “We are not attracting the right share of Chinese travellers, and infrastructure needs to be developed. Better infrastructure will help in attracting investments. Language remains a key barrier, and we do not have enough guides.”