UK sixth most visited by Indians
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UK sixth most visited by Indians

With an eye on the growing Indian middle-class, Britain is trying hard to lure Indians, says Nabanita Sircar.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2006 20:05 IST

Britain is sixth in the league of outbound visitors from India. But tourist authorities, keen to attract more Indians, have recently announced a new initiative.

With a keen eye on the expanding Indian middle-class, India is being targeted as a key market for tourism to Britain.

In its effort to increase tourism from India, VisitBritain plans to highlight historical and cultural ties concentrating on curry, cinema and cricket. Some years ago a glossy Bollywood trail map was published to attract film-crazy Indians to various locales around the country where Indian films were shot.

Bernard Donoghue, head of public affairs of VisitBritain believes the scope is huge "to exploit that market, not least because by 2050 India will be the world's third largest economy behind China and the USA".

Discussing future plans, Donoghue said, "The number one British dish is curry and in the country we have over 8,500 curry restaurants". He added that cricket was another "shared link" between the two countries, apart from the great attraction of Bollywood.

In 2004, over a quarter of a million Indians visited Britain spending about £240 million. In the past two years since the middle-class has grown to 225 million.

Britain is planning to use the 2012 Olympic Games in London as an attraction. Donoghue said, "We expect a lot of Indian visitors in the run-up to the Olympics to see some of the sports cathedrals like Lords, the Oval and Wimbledon and the growth will be fuelled by additional flights and routes that are being created at a rapid pace between India and Britain".

First Published: Feb 24, 2006 20:05 IST