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Last Updated : Aug 28, 2018 06:07 PM IST | Source: PTI

Alphons makes strong pitch to increase inflow of Chinese tourists to India

The minister also invited the Chinese businessmen to invest in India's burgeoning tourism sector.

Tourism Minister K J Alphons today made a strong pitch to increase the inflow of Chinese tourists to India as he highlighted India's diversity and assured the best possible security to visitors.

The minister also invited the Chinese businessmen to invest in India's burgeoning tourism sector.

Alphons is currently visiting Beijing, Wuhan and Shanghai along with about 20 leading Indian travel agents in a bid to galvanise efforts to increase the number of Chinese tourists to India which has not registered any major increase despite New Delhi providing several facilities including e-visas.

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The Indian Ministry of Tourism today held a big roadshow in Beijing, showcasing the country's diversity and tourist infrastructure in a major scale.

The Indian tour operators also held one-on-one meeting with their Chinese counterparts exploring opportunities to increase the inflow of Chinese tourists to India.

Addressing a media conference, which was also attended by Chinese reporters, Alphons said while 144 million Chinese tourists travelled out of China last year, only 2.4 lakh of them travelled to India.

Over 14 lakh Indians travelled to China in the same period, Alphons said. "We need to get good percentage of Chinese people to come to India. It is easier to travel to India than to many Chinese cities," he said.

Answering a question on concerns over security, specially reports of rape and violence against women, Alphons said maximum efforts are being made to ensure security of tourists which included a helpline 1363 in 12 languages including Mandarin.

Last year, the helpline received close to 2.75 lakh calls. Also 14 states in India have formed tourism police to ensure security, he said. "We take all these things seriously. We have extremely efficient police service in India," he added.

"We believe safety is the most important concern for all of us. But unfortunately, some of these cases were exaggerated and painted India as a dangerous country which is not true at all," he said.

"India is a very safe country. Like anywhere in the world you are bound to have isolated incidents," he said and narrated how senior foreign ministry officials and he himself rushed to meet a Swiss couple following allegations of molestation.

"We don't accept any incident of this type, which is bad. We take great care to ensure that people coming to India are safe," he said.

The minister also said that he would address the issue of air connectivity between China and India. Currently, 47 foreign and Chinese airlines and five Indian flights operate between the two countries.

This is not enough, he said, adding that he would initiate a dialogue with the aviation minister to increase flight connectivity.

Highlighting the massive infrastructure expansion of India's tourism sector, the minister invited the Chinese investors to invest in India.

Alphons said that India is emerging as the third largest aviation market. Four airports Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad - have figured in the top 10 airports of the world. India also has best five star hotels in the world, he added.

India tourism will also open a regional office in Beijing. "We will work in close association with the Indian Embassy in Beijing," Alphons said, adding that the Chinese office will have strategic advisor and PR advisor.

Large part of the $100 million overseas publicity fund of the tourism ministry will be spent on attracting Chinese tourists to India. Later, the minister also addressed a seminar.

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First Published on Aug 28, 2018 06:01 pm
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