(TibetanReview.net, Jan16’16) – If tourism figures provide a barometer of relations between two countries, India and China have a great deal to make up for. Only 900,000 people visited each other’s country in the first 11 months of last year, a paltry figure, given the fact that they are the countries with the world largest populations. A “Visit China Year” for Indian tourists was launched in New Delhi on Jan 14 with a hope to change that. This followed the celebrations in China of 2015 as the India Tourism Year.
The launch in New Delhi was attended by top tourism officials from the two countries. China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) Chairman Li Jinzao read a letter of congratulations from Chinese President Xi Jinping to the opening ceremony of the event which was held Jan 14 night at the Siri Fort Sports and Cultural Complex, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jan 15.
Li has expressed hope that tourism would become an important bond in the exchanges of people between the two countries. Also, the Chinese Ambassador Le Yucheng has said his country was promoting tourism exchanges with India to build people-to-people ties.
Indian Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma was cited as expressing belief that in the near future, the number of Chinese and Indian tourists visiting each other’s country would be the highest in the world. Likewise, Vinod Zutshi, secretary general of Indian Tourism Ministry, was quoted as saying, “Once the inflow starts on both sides, you can imagine, in terms of demography, how much both the countries will benefit.”
The report said the leaders of the two countries had decided to promote the exchange of tourism activities to strengthen overall China-India relations.