India tourism: For a long time, the government has been making changes and redirecting its efforts towards making India a more tourist-friendly place. In another step towards that goal, the vision document of the Union Tourism Ministry for the next five years focuses on attracting Chinese tourists to India, an HT report has quoted officials as saying. As China is the most populous country in the world, every country is attempting to woo tourists from there. According to the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), nearly 150 million Chinese went on outbound travellers in 2018. However, out of these, only 0.3 million, i.e., less than 1 per cent tourists visited India, the report stated the official as saying.
The 2018 outbound travellers figure marked an increase of more than 1,300 per cent from the number of tourists from China in 2000, which stood at 10.5 million.
Some of the steps that the ministry plans to take to attract the tourists from the neighbouring country include development in the infrastructure at the sites falling under the Buddhist circuit, increasing the number of sites in the circuit and undertaking training of more guides.
After a meeting held with Chinese delegates in August, Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel had said that the officials had pointed out that for Chinese tourists, language was one of the main barriers. Following this, the government in December put up signs in Mandarin across the Buddhist circuit to help the tourists visiting from China. Mandarin signs were also put up at four ASI-protected monuments, namely, Sanchi Stupa, Bodh Gaya, Sravasti and Nalanda. The HT report quoted Patel as saying that they were also planning to have QR codes at these sites in Mandarin.
The new portal of Incredible India also includes a Chinese version. A special emphasis has been laid on infrastructure development along the Buddhist circuit in the vision document. The development will be in terms of roads, air and rail connectivity and better hotels. The hotels currently near Bodh Gaya are not up to the international standards, according to officials.
With several steps already undertaken in this direction, it is evident that the Indian government is serious about attracting a tourist base from neighbouring China.