China becoming popular among Indian tourists

Beijing:  An increasing number of Indian tourists are visiting China, a Chinese government official has claimed.

Tian Xin, an official from the New Delhi office of the China National Tourism Administration, told Xinhua news agency that China was becoming one of the most popular destinations for Indian tourists.

Xin said that in 2014, the number of Indian tourists to China was 709,900, up by 4.6 per cent year-on-year from 2013.

In 2015, the number increased to 730,500 and in just the first nine months of 2016, the number had already reached 600,900.

Indians and Chinese don’t visit each other’s countries owing to political tensions, language barrier and other factors.

Ties between the two countries have been marred by a dragging border dispute and other contentious issues.

China and India decided to boost bilateral tourism in 2015 when New Delhi organised a “Visit India Year” campaign in Beijing. China launched the “Visit China Year” in India in 2016.

Tian said both the countries have been working together to improve service quality, simplify visa procedures and increase direct flights to boost tourism. He said both have natural advantages in tourism development.

“China and India are neighbouring countries and have a long, good relationship. The Silk Road once closely connected China and India. Now, tourism services are the bonds linking the two countries,” Tian said.