Ambika Soni seeks Chinese investment in tourism infrastructure

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New Delhi, Nov 12 (UNI) Tourism Minister Ambika Soni today invited China to invest in tourism infrastructure in India.

The proposal was made to a Chinese delegation led by Yunnan Province Governor Qin Guangrong who called on her here today.

A Tourism Ministry spokesman said that in the 45 minute meeting both sides discussed ways to strengthen bilateral tourism and culture relations between India and China with special reference to Yunnan Provinces.

Both sides agreed that India and China had vast potential in tourism and cultural sectors and close cooperation was required to promote people to people contact between the two countries through exchange of tourism delegation and cultural troupes.

Pointing out that there were less number of tourists from China to India,she said just 88,000 Chinese tourists came to India in 2007 as against 4050912 tourists from India went to China, despite India had streamlined visa regime for Chinese travellers.

"It is a big gap and needs to be bridged," she said.

India had many attractions for travelers from China such as Buddhist tourism Circuit with a special train for tourists, Chinese food and budget accommodation, she told the delegation and emphasised that both the countries must take steps to strengthen tourism potential in each other's country.

Agreeing with Mrs Soni, Mr Qin Guangrong said there would be increase in cultural cooperation and exchange of cultural troupes and tourism delegations between the two countries to promote tourism.

Urging for India's participation in tourism shows and travel marts in Yunnan Province, he said it is a leading province in tourism in China and closer to India geographically. He proposed that a consulate office be opened at Kunming for the promotion of tourism.

UNI KAS LS AS1754

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