The number of Indian tourists visiting mainland China, the world’s third largest tourist destination with 135 million inbound travellers last year, is expected to rise only marginally this year due to continuing slide of rupee, a Chinese tourism official said.

“We expect only a marginal increase in the number of Indian visitors to mainland China this year at over 6.1 lakh. Last year, the number of Indians visiting mainland China stood at more than 6,06,500. But with the rupee on a downhill and the yuan on an upward spiral, we have to take this into account,” the China National Tourism Office told PTI here.

The rupee has lost almost 4 per cent since January this year against the dollar and nearly 28 per cent since last August making foreign travel and imports costly.

According to the latest data provided by the Chinese Tourism, the number of Indians visiting their neighbour stood at 2,45,901 during the January-May period, an increase of just 0.72 per cent over the same period last year.

In contrast, 57,319 Chinese tourists visited India during the same period, an increase of 22.8 per cent over the corresponding period the previous year.

India usually ranks 13th to 15th among China’s source markets for tourism. Its top source destinations are South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam.

The China National Tourism is targeting Indian cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata for potential tourists and is keen to increase this year’s promotional budget for the Indian market.

“We are increasing our budget for the Indian market. This year we have a lot of promotional activities planned in India as we see large potential there,” the official said without divulging the amount earmarked for the marketing activities.

Tourism contributes about 4 per cent of Chinese gross domestic product, which stood at $7.49 trillion or 47.16 trillion yuan in 2011.

(This article was published on July 1, 2012)
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