"Of the 70 million outbound tourists from China, India gets only 100,000 visitors. The number is very small. Please note that many Chinese tourists are big spenders. There is a huge opportunity waiting to be grabbed in the eastern and north-eastern parts of India," said Kong Can, vice director, Yunnan Development Research Council (YDRC), after parleys with CII (Eastern Region) members here.
"In our view, West Bengal, which is endowed with hills, sea, forests, and most importantly a rich heritage can draw a lot of Chinese tourists. The tourism industries must come closer and collaborate," Kong said.
"We would also be delighted to see more tourists from this region visiting China, especially the south-west part of China. It's such a small distance, and a great opportunity for the tourism industry in West Bengal as well," he said.
Notably, the air-travel distance between Kolkata and Kunming at just under 1,500 km is less than the distance between Kolkata and New Delhi.
The Chinese delegation, which comprised leaders from a range of sectors such as manufacturing, engineering, media, food processing, infrastructure, logistics, energy, IT and ITeS and hospitality, underscored the need for exploring opportunities for partnerships in agriculture, especially tea.
"Tea made in Yunnan and that produced in Darjeeling will make for a beautiful blend, and most importantly, a good market. The potential is unbelievable," said Xia Yundong, vice president, Yunnan Provincial General Chamber of Commerce (YPCC).
During the meeting, CII Eastern Region and YPCC signed a memorandum of understanding to increase economic, trade and investment cooperation between India and China. As per the MoU, CII Eastern Region and YPCC will assist personnel and delegations from economic, trade, financial and enterprise circles of Yunnan and Eastern Region of India.
--IANS (Posted on 21-11-2013)