China, India to boost tourism cooperation
Updated: 2015-02-03 09:12
BEIJING - China and India, the world's two most populous countries, agreed to boost tourism cooperation to strengthen people-to-people ties.
"We are confident that the number of China-India mutual visits will exceed 1 million in 2016," said Li Jinzao, head of China National Tourism Administration (NTA), at the launch ceremony for "Visit India Year 2015" here on Monday.
Indian citizens traveling to China hit 645,600 while 124,600 Chinese citizens chose India as the first stop of their overseas trips in the 11 months of 2014.
Overseas trips by Chinese people surpassed 100 million last year.
"Compared with the total population of 2.5 billion of the two countries, 1 million is very small," Li said, stressing the space for cooperation on tourism is very huge.
During Chinese President Xi Jinping's India tour in September, Xi and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to launch "Visit India Year" in China in 2015 and "Visit China Year" in India in 2016. It is an important opportunity to boost tourism cooperation, Li Jinzao said.
Attending the launch ceremony monday, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang called on the two sides to earnestly implement the consensus of the two leaders.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a video message to the launch ceremony and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj attended the ceremony.
According to tourism authorities, the two sides will work together to simplify visa procedures, increase direct flights and improve service levels. The two sides will also develop new travel packages and routes as well as strengthen communication and coordination to safeguard safety of tourists.
Chinese monk Xuan Zang's visit to India in the seventh century is a legend loved by hundreds of millions of ordinary Chinese people, said Yu Ningning, President of China International Travel Service. She believed that the two countries will jointly write new friendship stories in the age of globalization.