China, India seal joint tourism offices

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Both countries have now established tourist promotion offices in each others countries

BEIJING, April 7 – The Indian Minister of Tourism and Culture, Ambika Soni, opened the first Indian Tourism office in Beijing last night in front of the Chairman of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA), Shao Qiwei at a packed Beijing Hotel gala dinner with over 700 specially invited celebrities and guests.

With the famous Bollywood Indian actor Kabir Bedi as master of ceremonies, the event featured speeches by Mme. Soni, Mr. Shao, the Indian Ambassador to China Nirupama Rao, a 40 minute performance by over 50 Indian classical dancers choreographed by Leela Samson, and a slap up Indian five course dinner prepared by Indian master chefs, specially flown for the event.

Mr. Shao noted that cultural ties were improving and were greatly linked to an increase in cross border trade that was doubling every two years, and looked towards an increase in Indian tourists to China and vice versa. Shao, a long-time personal friend of our Senior Partner and Publisher of China Briefing, Chris Devonshire-Ellis, was congratulated by Chris on the opening of the Chinese equivalent in August last year in New Delhi. Chris commented: “Shao Qiwei and I have known each other since he was the vice-governor of Yunnan province some ten years ago. It’s great to see him now as head of the CNTA and taking such a lead with the promotion of China-India bilateral relations in particular.”

Close to 500,000 Indian tourists visited China during 2007, with a total of 68,000 Chinese making the return trip. India, not surprisingly, wants to redress the imbalance. Meanwhile, the India tourism website was also launched in Chinese at the event.

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