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Chinese Ambassador To India To Explore Possibilities Of Tourism Exchange With OTDC Officials
December 23, 2011
Chinese Ambassador To India To Explore Possibilities Of Tourism Exchange With OTDC Officials


23 December 2011

Mumbai: Odisha’s Buddhist Tourism potential seems to have impressed China. Zhang Yan, Chinese Ambassador to India, is scheduled to hold discussions with the officials of state-run Odisha Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) in Bhubaneshwar today to explore the possibility of developing tourism ties between India and China.

"The Chinese Ambassador to India will discuss the strengthening of the tourism link between the two countries. It will certainly boost Buddhist Tourism in the state," said Jyotiskar Mohapatra, Chairman, OTDC. "We will take the Chinese ambassador and his delegates to various Buddhist sites in the state and chalk out a strategy for the future course of action,” he added.

According to a report in The Times of India, though lakhs of Chinese tourists visit India every year, not many of them are taking the Odisha route. Sources said 1,290 tourists from China visited Odisha in 2007. The footfall stood at 2,143 and 3,093 in 2008 and 2009 respectively. "Even though thousands of tourists from South Korea and other Southeast Asian countries like Japan and China visit Bodh Gaya in Bihar every year, we experience very poor inflow of those tourists. We have a number of interesting Buddhist sites like Lalitagiri, Ratnagiri and Udayagiri in the state to attract more tourists from such countries," Mohapatra said.

Earlier this year, OTDC joined hands with Jeollanam-do, a province in the Southwest of South Korea to develop Buddhist Tourism links between India and South Korea. Tour and travel professionals, however, find little meaning in such collaborations with foreign countries. "The state government is doing nothing to promote the state's enchanting sites abroad. Introduction of international flights is also the need of the hour," a tour operator said.

Zhang also recently inaugurated a 'pictorial exhibition' at Jayadev Bhavan in Bhubaneshwar. The exhibition, jointly organized by the OTDC and Delhi-based voluntary organisation, Friends of China Society in India (FCSI), featured depictions of the art, culture and traditions of China.