ANCIENT cities in the Chinese province of Henan are banking on religious attractions to draw in more Indian travellers, said Henan Tourism Group deputy general manager, Lion Liang.
“India is a relatively new source market, but it has been feeding good business travel numbers to Henan,” Liang said.
Although the Henan Tourism Group did not have exact figures, Liang said 80 per cent of Indian arrivals to China were there for meetings, incentives and trade fairs.
“We can encourage these business travellers to extend their stay in Henan or bring their family by showcasing the many Buddhist temples in Luoyang, Anyang and Kaifeng,” Liang said.
At a Henan tourism presentation in New Delhi during PATA mart in September, the province’s ambassador, Zhang Yan, said the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang were popular among Indian travellers.
He described the UNESCO World Heritage attraction, home to 100,000 statues of Buddha and his disciples, as an “embodiment of the profound mutual influence of cultures between our two countries”.
The White Horse Temple in Luoyang, the Indian-style Buddhist Hall of which was inaugurated by Indian President Pratibha Patil, is also a key draw for Indian visitors, Zhang said.
To grow leisure arrivals from India, the Henan Tourism Group is partnering with the local government and the China National Tourism Administration on a series of roadshows to India next year to promote religious and history tours.