IN ITS pursuit of more international arrivals, West Bengal Tourism has rolled out a series of initiatives targeting tourists from China, which currently number few to the eastern Indian state.
“We have already hosted 17 Chinese travel agents for a fam trip to the state in January this year. We plan to host another group of agents, most probably (in October). We are also looking to (work with the Institute of Chinese Language) to develop a pool of trained Mandarin-speaking guides, which are in shortage at present,” said Surajit Bose, additional director and joint secretary to West Bengal Tourism.
Shyam Rai Temple, Bishnupur
Besides launching a digital advertisement campaign in China in addition to advertising in Chinese magazines, it will also participate in Chinese trade shows to highlight its tourism products.
In addition to Darjeeling and Sunderbans National Park that are already popular among international tourists, West Bengal Tourism will promote cultural attractions like Santiniketan and Bishnupur – famous for its terracotta temples – to Chinese tourists.
Several tour operators from the state have also set up offices in China to grow the market, said Bose.
Welcoming the NTO efforts, Debjit Dutta, chairman, Indian Association of Tour Operator (IATO) West Bengal chapter, said: “There is already direct air connectivity available between Kunming and Kolkata. China is a potential market for us and we expect to record more Chinese tourist arrivals with the state tourism department promoting West Bengal.”