GUWAHATI - India is expected to witness a boom in tourism when a proposal to
open a Silk Road mountain pass to China for regular travellers comes into
effect, a study said.
The historic 15,000-feet (4,545-metre) Nathu La Pass between India and China
was re-opened this year after a gap of 44 years to revive direct trade between
the Asian giants. It will be open to tourists as well in 2011.
Chinese traders in India after crossing the Nathu La Pass.
India is expected to witness a boom in tourism when a proposal to open a
Silk Road mountain pass to China for regular travellers comes into effect,
a study said. [AFP]
The proposed move would boost the number of tourists from China's Tibet
region to the northeastern Indian state of Sikkim, where Nathu La is located,
the state's trade body said on Thursday.
"We hope to get an extra 300,000 tourists to Sikkim from China," S.K. Sarda,
president of the Sikkim Chamber of Commerce, said in a report.
The official said nearly three million people from mainland China visited
Tibet every year, and a large chunk was expected to cross over to the scenic
Himalayan state of Sikkim after the opening of the historic route.
Nearly 300,000 tourists visit Sikkim annually, and the number was likely to
triple -- also because of domestic tourists who would like to use the pass to
travel to China, the study said.
Tibet would be more accessible for many Indian Hindus and Sri Lankan
Buddhists who consider Mount Kailash and Mansarovar Lake in the region as
sacred, according to the report. At present, one has to go through Nepal to
The Asian giants reopened trade across the pass in July, as part of a broader
rapprochement. The move marked the first direct trade link between the two Asian
giants since a bitter border war in 1962.
Although initial trade through Nathu La has been slow, authorities are
optimistic that business would grow once infrastructure on either side of the
border was completed by next year.
Bilateral trade grew by 37.5 percent to hit 18.73 billion dollars last year,
according to Chinese data.