Limited impact to Chinese businesses after India’s suspension of tourist visas for Chinese nationals: chamber
Published: Apr 24, 2022 10:50 PM
Tourists take pictures at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India on Monday. Photo: VCG
Tourists take pictures at the Taj Mahal in Agra, India in 2020. File Photo: VCG

The Chinese business representative in India said on Sunday that the move by New Delhi of suspending tourist visas issued to Chinese nationals has very little impact on either Chinese or Indian businesses, replying to local media reports on the government's decision "to keep Chinese tourists out."

Harris Liu, member of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in India, confirmed on Sunday the decision from the Indian government to suspend tourist visas. However, he assured that the move may have very little impact, especially as the flow of Chinese tourists to India remains weak amid the ongoing risks of COVID-19 on international travel.

There are not many travelers from China to India these days, and even if they go, the cost is often high partially because there are no direct flights between China and India. In addition to the risks of the pandemic, travel costs are very high, generally more than 40,000 yuan ($6,152) for a one-way ticket.

Yang Jinsong, a senior expert with the China Tourism Academy, also told the Global Times on Sunday that this visa suspension is "meaningless" given the fact that there are hardly any Chinese tourists going to India these days, because of the virus situation in the country and China's tightened epidemic control.

"People who still travel there are mostly for work and business but not for holidays," Yang said.

While India's restrictions to Chinese companies and personnel have not been fully lifted yet, there are encouraging signs, as Chinese industry representatives mentioned, with the rising approval rate of business visas for Chinese citizens traveling to India.

Yang Shucheng, Secretary-General of the India China Mobile Phone Enterprise Association, an industry body that represents the Chinese mobile industry in India, told the Global Times in a recent interview that the approval rate of visa applications for employees of Chinese enterprises in India has reached 60 percent since the beginning of 2022 compared with only 10 to 20 percent in the same period in 2021.

The Indian government is providing more business visas for Chinese companies because they are important sources of jobs and taxes for India, Liu noted.