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ITMA | September 2016

Can Mumbai be the next Shanghai? - Om Prakash, Director, InORBIT Tours Pvt. Ltd & ex-Chairman TAAI (WR)

China has emerged as one of the largest travel volume handling countries for inbound. It has over 50 million domestic and inbound tourists annually. If India has to think of such numbers then which factors do we need to address seriously. In 2007, I had written an article on the same subject. However nine years have passed, but the dream of Mumbai to be like Shanghai is still a dream. Although the world is progressing at a jet speed, the developments of Mumbai and its infrastructure do not find any major changes. One wonders when will Mumbai become another Shanghai.

A major percentage of China’s tourism is attributed to Shanghai. Shanghai is China’s largest economic centre, with a leading port, airports and also China’s well-known historical business and cultural city. Shanghai has two international airports with international flights covering the world’s 73 countries and regions. Both airports have a capacity of handling five crore passengers annually.

A multi-storeyed terminal building with over 60 aero-bridges and a vast parking space for more airplanes.

The modern architecture provides arrival, departures and public transport on separate floors of the airports.

Satellite check-in areas help in fast immigration. Although there is a language problem, Chinese immigration officers and custom officers speak little English, but their simplification of rules and systems help to clear loads of continuous arrivals and departures speedily. Pictorial visual signs throughout the airport, helps passengers to overcome language difficulty.

The needs of arriving tourists are kept in mind such as mobile sim cards are sold in various denominations at various kiosks. Foreign exchange counters in pre- and post-immigration sections. A large number of shops of branded goods in the check-in and duty-free area and a vast shopping complex in the boarding gates area.

The fastest train called Maglev train with magnetic technology flies above the tracks. The distance of 30 km is covered in 7.5 minutes with highest speed touching 431 km per hour (the fastest in the world).

Shanghai has 25 museums covering history, culture, industry and other subjects. Entrance to most of the museums is free. Huang Pu River flows in the centre of Shanghai city. It is converted into tourists’ boat cruises with tremendous illumination in the evenings. The tallest addition of Disneyland in Shanghai will further attract much more tourists and will provide more hotel nights by tourists.

Shanghai has more than 350 star-rated hotels with over 65,000 rooms. Some of the most modern and hi-tech trade exhibition venues built with German collaboration, house over 100 trade exhibitions in Shanghai, which attracts business visitors from all over the world. China has been successful to increase Indian visitors to China in a big way. Visa regulation is simplified for Indian visitors. However, Chinese visitors to India are facing stringent rules and even business visitors do not get visas so easily. Many a time Chinese business visitors are deprived to participate in conferences and trade exhibitions in India for not getting Indian visa in time to participate. Promotion by Indian Tourism Ministry need aggressive and continuous promotion. Today, Chinese tourists are dominating Europe, US, Japan and southeastern Asia in outbound.

Readers can send their views at: omprakash@inorbittours.com

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