IndiGo will use Kolkata as a hub to improve connectivity between India and China. While the airline currently has flights to two Chinese cities, Guangzhou and Chengdu, airline chief executive officer Ronojoy Dutta said the carrier was keen on flights to Beijing and Shanghai from Kolkata.
Speaking to TOI on the sidelines of Destination East, organised by CII and state tourism department, Dutta said the two connections were part of its strategy to fly deep into China and tap the world’s biggest outbound market.
Countries like Thailand and Turkey attract over 4 crore tourists from China while the number for India is well short at 2.5 lakh a year. “Attracting Chinese traffic will also help bring down trade deficit,” he said, adding that the airline has already applied for flying rights to Beijing and Shanghai. Besides China, we are also looking at one more connection from Kolkata to a city in South-East Asia.
Apart from Guangzhou and Chengdu, IndiGo currently flies from Kolkata to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Yangon, Dhaka and Kathmandu.
Dutta feels that Kolkata has good prospect to pool inbound tourists from overseas markets because it is the gateway to several states, both north-east and eastern India.
Stressing on the need to develop a tourism triangle like Prague-Vienna-Budapest or Delhi-Agra-Jaipur for Bengal, he felt Bengal could tie up its hill destination with the Buddhist circuit to form a triangle.
Source: Times of India