外文标题：Indian marriages, ‘made in China’
KOLKATA: Big fat Indian weddings are turning towards China as they keep looking for exotic locations keeping the budget intact. China is now luring the rich people of India, who have started to look beyond confines of five-star hotels and palaces when it comes to marriage.
While Singapore and Bangkok still continue to be favourites, tying the knot at places such as Shanghai or Kunming are fast catching up with the Indians. "We have noticed that some Indian families look for wedding destinations abroad. We are proposing cities such as Kunming, Dali and Lijiang to them," said Wang Xuefeng, consul general of China in Kolkata.
"Kunming is called the city of spring and Lijiang is known as the city of romance while Dali famous for its pagodas."
Flow of Indian tourists to China has increased over the years. Last year alone, around 7 lakh tourists have visited the neighbouring country. "We are now encouraging tour operators in West Bengal to find partners in China," he added.
Tour operators feel that China will not only add to the "wow" factor to the marriages, but keep their budget intact. "Some of the five-star hotels in China are in fact cheaper than those in India. They might be a tad high compared to the ones in Thailand, but the uniqueness of the location compensates that," said Anil Punjabi, chairman of Travel Agents' Federation of India (eastern region).
Wedding planners and tour operators said even a few years ago, destinations in China were restricted only to a few cities such as Shanghai and Guangzhou. There are more choices now with China offering new destinations such as Kunming and Lijiang. With airfare remaining almost the same, lavish weddings in India can look forward to more exclusive locations. "A few families have already been to China to host weddings," Punjabi added.