Travel Events

Visa-on-arrival facility planned at airports in Kerala

Kerala is pressing the Centre to grant Visa-on-arrival facility for foreign tourists who land at the State's airports, according to AP Anilkumar, Minister of Tourism, Govt of Kerala. Inaugurating a seminar on tourism infrastructure in Kerala, organised by the Kerala Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) recently in Kochi, Anilkumar said that he along with Oommen Chandy, Chief Minister, Govt of Kerala had requested P Chidambaram, Minister of Home, Govt of India to enable this facility in at least one airport in Kerala.

Elaborating on issues that are hampering tourist inflow to different destinations in the State, Anilkumar said that many tourist locales need better upkeep and steps to scientifically manage garbage.
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Son et lumiere at Jantar Mantar

JAIPUR: World heritage monument Jantar Mantar is all set to join the league of heritage structures in the state that run the Son et lumiere, aka sound and light show. But this one is refreshingly different.

On Wednesday, chief minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the sound and light show at Jantar Mantar and would being public shows from December 14.

'Sitaron Se Aage Jahan Aur Bhi Hai', the opening of the show, instantly prompts you to look skywards and transports you to another era, captivating the audience's attention to the sequence of events that led to origin of the monument.

The light and sound show at the Jantar Mantar is a subtle drift from the conventional shows, as the monument itself is different from other historical monuments. The 45 minutes show is educational albeit in a simple way.

Plans are in place to launch the show in English with a longer finale of the 'Sitaron Se Aage Jahan Aur Bhi Hai', in both the shows very soon.

The script of the show by Dr Acharya has voice-over of Vishnu Sharma, a theatre artist from Mumbai with Shubha Mudgal's music. The show would be on a trial-run for 13 days for a select audience. Any suggestions therein would be again incorporated in the show.

This show has to have a very different treatment as the focus is on what led Maharajah Jai Singh II to make the monument along with a history of Jaipur.
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UP Tourism to set up Swiss cottages during Mahakumbh 2012

Uttar Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation will set up Swiss cottages for tourists who will visit next year's Mahakumbh in Allahabad. The cottages will adorn the banks of Sangam. The cottages will be furnished with modern gadgets.

Amit Srivastava, Regional Tourist Officer, Allahabad said, “There would be conglomeration of devotees from all over the world at the Mahakumbh. To cater to tourists, we are setting up world class Swiss cottages which would have all modern facilities.” He futher added that bookings have started and tourists are evincing interest in it.

According to a report in The Times of India, the charge for the Swiss cottage (Double occupancy) is Rs 6,000 per day while the rate of dormitory cottage is Rs 500 per bed per day
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Kerala to launch luxury boat services from Alappuzha and Kollam

The Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD) is all set to launch a boat service from Alappuzha and Kollam. Shaji V Nair, Director, SWTD said that two double-decker luxury boats have been commissioned for the launch. “We are sure that over Rs 80 lakh can be collected this year for the 80 km-long stretch, which was a major route in the history of backwater cargo movement,” Nair said. The boats, constructed using steel, all have modern facilities and with capacity of 80 passengers.

According to a report in The Times of India, the services will start from the Alappuzha and Kollam jettys simultaneously at 10.30 AM every day. The tourists will be able to see various places of historical importance like Karumadikuttan (Buddha statue) and Kumarakodi, the final resting place of the Malayalam poet Kumaranasan at Pallana during the seven-hour journe
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Domestic airfares set to climb during festival season

People planning to fly during the festival season should book their flight tickets soon. Domestic airfares are set for a spike this month as festivities start across the country. Industry officials say that as soon as low-fare tickets are sold out, airfares could rise by 10-15 per cent.

“Although it will be too early to predict the exact increase, it is natural that if demand goes up, fares would also go up,” said a Jet Airways official. October to December is a peak travel period. Last year, airlines had raised fares by nearly 200 per cent which left the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) frowning, according to a report in The Hindu Business Line. However, this season, the airlines are in consultation with the DGCA.
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Orissa Tourism Development Corporation introduces new pilgrim packages

The Orissa Tourism Development Corporation (OTDC) has announced special tours on demand for tourists, corporate houses institutions and business houses, according to a report in the Times of India. The tours to Ghatagaon Tarini and Barakul will be weekly tours and the trip to Puri will be a daily affair. The trip to Ghatagaon from Bhubaneswar and back will cost Rs 610 a person while the tour to Barkul Narayani temple from Bhubaneswar and back will cost Rs 400 per head. Bhubaneswar to Puri shuttle will come for Rs 230 for both way and Rs 115 for one way, official sources said.

"We have noticed that a large number of domestic tourists from the city are visiting these places so we thought of providing packaged tour and sightseeing facility to the tourists," Alok Mishra, Marketing Manager, OTDC said.
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Indian Grand Prix to boost tourism in the country

The tourism industry expects the inaugural Indian Formula One (F1) Grand Prix would bring the world to New Delhi in October 2011, according to a Business Standard report , The industry hopes the event will be able to do what the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the last major sports event in India, could not in terms of attracting tourists.

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New James Bond Film Set to Boost India Tourism

Indian Railways’ gives green signal to shoot Bond film

The next James Bond film could cause a lot of people to decide to visit India. There have been rumours circulating that it may be filmed in the country. It is well known that when a country or place is featured in a film, it does get a boost in visitors, as they get to see what it looks like and feel curious to discover more of it. James Bond films are a particularly popular set of films as well, being British made and appealing to many different audiences across the world.

Daniel Craig will be starring in this one as James Bond, a role that many British actors would like to have the chance to play. It seems like Mumbai could be a place that James Bond will be visiting during the next film. There has already been an application made to the government to film in the city and they have been given permission,

Extending its hospitality to the super spy, the railway ministry has given the go-ahead for the shooting of the next James Bond film on its properties, with riders. Sources said though Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi was "positive" on the next Bond film being shot on Indian Railways properties, he wanted no "inconvenience to the passengers" in the process. According to ministry officials, film production company Take 1, which had sought permission to shoot for the next Bond film on rail tracks, submitted a final list of two locations each in Ahmedabad, Mumbai and Goa Aug 30.

It is also rumoured that Goa and New Delhi could be visited by the character, during the film as well. The new film is yet to be named and will be the second one which is to be filmed in India, with Octopussy, the thirteenth film in the series, being shot in Udaipur in 1980. The new film will be the 23rd in the long running series and will be directed by Sam Mendes. It is due to be released on 9th November 2012.
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Himachal Tourism targets three million
tourist arrivals this monsoon


The Himachal Pradesh Tourism Board recently said that it is targeting three million tourist arrivals in the state during this monsoon season. The board has partnered with a host of hotels and travel agencies offering discounts in order to attract more tourists during the ‘lean’ rainy season.

“The tourism department has set a target to attract a total of 30 lakh tourists during this monsoon season. Around 28 lakh tourists visited the state during last year’s monsoon,” Arun Sharma, Director, Tourism, Govt. of Himachal Pradesh said in a statement. Around 2.2 million tourists visited the state during monsoon in 2008, which swelled to 2.6 million during 2009, he added. For the whole of 2010, the state received 13.2 million tourists, an increase of 16.83 per cent compared to the previous year, according to a PTI report.
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Rajasthan International Folk Festival to be organised
at Jodhpur from October 12 to 16, 2011


The fifth edition of the Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) will be held at Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur from October 12 to 16, 2011. Organised jointly by the Mehrangarh Museum Trust and the Jaipur Virasat Foundation, the festival is supported by The Taj Group of Hotels. The annual international music festival, which follows the lunar calendar, commences on the ‘Sharat Purnima’ day every year.

BBC will be covering the entire festival this year to produce a one-hour documentary.
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Rajasthan may get helicopter charter services

Rajasthan may soon have helicopter taxis provided the government gives its nod to a proposal to start chartered air services. Affluent trusts recently submitted a proposal for the air taxi service to the government through the Jodhpur Divisional Commissioner recently.

Initially, the proposal had been floated considering the religious areas of interest in the state and the fact that most of the trusts behind the proposal are religious trusts. However, the service is likely to be extended to anyone willing to avail it, as the state is grappling with an abject lack of qualitative and quick means of transport, especially in view of long distances, according to a report by Ajay Parmar in The Times of India.
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J&K to formulate project for Pilgrimage Tourism

The Jammu and Kashmir government recently said it will soon formulate a comprehensive project for infrastructure, accommodation and other facilities for pilgrim tourists, according to a PTI report.

"Over 1.25 crore pilgrims are expected to visit the state this year. We are expecting 1.25 to 1.50 crore pilgrims. The government is contemplating a comprehensive project for development of infrastructure and other facilities for the pilgrims," said Sham Lal Sharma, Minister for Health, Horticulture and Floriculture, Jammu and Kashmir. "The move will generate income and bring economic prosperity to J&K," he said. Over 1.20 crore pilgrims visited Jammu and Kashmir last year, Sharma informed.
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India witnesses rise in number of Gay tourists for India tours

Foreign gay travellers are increasingly touring India to get an experience of the travel destination, thanks to niche travel agencies and a change in mindset, according to an IANS report. As many as five gay travel agencies in India are offering customised packages including surrogacy tours, spiritual camps, weddings and honeymoon packages and a promise of an experience sans negative incidents that they face in conservative cultures.

"Customised packages -- everything from yoga, spiritual, weddings, honeymoon or even surrogacy tours -- are the main attractions for foreign gay tourists to India
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Meghalaya’s new tourism policy lays emphasis on Green and Sustainable Tourism

Meghalaya is fast evolving as a tourism hub in the North East region. The state government recently announced a new tourism policy to elevate Meghalaya as a hub for Tourism in the North East. The new tourism policy has been formulated after taking into consideration the cultural and natural beauty of the state. According to L Kharkongor, Commissioner and Secretary - Tourism, Meghalaya, Green Tourism is the core of the new tourism policy, and tourism stakeholders, especially hotels, will have to implement water harvesting and tap renewable energy sources for a sustainable tourism environment in the state.

"Customised packages -- everything from yoga, spiritual, weddings, honeymoon or even surrogacy tours -- are the main attractions for foreign gay tourists to India
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Andhra Pradesh ranks as top tourist destination in India

With Tirupati temple attracting hordes of visitors, Andhra Pradesh has become the top tourist destination in the country recording 155.8 million domestic tourists in 2010. According to a PTI report, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu settled at second and third positions respectively with 144.8 million and 111.6 million domestic tourists.

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Kerala Fisheries plans oceanarium near Kochi

A first-of-its-kind oceanarium is set to be launched in Kochi as a major tourism attraction soon. The public private partnership (PPP) project is an initiative of Kerala's Fisheries Resource Management Society (FIRMA) and will be set up on 40 acres of government land at Puthuvype, near Kochi.

According to a report in Business Standard, the government has engaged the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (KSIDC) as bid manager for the project. The project envisages setting up a state-of-the-art fourth generation oceanarium and aims to create awareness about marine environment and biodiversity. The proposed oceanarium would offer a unique underwater experience by showcasing an aquarium alley, a deep-sea tunnel, a polar pavilion, a shark tank, a touch tank and other entertainment facilities.
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Taj Safaris Pashan Garh awarded Best Eco Friendly Lodge by MP Eco-tourism Development Board

Taj Safaris Pashan Garh lodge, a cluster of stone cottages atop a small hill, was recently awarded the Eco-tourism award 2010 -11 for Best Eco Friendly Lodge/Resort by the Madhya Pradesh Eco-tourism Development Board, according to a media release.
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Goa seeks EoI for sea plane, helicopter and ropeway services

People on holiday in Goa will soon be able to pick from sea plane, helicopter and ropeway services to experience Goa. According to a report by Murari Shetye in The Times of India, the state tourism department recently sought expression of interest (EoI) for bidders to set up these three services in Goa. The chosen bidder will also prepare a technical feasibility report.
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Punjab to develop Siswan Dam water body as tourism destination

The Punjab government has decided to develop the Siswan Dam water body as a world-class Eco-tourism destination besides developing the whole foothill area of Shivalik Range in the state as a tourism hub.

Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister, Government of Punjab, accompanied by officers, recently visited the dam site to discuss the possibility of developing it as an Eco-tourism destination. He directed the officers to conduct a feasibility study by engaging top consultants in the field. He said that the site had all ingredients for developing it as a tourism hub.
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