Category Archives: States

Foreigners can now visit protected areas in Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has relaxed the Protected Area Permit (PAP) for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, except for those from Pakistan, Afghanisthan and China. The PAP will be valid for five years. These areas constitute some of the most pristine locations of the country which had been out of bounds till now for them without a special permit. The six decade old PAP regime from these areas has been relaxed from April 1, 2018. Under the Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958, all areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas. These areas include whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of Sikkim also fall under the protected area regime. It is believed that the government might lift PAP from other areas as well. The guidelines in place earlier did not allow a foreign national to visit a protected or restricted area unless the government is satisfied that there are extraordinary reasons to justify his or her visit. Foreigners, except citizens of Bhutan, if want to stay in a protected or restricted area, have to get a special permit from an authority with the power to issue such permits. In cases of the citizens of Afghanistan, China and Pakistan and foreign nationals of Pakistani origin, no permit, however, can be issued without the prior approval of the Union Home Ministry.  

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MTDC and Global Vipassana Pagoda in Gorai to create Buddhist Circuit

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), in association with Global Vipassana Pagoda in Gorai, is looking to encourage visitors across the globe to experience tool of meditation for individual and global wellness and peace. In 2014, the Union Ministry announced plans to develop new Circuits to cover routes of important Buddhist destinations of the country. The Global Vipassana Pagoda in Gorai focuses on the Vipassana form of meditation, which stresses on the systematic investigation of the self, a phenomenon that is unique to the Buddhist tradition. The Pagoda also provides an insight to Buddhism by engaging visitors in a healthy and spiritual way from the hustle and bustle of the city. The Circuits in the coastal area of Nalasopara, Chaityabhoomi in Dadar, the Mandapeshwar Caves in Borivali, the Kanheri Caves in Sanjay Gandhi National Park and the Elephanta Caves are definitely going to increase the flow of tourists in the State. Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism & (EGS), Government of Maharashtra conveys, “MTDC in association with the Global Vipassana Pagoda is promoting the Buddhist Circuit and wellness tourism in the state. Our aim is to endorse the Buddhist circuit, among other spiritual sites that engage people to experience and learn about the rich legacy through Buddhist monuments.”

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Rajasthan Tourism announces domestic travel mart from Jul 20-22 in Jaipur

The Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan has signed an MoU with the Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan (FHTR) for organising the ‘Rajasthan Domestic Travel Mart’ 2018. The event will be held from July 20-22 at the B.M. Birla Auditorium in Jaipur. The Department of Tourism will be the host state partner for the event. The MoU was signed between the Additional Director Tourism, Sanjay Pande and the President, FHTR, Bhim Singh in Jaipur. The chief guest on the occasion Chief Secretary, Rajasthan, Nihal Chand Goel said that the primary objective of ‘Rajasthan Domestic Travel Mart’ is to exclusively focus on the domestic tourists within Rajasthan from various parts of India. “The vision 2020 initiated by the CM had an objective of five crore tourist footfall in the state by the year 2020. But we have attained close to five crore tourists in the year 2017 itself and with new initiatives like this travel mart, we’d be able to achieve the set goal and probably outperform our own predicted numbers,” he said. President, FHTR, Bhim Singh said the sole objective is to increase tourism in Rajasthan by organising numerous road shows across the country. The event is also supported by HRAR, IHHA, RATO and ADTOI.

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Maharashtra to promote itself as medical and wellness destination at ATM

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has announced its participation in Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from April 22-25, 2018. MTDC plans to promote Maharashtra as the preferred destination for medical and wellness tourism, showcase its touristic attractions, meet tourism professionals and promote the opportunities of investment in creating healthcare and tourism facilities. Speaking about the state government plans, Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism & Employment Guarantee Scheme, Government of Maharashtra said, “While the medical and wellness segment is largely untapped and caters to a niche segment of travellers we have seen a steady growth in this sector due to the quality and economically friendly services the state has to offer. Our goal is to position Maharashtra as a medical and wellness tourism hub. We are in the process of signing an MoU with the Indo-Arab Chambers of Commerce and Industries to highlight lucrative investment prospects within the sector.” Vijay Waghmare, Managing Director, MTDC said, “We are witnessing tourism as one of the fastest growing industries worldwide. Maharashtra has one of the best qualified professionals in each field and this holds true in the domain of medical and wellness as well. We are now looking to create a unique identity by offering best health services for the world and establish ourselves as the best Medical tourism destination. At ATM 2018, we will be promoting various activities ranging from yoga, meditation to natural therapies to name some which is provided in the state.”

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Goa Tourism rolls out two mega events

In an effort to showcase its festivals, Goa Tourism is all set to conduct two of its most captivating events – the Grape Escapade  and Goa Vintage Car & Bike Festival 2018 in the second fortnight  of April 2018. The lifestyle and wine festival organised by Goa Tourism through Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), the ‘Grape Escapade 2018’ will be held from April 19-22 at the D B Bandodkar Ground, Campal, Panjim. The four-day event is expected to draw lakhs of tourists in view of the on-going summer vacations. Over the years, Grape Escapade has provided a platform for local enterpreneurs to share expertise, display products, engage in B2B, and offers tourists and Goans an opportunity to savour on flavours from the vineyard, taste Goan food and experience Goa’s traditions and culture. The festival brings together a host of professionals from the tourism hospitality industry like hoteliers, restaurateurs, wineries and manufacturers to showcase their premium offerings. The Goa Vintage Car & Bike Festival 2018 will hit the streets  of Panjim on April  29, 2018 at the INOX Courtyard from 10.00 am onwards. Various vintage bike and car owners, users, collectors and fans will parade along with their prized possessions around Panjim. The vintage bike and car rally will route from INOX courtyard  to  Miramar Circle and further proceed to Divja circle and head back to  INOX Courtyard where they will be on display till 6.00 pm.

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MP Tourism creates land bank to boost tourism

Attracting private investors for effective implementation of tourism policy, the tourism board of Madhya Pradesh has procured above 849.077 hectare land for the tourism department at 144 places of 49 districts of the state and created a land bank for tourism projects in MP. Besides this, at 71 points, an additional 432 hectare land has been identified. Tenders have been invited to build hotels, resorts and other establishments that will encourage tourism. For this, noted groups like Mahendra Holiday, Orange County, State Express, Jahanuma Palace Hotel, Gen-X Hotel, Sristi Ventures have been included. Land procurement is in process and soon it will be transferred to the tourism department. Surendra Patwa, Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), informed that the state has been segregated in five tourism regions and potential of private investment has been identified. In Indore region, Indore, Dhar, Khanwa, Burhanpur, Khargone, Badwani, Alirajpur, Jhabua, Ujjain, Ratlam, Dewas, Agra Malwa, Mandsaur and Neemuch district in 43 areas around 233 hectare land has been transferred to tourism department by the board. In Jabalpur Region, land has been identified in Jabalpur, Katni, Narsinghpur, Chhindwara, Seoni, Mandla, Balaghat, Dindori, Shahdol, Umaria and Anuppur district at 28 areas around 82 hectare land has been transferred, while at 10 points 32 hectare additional land has been identified for land acquisition. Similarly, in Bhopal region at 33 points, around 135 hectare land has been transferred in Bhopal, Sihore, Rajgarh, Vidisha, Raisen, Hoshangabad, Betul, Harda districts.    

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Kerala records 10.9% rise in tourist arrivals in 2017

Tourist arrivals to Kerala have registered a significant growth of 10.93 per cent during 2017, compared to figures of the previous year. According to statistics compiled by Kerala Tourism, Kerala saw as many as 15.54 lakh tourists including both domestic and foreign travellers during the year. An increase of 15 lakh new domestic tourists was recorded this year, with footfalls going up to 1,46,73,520 in 2017 as against 1,31,72,535 in 2016. As per the report, it was found that foreign tourists preferred travelling to Thiruvananthapuram and Ernakulam districts, while also opting for destinations like Alappuzha, Munnar and Wayanad. In terms of specific locations, both foreign and domestic tourists were found to have preferred Kochi as a prime destination. According to Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Cooperation and Devaswoms, the statistics show up encouraging trends in terms of increasing footfalls both in the international as well as domestic segments. Rani George IAS, Secretary, Department of Tourism, said, “The trend in tourist arrivals over the past five years has shown a marked change in the pattern of tourist visits to different destinations. It is exciting that more destinations are being sought after by tourists, and that shows more destinations in Kerala are gaining in prominence in travellers’ minds.”  

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MTDC promotes mine tourism in Wani

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has now introduced mine tourism in Wani in Yavatmal district where tourists will get an opportunity to visit the coal mines in Bhandewada and Ukani to understand the intricacies involved in coal mining. In order to create awareness about the significance of coal mining, MTDC and Western Coalfields have entered into an agreement to promote mine tourism while ensuring the safety of the visitors. The Wani-Yavatmal mine tour includes a visit to Bhandewanda mines along with a workshop in addition to an excursion into the open cast mine in Ukani to view the heavy earth-moving vehicles at the site carrying tons of coal. The trained tour guides will brief and educate travellers about the mining processes. Apart from mine tourism, Yavatmal district is also known for pilgrimage sites which attracts thousands of pilgrims every month. Madan Yerawar, State Tourism Minister, Government of Maharashtra, says, “Mine tourism is a niche segment and we are expanding it further by introducing new site in Wani, Yavatmal to attract tourists from across the globe. The mine locations in Saoner and Gondegaon are already attracting tourist footfalls and we believe that this new site will help in catalysing the growth of tourism in Maharashtra.”

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MTDC launches guide training programme in Nagpur

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is conducting a 12-day guide training programme in Nagpur to train the local tourist guides. The inauguration of certified guide training programme was recently conducted at MTDC’s Regional office in Nagpur by Swati Kale, General Manager, MTDC in the presence of Arati Meshram, HOD-Government IHMCT College, Nagpur; Vilas Kale, Chairman-Cenin Travel & VED Council along with IITTM faculty. The aim is to make more than 900 guides available for tourists at various destinations across the state. MTDC has conducted guide training programme at various cities across Mumbai, Aurangabad, Nagpur and Sindhudurg. Programmes will be conducted in Pune, Nasik, Amravati, Solapur and Kolhapur in the year 2018-19. Madan Yerawar, State Tourism Minister, Government of Maharashtra, “I am delighted to announce that Nagpur and Vidarbha got certified local tourist guides for the first time and they are ready to offer services at various tourist destinations in the state to cater to the needs of tourists. They play a significant role in promoting the destination and thus, act as the representatives of the state and our country.”

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Kerala showcases new tourism products in Delhi

Kerala Tourism has showcased its array of new tourism offerings at a recent Partnership Meet held in in New Delhi. For art aficionados, the state endorses Fort Kochi and a pilgrimage to the Kochi Muziris Biennale. There is Muziris Heritage Project for history buffs looking to transport themselves to another era. Further, the Spice Route Project re-establishes Kerala’s maritime associations with the countries on Spice Route and revives their cultural, historical and archaeological exchanges between these countries. The state also exhibited its traditional dance forms and visual storytelling presentations. “Most foreign tourists flock to Kerala to experience its cultural heritage but what we are trying to showcase is the idea that our culture isn’t limited to performances on stage. It is ingrained in our way of life and the department is taking small but significant steps towards helping a traveller experience the richness of Kerala,” said Rani George, IAS, Secretary (Tourism), Govt of Kerala.

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