Category Archives: States

Military Tourism: a first in India

For the first time in India, tourists can get a ringside view of military life thanks to extreme tourism initiative titled ‘Veer Yatra’ organised by Maharashtra Ex-servicemen Corporation (MESCO) – a Government of Maharashtra undertaking. It is a unique concept that encourages civilians to explore various facets of India’s defense forces and its evolution and aims to give citizens a glimpse into military way of life. The tours will be conducted by the brave men who once worked for the military. The first-of-its-kind ‘military tourism’ initiative in India aims at strengthening the emotional bond that exists between the military establishment and the civilian population. Commenting on the launch, Col (Retd.) Suhas S. Jatkar, MD, MESCO, said, “While Military Tourism is a well-established concept worldwide, it has not been explored in a structured way in India so far. Military, its intricacies, heroism, security, wars and its intrigues are such a big part of worldwide history that they generate considerable interest in military sites. A military association is looked up to very proudly by every Indian and a thought of being part of the military establishment comes in the mind of every individual at some point in their life. Through Veer Yatra, MESCO aims to give the real-life experience to these aspirations – there is so much history, so much to see and so much to experience. As ex-servicemen, we strongly feel the need to promote Military Tourism with a view to inculcate sense of patriotism among the children and youth of the country. Indian Military establishment has rich physical and emotional heritage that is worth exploring by all patriotic citizens.” Established in 2002, MESCO works towards the welfare and resettlement of …

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MTDC to reposition Mumbai as MICE, tourist hub

Maharashtra Government intends to reposition and promote Mumbai as a tourist destination, sharedValsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Government of Maharashtra, during a round-table organised by the Indian Merchant’s Chamber’s Travel, Tourism & HospitalityCommittee in Mumbai. She was the chief guest at the event that was attended by a few tour operators as well as the hospitality trade to discuss and deliberate on policy framework and to promote tourism in Mumbai and Maharashtra. Singh said, “We have recognised niche areas in tourism in which we want to promote Mumbai. We want to make the city the event capital in Maharashtra. Asia’s biggest convention centre is coming in Mumbai next year followed by two more convention centres. We are also working towards creating adventure tourism, medical tourism and Bollywood tourism here.” According to her, 2.5 lakh Mumbai tourists enter Mumbai for medical tourism. The government is therefore working on e-medical visa and medical reimbursement, and tying up with insurance companies overseas to facilitate reimbursement of medical expenses incurred by tourists. She added that the new state tourism policy will be out in the public domain soon. It focuses on three aspects: product development, skilling, and investment and promotion. ParaagJaiinNainuttia, IAS, MD, MTDC, shared details of the recent initiatives MTDC has taken like the helicopter Mumbai Darshan, and facilitating commercialisation of yacht facilities on Mumbai’s coast through a possible tie-up with private companies.

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Now, helicopter tourism from Madurai

Tamil Nadu tourism is all set to offer helicopter services for tourists. HarSahayMeena, Commissioner of Tourism & Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), said, “Hopefully, we will be coming up with adventure tourism products like helicopter services. Right now we are planning these services between Madurai- Rameshwaram, Madurai – Kanyakumari and Madurai- Kodaikanal. The plan is already in the pipeline and once a few issues are cleared, we will launch it. We also want to focus on rural tourism, especially Kumbakonam, Thanjavur, Madurai, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, which are less visited areas as compared to other parts of the state.” He also revealed that the state is also trying to develop beach tourism and have many projects underway.

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Odisha Travel Bazaar on the cards

Odisha Tourism is going to organise ‘Odisha Travel Bazaar’ on the lines of the Great Indian Travel Bazaar (GITB) and Kerala Travel Mart (KTM). Dr. R K Pattanayak, Tourist Officer, Department of Tourism, Govt of Odisha, says, “We are still on the verge of finalising this but we are going to have it by the end of this year or next year beginning. We look forward to attract more investments and tourists through the ‘Odisha Travel Bazaar’.” Utpal K Pati, Deputy Director, Department of Tourism, Govt of Odisha, says, “We are expecting travel agents as well as tour operators and 10-15 states and Union Territories to participate in the exhibition.”

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Odisha gets 11.8 million tourists in 2015

Odisha received a total of 1,18,53,088 (11.8 million) tourists in 2015, registering a growth rate of 9 per cent, said Utpal K. Pati, Deputy Director, Department of Tourism, Odisha. While 66,971 foreign tourist arrivals were recorded, 1,17,86,117 domestic tourists visited the state in 2015, he said during the state’s roadshow in New Delhi held on March 29. “We are mainly targeting the domestic market, especially tourists from Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh, and will be organising roadshows all over India. The other agenda is to improve connectivity to the region and involve more airlines to start direct flights to Odisha. Since Bhubaneshwar airport recently started operating to international destinations, we are hoping to see a growth of about 7-8 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals this year. We are also aggressively promoting the Buddhist circuit as numerous ancient Buddhist sites are located in the state,” informed Pati. The state tourism department is going orgainse 10 roadshows in the country this year.

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Delhi Budget: Rs 10 cr for tourism infrastructure development

Delhi Government has earmarked Rs 10 crore for development of tourism infrastructure in 2016-17. Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia announced this while presenting the 2016-17 Budget in the Delhi Assembly. The government also proposed to create a new campaign called ‘Brand Delhi’ and has earmarked Rs 30 crore for Brand Delhi and Delhi Festival in 2016-17. “We will re-develop the online presence of destination Delhi through websites, Apps, maps, social media and micro-sites,” Sisodia said. The government has also propose a skywalk way from Qutub Minar Metro Station to the Qutub Minar, a first of its kind is proposed to be developed in 2016-17. The said walkway will go over the Mehrauli archaeological complex.

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Luxury Tax threshold limit increased to Rs 1,500

In a bid to simplify tax regime, Delhi Government has announced increase in threshold limit of Luxury Tax from existing Rs 750 to Rs 1,500. “This will reduce tax burden on citizens and tourists and make it easy for small hotels to do business,” said Delhi Deputy Chief Minister and Finance Minister Manish Sisodia. The government has decided to introduce self declaration in Luxury Tax. Assessment of all hotels is compulsory and will be done on random basis. The revenue collection from Luxury Tax has seen an increase of 36.7 per cent. As against last year’s Rs 322 crore of revenue from Luxury Tax, this year will exceed Rs 440 crore is estimated to be collected. Last year, the government had enhanced Luxury Tax from 10 per cent to 15 per cent for all applicable establishment.

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AP received 122 million tourists in 2015

Andhra Pradesh reportedly attracted 1,218.3 lakh tourists in 2015 from across the globe. Domestic footfalls to the state increased to 1218.3 lakh in 2015 as against 933 lakh in 2014, thereby registering a growth of 30 per cent. Neerabh Kumar Prasad, I.A.S., Principal Secretary to Government, Tourism & Culture, says, “In our endeavor to make Andhra Pradesh as India’s most preferred tourist destination, this data comes to us as a great encouragement. Under the leadership of our Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu and with a focused strategy in place, we are hopeful of this growth momentum to be replicated year after year going forward. We will continue to invest and focus to develop tourism in Andhra Pradesh of global standard.” Anantapur district which houses the famous Puttaparthi and Lord Veerbhadra temple at Lepakshi, became the most visited destination by foreign tourists with a footfall of 1.37 lakh foreigners. Among international tourist arrivals, 2.37 lakh tourists visited the state during the year 2015 as against 66,333 visited in 2014. Majority of the foreign tourists were from the South – East Asian countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Middle East countries such as Dubai among others. Dr. R.P. Khajuria, I.F.S., Commissioner, Department of Tourism says, “Andhra Pradesh is one of the few states in India, which has such a rich diversity in terms of tourism and has the capacity to attract tourists across all age groups. The potential that lays ahead for the state is vast and these numbers are testimonials to the fact that increasing number of tourists both in India and abroad are realizing what the state can offer.” Andhra Pradesh also witnessed large number of footfalls from business travellers …

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Maharashtra tourism policy to boost investment

The new Maharashtra tourism policy will come in effect from April 1, 2016. The Maharashtra government has targeted an investment of about Rs 30,000 crore through the new policy which is expected to give a huge boost to the travel and hospitality industry in the state. Valsa Nair Singh, Principal Secretary Tourism & Cultural Affairs, Government of Maharashtra, who has been spearheading this, feels that the new policy will turn out to be the biggest launch pad for Maharashtra to reach to the top spot in the list of destinations for travellers. Apart from the regular databases and guidelines which the policy will be looking at, we have announced a very big basket of incentives for tourism investments. There is a VAT subsidy of 50-75 per cent depending on different slabs for any investments in Maharashtra apart from the luxury tax exemption, entertainment tax exemption, stamp duty, etc. We have also launched the single-window clearance for all investments related to hospitality businesses,” she says.

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Eco-friendly mine tourism a novel idea: PM Modi

Nagpur-based Western Coalfields Limited’s effort to promote eco-friendly Mine Tourism at a green zone within a coal mining belt at Saoner village, found its mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Mann Ki Baat’ speech. Modi who has been encouraging people to tour different parts of the country in his speeches, said Coal India deserves special mention for creating such a facility. He said that works like WCL’s eco-park at Saoner which has drawn 10,000 visitors so far can change the mindset.The eco-park, which was started in November 2015, is a major attraction situated at around 40 km from the city. It is a forested route up to two km from the Saoner town. The park has a water body, bamboo plantation and most of the natural forest has been kept in its original shape. Around 500 visitors come here on weekly basis and the entry, is free, he said. “Normally the very name of a coal mine gives an impression that one should stay away from such a place. The pictures available show that it may not be worthwhile visiting a mining area. However, WCL has turned a coal mine into an attractive tourist spot. Developing an eco-friendly tourist circuit in a coal mine area is indeed a novel idea,” Modi said in his speech.

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