Category Archives: States

Tourism Minister lays foundation stone for Spiritual Circuit in Kerala

Union Minister of State for Tourism, Alphons Kannanthanam laid the foundation stone for a spiritual circuit connecting Sivagiri Sree Narayana Guru Ashram, Arruvipuram, Kunnumpara Sree Subrahmania Swamy temple and Chembazhanthi Sree Narayana Gurukulam, at a function held at Sivagiri Mutt, Varkala near Thiruvananthapuram. The circuit will have facilities like a craft bazaar, bus shelters and an audio-video virtual reality show. Speaking on the occasion, Alphons said that the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned seven projects to Kerala under the Swadesh Darshan and Prashad schemes at an approximate amount of Rs 550 crore. He further said that Kerala’s future lies in exploring the possibilities in tourism sector. The project was sanctioned in January 2019 for Rs 69.47 crore.

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West Bengal & France sign MoU to redevelop Chandannagar as heritage tourism destination

Heritage and tourism in Chandannagar got a boost with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) recently between France and the Bengal government on the sidelines of the Bengal Global Business Summit. French ambassador Alexandre Ziegler, who was in Chandannagar to unveil plaques on three buildings enlisted by the West Bengal Heritage Commission, tweeted the event after signing the MoU late on Wednesday. “The agreement will initiate a very important revitalisation of Chandannagar’s Indo-French heritage,” he wrote. Tourism and home secretary Atri Bhattacharya said, “We have signed an MoU to together explore ways to redevelop Chandannagar heritage. There are some buildings that are either government property right now or can possibly be acquired. The French will do research and provide expertise in restoration and we will see in what phases we can fund restoration of heritage precincts.” Ziegler said, “With the MoU, we have now created a bilateral arrangement whereby we will provide technical expertise. Specialists in restoring monuments will come before summer for the first visit.” The MoU mentions only the Registry Office, the former French courthouse, by name. It was one of the buildings where a heritage plaque was unveiled on Wednesday. An estimate of the restoration cost will be drawn up with the help of French experts. The ambassador, on his fourth visit to Chandannagar , described the former French colony as “a jewel”. “You have history, charm, proximity to Calcutta… the potential for tourism is immense. Demonstrating what can be done in one building can have a snowball effect. Through honouring the past we are setting up a dynamic for the town’s economic development,” Ziegler said. Source: The Telegraph

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Kerala to cut tax on aviation fuel to 5 per cent for domestic airlines

To promote airlines to extend their service to Kerala, the Kerala government has decided to slash the tax on aviation fuel to 5 per cent from the current 28.75 per cent for domestic airlines. Making the announcement in the assembly during the discussion on the state budget for 2019-20, state’s Finance Minister TM Thomas Issac said that not only airports under the UDAN scheme but also non-UDAN airports would get the new tax breather in the state. “The tax on ATF will be reduced to 5 per cent from the existing 28.75 per cent for domestic airlines operating service from the state airports. A revenue loss of Rs 100 crore is expected through this,” he said. The tax cut is expected to benefit Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode international airports as the government had already decided to levy only 1 per cent fuel tax from airlines operating service from the newly commissioned Kannur airport. Aviation fuel accounts for a major portion of operating cost for airlines. The tax cut can help become Kerala an attractive destination for various airlines as neighboring states like Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are charging a state tax of 29 and 28 per cent, respectively on jet fuel. The tax cut benefits would benefit only domestic passengers as the international airlines that operate to and from the state have not been charging VAT as per the new GST regime.  

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J&K Governor reconstitutes Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board; K B Kachru on board

Jammu & Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik reconstituted the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) for a period of three years with immediate effect on February 5, 2019. Malik, who is also chairman of SMVDSB, nominated chairman of emeritus of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group K B Kachru, former IPS officer Ashok Bhan, Justice Permod Kohli, Major General Shiv Kumar Sharma, spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, renowned educationist Vijay Dhar and chairman-cum-managing director of AIMIL Pharmaceuticals K K Sharma as board members. Source: PTI

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J&K Tourism Secretary finalises arrangements for Jammu Mahotsav 2019 from February 8-10

Rigzin Samphel, Secretary—Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir, recenty chaired a review meeting to finalise the arrangements for Jammu Mahotsav 2019 set to be held from February 8-10. Samphel instructed the tourism department to work in coordination with other departments to mobilise maximum participation of people for making the festival a grand success. He asked the concerned to showcase the natural beauty and landscape, diverse culture, art and craft, cuisine and music to attract tourists during the festival. He also asked the tourism department to encourage the local tour operators, hoteliers and guest house owners to develop network with the best tour operators of the country to invite tourists for the festival and the upcoming tourist season.

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AITTC signs MoU with NEITO to open India’s North East Frontier for Australians

As per data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), India features as one of the most popular destinations for Australian travellers. However, travel to the eight North Eastern states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim – each of which is gifted with a diverse range of tourist attractions from splendid nature and diverse wildlife to colourful culture and vibrant history, has been limited. To boost this, Australia India Travel & Tourism Council (AITTC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with North East India Tour Operators Association (NEITO), which comprises Ministry of Tourism-approved inbound tour operators specialised for North East destinations. The MoU was signed by Madhushmita Khound , Secretary, NEITO in Guwahati and Sandip Hor, Chairman, AITTC in Sydney. The AITTC part of the signing was done in presence of B Vanlalvawna, Consul General of India in Sydney; Chandru Appar, Deputy Consul General of India in Sydney; Barbara Ward, President, NSW, Australia India Business Council; Phillip Bonicace, Co Chairman, AITTC and Vishnu Daram, Seccretary, AITTC. “This is a major step to put North East India under the tourism radar in Australia”, said Chairman Hor after the signing. According to him, attractions of the region like the Assam’s Brahmaputra River Cruise and the Kaziranga National Park, Tripura’s Royal Palaces Sikkim’s Himalayan beauty, Nagaland’s Hornbill Festival and many more have tremendous potential to add a new dimension to international tourism growth in India. The two main purposes of this MOU are to enhance destination knowledge among Australians and to facilitate the establishment of a suitable ‘travel & tourism connect’ between Australia and North East India.

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Goa Assembly imposes a fine of Rs 2,000 for drinking alcohol and cooking on beaches

The Goa Assembly has passed a bill amending a state tourism law, under which drinking alcohol, cooking and littering in tourist places will be a criminal offence. In fact, tourists are banned from carrying away bottles or cans containing liquor from stores selling alcohol in tourist places. According to the new amendment, violators of the law will be fined Rs 2,000, and if the violation is committed by more than one person, the group will have to pay Rs 10,000. There are, however, no penal provisions in the new law. The passing of the bill has been welcomed by Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) but cautioned that failure to implement the law would defeat the purpose.

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Surajkund International Crafts Mela attracts participants from 30 countries

Showcasing the diversity of handicrafts, handlooms and cultural fabric of India, the 33rd Surajkund International Crafts Mela, 2019 gets underway from February 1-17 at Surajkund Mela Ground, Faridabad. Speaking at a press meet for the event, Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Chairman, Surajkund Mela Authority said, “Tourists today are looking for immersive experiences and the 33rd Surajkund International Crafts Mela provides that very culturally enriching experience for visitors. We have craftspersons from all over India with participants from 30 countries.” Other dignitaries present at the event included Vikas Yadav, Managing Director, Haryana Tourism Corporation and Chief Administrator, Surajkund Mela Authority; Vijai Vardhan, Additional Chief Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Haryana and Vice Chairman, Surajkund Mela Authority. The event is organised by Surajkund Mela Authority and Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs. Maharashtra has been chosen as Theme State for the 33rd Surajkund International Crafts Mela 2019. A large number of renowned national and international folk artistes and cultural groups will present day performances at open-air theatres located in the Mela premises. The multi-cuisine food court provides ethnic cuisines from all over the world.

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Interact, network and forge business with industry players at Kerala Tourism Partnership Meet

The Department of Tourism, Kerala organised Kerala Tourism Partnership Meet 2019 in Delhi to brief the media and trade about developments and initiatives in the state besides highlighting its marketing and promotional plan for the year. The presentation was followed by a cultural programme that showcased Kerala’s dance, art and music forms. On the occasion, BS Biju, Tourist Information Officer, Kerala Tourism informed, “Delhi is one of the most promising markets for us. Business meetings are being organised by Kerala Tourism in both domestic and international markets annually as part of our marketing strategy. 32 tourism industry players and trade partners including tour operators, hotels and other service providers from Kerala held meetings with their counterparts in Delhi.” To further reach out to the domestic market, a series of Partnership Meets are planned in 10 cities. After Ludhiana, Chandigarh and Delhi, the Meets will be organised in Jaipur, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Chennai and Madurai in February. According to the data released by Kerala Tourism, domestic arrivals in the state increased to 1,46,73,520 translating into an 11.39 per cent year-on -year growth in 2017 while international arrivals during the year was 10,91,870, an increase of 5.15 per cent over the 2016’s figures.

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Kashmir records lowest footfall in 7 years

In 2018, Kashmir reportedly witnessed the lowest ever tourist footfall in the last seven years, recording only 8.5 lakh domestic and foreign tourists visiting the valley in total. This was a decline of about 23 per cent from 2017, which saw around 11 lakh tourists visitors to Kashmir. Zahoor Qari, Chairman—TAAI, J&K Chapter, said that the figures are by and far correct, and blamed the decline to negative media coverage about the state on electronic channels. “The decline in the number of tourists to Kashmir is because of the uncertainty projected by electronic media around the country. The smallest of incidents in the remotest part of the state is being highlighted in the media, which is not even close to the tourist sites in the valley. This works against the tourism in the state.” Despite actively participating in multiple travel trade shows around the country and abroad, the state witnessed the low visitor numbers. The tourism department also undertook many promotional initiatives in 2018 to boost the numbers. Qari said, “We even arranged a Fam trip for the media to Kashmir, but that also did not work. Instead, there was negative coverage on mainstream channels about Kashmir.”

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