ADDENDUM : How to deal with anxiety ? [-]
"Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength." - Corrie ten Boom

"Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems" - Epictetus

"Okay, so, flying," I started, taking a deep breath and focusing on the thing I loved most in the world. "Flying is … great. It feels great when you're doing it. It's fun. Pure freedom. There's nothing better." Dylan smiled, a slow, easy smile that seemed to light up his whole face. "So the first thing we're going to do," I told him, "is push you off the roof." - James Patterson, Fang

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Rising outbound Indian tourists heading towards Malaysia, S'pore, Thailand, Dubai: ASSOCHAM paper

NEW DELHI, MAY 15 : "The thing I always liked best about touring abroad was constantly running into different people, different cultures, different foods. It really pumped up my batteries... I'm constantly playing to a demographically diverse audience... one generation is driven by nostalgia, the next by curiosity. And that's why I have no plans to retire. _ Gene Pitney And so aggressive tour operators offering packages for as low as Rs 25,000-Rs 30,000 combined with rising aspirations of the upper middle class families to travel abroad has led to a robust increase of 29 per cent in outbound Indian tourists this summer with Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and Maldives emerging as the top and affordable destinations for the better-offs, an ASSOCHAM study has pointed out.

"All the pathos and irony of leaving one's youth behind is thus implicit in every joyous moment of travel: one knows that the first joy can never be recovered, and the wise traveler learns not to repeat successes but tries new places all the time." – Paul Fussell

Traveling is a brutality.

'Traveling is a brutality.'

It forces you to trust strangers

It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it." - Cesare Pavese

Things you did not do

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." – Mark Twain

Do not follow where the path may lead

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail" – Ralph Waldo Emerson  

 

9.3% growth in foreign tourist arrivals in November 2016 over the same period in 2015

 

USA accounts for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by UK and Bangladesh in November 2016

Rs. 14,474 Crore Foreign Exchange Earned Through Tourism in November 2016 00ff33 66ccff ffff99 00ffcc

Thesynegyonline Tourism Bureau


Tourist arrivals

Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs):

• FTAs during the Month of November, 2016 were 8.91 lakh as compared to FTAs of 8.16 lakh during the month of November, 2015 and 7.65 lakh in November, 2014. There has been a growth of 9.3% in November, 2016 over November, 2015. • FTAs during the period January- November, 2016 were 78.53 lakh with a growth of 10.4% as compared to the FTAs of 71.14 lakh with a growth of 4.7% in January- November, 2015 over January- November, 2014.

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NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 27 : Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in November 2016 recorded 9.3 per cent growth inover the same period in 2015. USA accounts for highest share of tourist arrivals followed by UK and Bangladesh in November 2016. Rs. 14, 474/- crore Foreign Exchange earned through tourism in November 2016.

Ministry of Tourism compiles monthly estimates of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) on the basis of Nationality-wise, Port-wise data received from Bureau of Immigration (BOI) and Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) from tourism on the basis of data available from Reserve Bank of India. The following are the important highlights regarding FTAs and FEEs from tourism during the month of November, 2016.

 

MTDC reintroduces “Nilambari
Open Deck Bus’ tour in Mumbai


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation reintroduces the Nilambari
Open deck bus tour in Mumbai

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation reintroduces the Nilambari Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation reintroduces the Nilambari

When: Every Saturday & Sunday from 29th October 2016 Timings: Ř 1st tour at 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Ř 2nd tour – 8:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. Pick Up Point – Gateway of India Price: (Above 3 years full fare for children) Ř Upper Deck : Rs. 180/- per head Ř Lower Deck : Rs. 60/- per head For bookings, contact MTDC Head Office, Tel no: 022-2284 5678, Gateway of India MTDC counter, Tel No: 022-2284 1877
 

 

 

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 27 :
"Dont let your dreams die, while you are still alive. There is no fulfilling joy and pleasure on this world than seeing what you ever thought and dreamed comes into reality."
― De philosopher DJ Kyos

And so Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation reintroduces the Nilambari open deck bus tour in Mumbai. This open deck bus tour will have a tour guide to make the tour entertaining, informative & enjoyable. In this one hour

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Life is similar to a bus ride.:
"Life is similar to a bus ride. The journey begins when we board the bus. We meet people along our way of which some are strangers, some friends and some strangers yet to be friends. There are stops at intervals and people board in. At times some of these people make their presence felt, leave an impact through their grace and beauty on us fellow passengers while on other occasions they remain indifferent. But then it is important for some people to make an exit, to get down and walk the paths they were destined to because if people always made an entrance and never left either for the better or worse, then we would feel suffocated and confused like those people in the bus, the purpose of the journey would lose its essence and the journey altogether would neither be worthwhile nor smooth." - Chirag Tulsiani
And the bell jangled, the driver started. The bus whirled off, to the last stop, the lonely room, the lonely night. - Brian Moore
Mama, I know you used to ride the bus. Riding the bus and it's hot and bumpy and crowded and too noisy and more than anything in the world you want to get off and the only reason in the world you don't get off is it's still fifty blocks from where you're going? Well, I can get off right now if I want to, because even if I ride fifty more years and get off then, it's the same place when I step down to it. Whenever I feel like it, I can get off. As soon as I've had enough, it's my stop. I've had enough. ? Marsha Norman, 'night, Mother
"You can order the sun to come up if you time it right. I'm not driving this bus. Making it do what I want would be like talking...."- James S A Corey

"A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station…. - William Faulkner


journey the tourist will get a glimpse of the past and present historical and archaeological buildings on the way. The tour will start from Gateway of India to Mantralaya followed by Oberoi Hotel; Marine Drive; Churchgate Railway Station ; Eros Theatre; Oval Maidan; Maharshi Karve Road; Rajabai Tower; CST Railway Station Building; D.N. Road; Hutatma Chowk Homi Modi Street; Horniman Circle;  Asiatic Library and again back to Gateway of India.

In any case, a little danger is a small price to pay for ridding a place of tourists."
― Tahir Shah, In Search of King Solomon's Mines

 

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"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move."
― Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

 

South Africa Tourism partners with Thomas Cook
to offer special holiday packages to South Africa

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

South Africa Tourism

I watched the surrounding landscape with great curiosity, and I wanted to discover the words that could describe all its unspoiled beauty." - Daniel J. Rice, The Unpeopled Season: Journal from a North Country Wilderness " - Mike Bond, The Last Savanna

"Landscapes we must owe something to the eye of the beholder. " - Mary Lascelles, Jane Austen And Her Art Sliding Text on Images

 
 

"The only real voyage consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes; in seeing the universe through the eyes of another, one hundred others-in seeing the hundred universes that each of them sees. Marcel Proust, translated by Kiyotesong" - Rob Brezsny, Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings

 
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 18 : “Over the years, one comes to measure a place, too, not just for the beauty it may give, the balminess of its breezes, the insouciance and relaxation it encourages, the sublime pleasures it offers, but for what it teaches. The way in which it alters our perception of the human. It is not so much that you want to return to indifferent or difficult places, but that you want to not forget.”
― Barry López, About This Life

And so as the holiday season approaches, it's time to put on the planning hats and book those long due vacations. Rising to the occasion, South African Tourism has partnered with Thomas Cook to offer exciting travel packages and deals for Indian travellers. Tourists eager to enjoy their Diwali and Christmas holidays in South Africa, now have the opportunity to take advantage of the special, fun-filled, activity and experience rich holiday itineraries from Thomas Cook in association with South African Tourism.

Commenting on this joint marketing activity, Ms. Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager, South African Tourism said, "We constantly endeavor to create exciting and innovative experiences for our visitors. We would love for more Indians to come and witness the wonder that is South Africa – to truly experience and know the country like the locals. In close partnership with a leading travel trade partner like Thomas Cook, we hope to ensure that our Indian visitors have the best and most memorable experience from the minute they begin planning their trip. With a favorable exchange rate, Indian travellers going to South Africa will get an exceptional value on the ground as they can partake in so many more activities and experiences in their desired budget."

Mr. Rajeev Kale – President and Country Head – Leisure Travel & MICE, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd says, "For our Teams at Thomas Cook India, our partnership with South Africa Tourism has had a significant positive impact- South Africa has now emerged as one of our fastest growth long haul destinations for Indian outbound travelers! Our upcoming campaign is strategic and focused on a 3 pronged delivery: strong growth of over 15%; inspire demand not only for popular choices across individual and group travellers (Cape Town, Garden Route, Johannesburg, Sun City), but equally showcase newer regions like Kruger, Franschhoek, etc., and thirdly, catalyse uptake for fresh new opportunities like self-drives and winter-travel."

Mr. Kale added, "Our marcom approach of print and digital intends to showcase South Africa's exotic locales and engaging experiences to capture 3 key segments- the family, India's Gen Y and honeymooners."

As part of their special packages, Thomas Cook showcases the vibrant and fresher aspects of South Africa to the Indian travelers. These specially created packages also incorporate newer regions such as Knysna, Sun City and Kruger under the group package - South African Royale with Kruger, and Cape Town, Knysna, Suncity, Shamwari Game Reserve, Franschhoek under the customized package - South Africa Honeymoon Special.

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  • This is the grand fiction of tourism, that bringing our bodies somewhere draws that place closer to us, or we to it. It's a quick fix of empathy." - Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams: Essays
  • "Enough fine weather and money and a few memorable meals make any place desirable." - Elizabeth McCracken, The Giant's House
  • "Every voyage is self-awaken."
  • "There is no place like the beach... where the land meets the sea and the sea meats the sky"
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  • "The beautiful affair of sun, sky and the sea brings a perfect moment of love, peace and joy"
  • Sea-fever I must down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking, And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking. I must down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying. I must down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife; And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over."- John Masefield, Sea Fever: Selected Poems
  • "This was how it was with travel: one city gives you gifts, another robs you. One gives you the heart's affections, the other destroys your soul. Cities and countries are as alive and feeling, as fickle and uncertain as people. Their degrees of love and devotion are as varying as with any human relation. Just as one is good, another is bad." ? Roman Payne, Cities & Countries
  • "The greatest journey of discovery that the human can take is not through the universe or to the remotest location on earth, it is the voyage through the human mind." - Steven Magee
  • "With great passion, observe every details of the sacred journey."
  • "From all that I saw, and everywhere I wandered, I learned that time cannot be spent, It only can be squandered." - Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy
 


According to the recent tourist arrival figures, an increasing number of Indian tourists have been traveling to South Africa. As per the latest arrival figures for July 2016, 58,876 Indian tourists have visited South Africa between Jan 2016 to July 2016 which is an increase of 28.1% vis-à-vis the same period last year.

The growing popularity of South Africa in India can be substantiated with the number of awards and accolades won by the tourism board in the recent years. South Africa has been voted the Best Destination for Wildlife (International) for five consecutive years since 2012 by Lonely Planet magazine and also at the Safari India National Tourism Award 2016. It has also bagged the Best International Adventure Destination award by Today's Traveller earlier this year. In addition, the Kruger National Park was awarded the prestigious Best in Wildlife

Destination title at the Outlook Traveller Award 2016. South African Tourism board has also received the best National Tourism Organization distinction at Travel Trade Journal Award 2016 and India Travel Awards (West) 2016 for the outstanding support extended towards Indian Trade Partners. All these recognitions not only reiterate the growing popularity of the Rainbow Nation but also encourage South African Tourism to enhance its consumer and trade engagement programmes to continue promoting the destination in India.

 


The landscape belongs to the person who looks at it..." -Ralph Waldo Emerson"
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Rising outbound Indian tourists heading towards Malaysia, S'pore, Thailand, Dubai: ASSOCHAM


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

An awesome picture

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."

"It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end."

 

NEW DELHI, MAY 15 :
"The thing I always liked best about touring abroad was constantly running into different people, different cultures, different foods. It really pumped up my batteries... I'm constantly playing to a demographically diverse audience... one generation is driven by nostalgia, the next by curiosity. And that's why I have no plans to retire. - Gene Pitney

And so aggressive tour operators offering packages for as low as Rs 25,000-Rs 30,000 combined with rising aspirations of the upper middle class families to travel abroad has led to a robust increase of 29 per cent in outbound Indian tourists this summer with Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai and Maldives emerging as the top and affordable destinations for the better-offs, an ASSOCHAM study has pointed out.

Excessive heat in most parts of the country, particularly in the North, coupled with attractive packages for nearby countries like Dubai, Singapore, Thailand ,Malaysia, Europe etc are wooing the well-off middle class to opt for such destinations, highlights the ASSOCHAM Tourism Development Council (ATDC) paper.

Despite the economic slowdown and currency fluctuations, India's outbound tourism market has increased by 29 per cent this year as compared to last season (20 per cent), reveals the associated chamber of commerce and industry of India (ASSOCHAM) findings.

"Think of a globe, a revolving globe on a stand. Think of a contour globe, whose mountain ranges cast shadows, whose continents rise in bas-relief above the oceans. But then: think of how it really is. These heights are just suggested; they're there….when I think of walking across a continent I think of all the neighborhood hills, the tiny grades up which children drag their sleds. It is all so sculptured, three-dimensional, casting a shadow. What if you had an enormous globe that was so huge it showed roads and houses- a geological survey globe, a quarter of a mile to an inch- of the whole world, and the ocean floor! Looking at it, you would know what had to be left out: the free-standing sculptural arrangement of furniture in rooms, the jumble of broken rocks in the creek bed, tools in a box, labyrinthine ocean liners, the shape of snapdragons, walrus. Where is the one thing you care about in earth, the molding of one face? The relief globe couldn't begin to show trees, between whose overlapping boughs birds raise broods, or the furrows in bark, where whole creatures, creatures easily visible, live our their lives and call it world enough. What do I make of all this texture? What does it mean about the kind of world in which I have been set down? The texture of the world, its filigree and scrollwork, means that there is a possibility for beauty here, a beauty inexhaustible in its complexity, which opens to my knock, which answers in me a call I do not remember calling, and which trains me to the wild and extravagant nature of the spirit I seek." - Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

"Sometimes in the summer evenings they walked up the hill to watch the afterglow clinging to the tops of the western mountains and to feel the breeze drawn into the valley by the rising day-heated air. Usually they stood silently for a while and breathed in peacefulness. Since both were shy they never talked about themselves. Neither knew about the other at all." - John Steinbeck, East of Eden

"I have before now experienced that the best way to get a vivid impression and feeling of a landscape is to sit down before it and read, or become otherwise absorbed in thought; for then, when our eyes happen to be attracted to the landscape, you seem to catch Nature at unawares, and see her before she has time to change her aspect. The effect lasts but for a single instant, and passes away almost as soon as you are conscious of it; but it is real for that moment. It is as if you could overhear and understand what the trees are whispering to one another; as if you caught a glimpse of a face unveiled, which veils itself from every willful glance. The mystery is revealed, and, after a breath or two, becomes just as much a mystery as before." - Nathaniel Hawthorne

And as we stood there, a curious thing happened: a kind of window opened in the rain, just as if a cloud had been hitched aside like a curtain, and in the space between we saw a landscape that took our breath away. The high ground along which the road ran fell away through a black, woody belt, and beyond it, for more miles than you can imagine, lay the whole basin of the Black Country, clear, amazingly clear, with innumerable smokestacks rising out of it like the merchant shipping of the world laid up in an estuary at low tide, each chimney flying a great pennant of smoke that blew away eastward by the wind, and the whole scene bleared by the light of a sulphurous sunset. No one need ever tell me again that the Black Country isn't beautiful. In all Shrophire and Radnor we'd seen nothing to touch it for vastness and savagery. And then this apocalyptic light! It was like a landscape of the end of the world, and, curiously enough, though men had built the chimneys and fired the furnaces that fed the smoke, you felt that the magnificence of the scene owed nothing to them. Its beauty was singularly inhuman and its terror – for it was terrible, you know – elemental. It made me wonder why you people who were born and bred there ever write about anything else." - Francis Brett Young, Cold Harbour

 


The ease of travelling has also gone up- right from hotel booking, airlines booking and transfers from and to hotels are all available on a click of a button", said Mr D S Rawat ASSOCHAM Secretary General .

The tour packages are available as low as Rs 25,000-30,000 for outbound trips. In fact some of the overseas destinations like Thailand are working out cheaper than the domestic destinations like Kerala for Delhiites, tempting the families to go abroad for holidays, adds the paper.
The sectors like aviation and tour operators are doing brisk business this summer season. According to the paper, international tourist destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Maldives, China and South Africa will be Indian travellers' favorites this summer.

European countries, which for long remained favourite for tourists from India are being replaced by cheaper destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore etc. interest in cruise packages too has increased. Honeymooners enquire about Morocco, Spain, Portugal and prefer Kenya for wildlife etc, adds the paper.

The growth in the Indian travel and tourism industry is driven by a combination of rising income levels and changing lifestyles, development of diverse tourism offerings, and policy and regulatory support by the government authorities, said Mr. Rawat.

India is one of the fastest-growing outbound travel markets in the world, said Mr. Rawat. India offers enormous potential for future growth in outbound travel. Whether to meet a relative settled abroad, a shopping trip, a global sport event or just for leisure, Indians are increasingly travelling abroad. Personal and Official Travel for holiday/ leisure, business are the most significant contributors for growing outbound travel.


As per the prior estimates, India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020. While business travel and holiday dominates outbound volumes, people are also opting for niche products like sports tourism, luxury travels, honeymoon packages and cruises.
Countries like Indonesia, Philippines, Mauritius and Egypt are also seeing an increase in influx of Indian tourists. Increased promotional activities by travel agents will further drive outbound departures to many new destinations in the years to come.

Succinctly [-]
Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost. - Erol Ozan

"When moving at the speed of light the time stops and space ceases to exist."
― Joseph Rain

Sometimes it's worth lingering on the journey for a while before getting to the destination."

New Tourism Policy to emphasise on
promoting MICE tourism in India

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

The feeling of a place is the best reason to go

 

NEW DELHI, APRIL 12 :
"The Sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it's here is up to us. Journey wisely." - Alexandra Elle

And so the new civil aviation policy of the union government which is quite on the cards, will address both the issues of opening up the skies and regional connectivity in a very aggressive and fulfilling manner, a top Tourism Ministry official said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi today.

"The new tourism policy, which is just a matter of time, is going to highlight and emphasise a lot on the possibility of increasing Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Events (MICE) into India," said Mr Vinod Zutshi, secretary, Ministry of Tourism while inaugurating a 'Thought Leadership Meet on MICE Tourism in India,' organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Talking about the e-visa for MICE, Mr Zutshi, "We had a meeting with the Ministry of Home Affairs a few days ago, we insisted on MICE e-visa as well, we have been trying very hard for e-visa for MICE and medical and we are hopeful to have this e-visa to see the light of the day, particularly for business tourists to begin with but we are insisting that ultimately the conference visa should also be done, which we have been assured that it will be, step-by-step."

He also said that government had sanctioned 20 projects with an investment worth Rs 2,000 crore for infrastructure under Swadesh and Prasad schemes in terms of - coastal, eco, wildlife, Buddhist tourism circuits.

Talking about the tourism growth rate in India, he said, "We have regained the pace that we had between 2010 and 2014, touching as much as 7-10 per cent, after a lean period of about a year in 2015, we are back in action."

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"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move." - Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes

 

"The first two months January and February have recorded as much as 9.6 per cent growth, as far as FTAs (foreign tourist arrivals) are concerned," said Mr Zutshi. "Even the domestic tourism is booming with 14 per cent continuous growth rate and with an aim of achieving even more than 15 per cent augurs well as far as growth of both domestic and foreign tourism is concerned."

"I think lot of credit goes to the peaceful and conducive environment in terms of law and order," he added.

He also said that there is a need to identify coastal areas that can be developed as MICE tourist destinations in India, more so as there had been an investment worth Rs 500 crore made in promoting tourism in coastal states.

He also informed that the union government is working with state governments to develop Khajuraho, Sanchi, Bodhgaya, Varanasi and Tirupati as MICE tourism destinations in India.

Emphasising upon the need for aggressive promotion, marketing and branding, Mr Zutshi called for synergy between private tour operators and the government to promote tourism sector in India.

Talking about India's weakness in international bidding, he said, "We need to introspect and see what can be done, we tried in the last budget, as a pre-budget measure, we made a proposal to the Ministry of Finance to have a corpus by which we can be more aggressive while doing international bidding for MICE events, unfortunately it could not see the light of the day, but we will keep making those efforts."

Mr Zutshi said that India as a tourist destination had gained lot of mileage from the foreign visits of the Prime Minister. "The kind of visibility India has achieved in the form of visits of the Prime Minister all over the world, this is something by which we are drawing lot of mileage, the visit is followed by memorandum of understanding, bilateral agreements, media coverage and the international conferences being held."

Tourism [-]
"Not too long ago thousands spent their lives as recluses to find spiritual vision in the solitude of nature. Modern man need not become a hermit to achieve this goal, for it is neither ecstasy nor world-estranged mysticism his era demands, but a balance between quantitative and qualitative reality. Modern man, with his reduced capacity for intuitive perception, is unlikely to benefit from the contemplative life of a hermit in the wilderness. But what he can do is to give undivided attention, at times, to a natural phenomenon, observing it in detail, and recalling all the scientific facts about it he may remember. Gradually, however, he must silence his thoughts and, for moments at least, forget all his personal cares and desires, until nothing remains in his soul but awe for the miracle before him. Such efforts are like journeys beyond the boundaries of narrow self-love and, although the process of intuitive awakening is laborious and slow, its rewards are noticeable from the very first. If pursued through the course of years, something will begin to stir in the human soul, a sense of kinship with the forces of life consciousness which rule the world of plants and animals, and with the powers which determine the laws of matter. While analytical intellect may well be called the most precious fruit of the Modern Age, it must not be allowed to rule supreme in matters of cognition. If science is to bring happiness and real progress to the world, it needs the warmth of man's heart just as much as the cold inquisitiveness of his brain." - Franz Winkler

Not I, nor anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it by yourself. It is not far. It is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere - on water and land." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

"Perfectly Imperfect We have all heard that no two snowflakes are alike. Each snowflake takes the perfect form for the maximum efficiency and effectiveness for its journey. And while the universal force of gravity gives them a shared destination, the expansive space in the air gives each snowflake the opportunity to take their own path. They are on the same journey, but each takes a different path. Along this gravity-driven journey, some snowflakes collide and damage each other, some collide and join together, some are influenced by wind... there are so many transitions and changes that take place along the journey of the snowflake. But, no matter what the transition, the snowflake always finds itself perfectly shaped for its journey. I find parallels in nature to be a beautiful reflection of grand orchestration. One of these parallels is of snowflakes and us. We, too, are all headed in the same direction. We are being driven by a universal force to the same destination. We are all individuals taking different journeys and along our journey, we sometimes bump into each other, we cross paths, we become altered... we take different physical forms. But at all times we too are 100% perfectly imperfect. At every given moment we are absolutely perfect for what is required for our journey. I'm not perfect for your journey and you're not perfect for my journey, but I'm perfect for my journey and you're perfect for your journey. We're heading to the same place, we're taking different routes, but we're both exactly perfect the way we are. Think of what understanding this great orchestration could mean for relationships. Imagine interacting with others knowing that they too each share this parallel with the snowflake. Like you, they are headed to the same place and no matter what they may appear like to you, they have taken the perfect form for their journey. How strong our relationships would be if we could see and respect that we are all perfectly imperfect for our journey."

But nothing will persuade me that the mere fact of being in a place is enough in itself to justify the effort of getting out of bed to become a tourist, or even a traveller. I don't have the slightest wish to be intrepid. I don't want to prove myself to myself or anyone else. I don't care if no one thinks me brave or hardy. I have no concern at all that I did not have whatever it is I should have had to take a dive out of a plane or off a building. None of that matters to me in the least." - Jenny Diski, On Trying to Keep Still

"I wore only black socks, because I had heard that white ones were the classic sign of the American tourist. Black ones though,- those'll fool 'em. I supposed I hoped the European locals' conversation would go something like this: PIERRE: Ha! Look at that tourist with his camera and guidebook! JACQUES: Wait, but observe his socks! They are...black! PIERRE: Zut alors! You are correct! He is one of us! What a fool I am! Let us go speak to him in English and invite him to lunch!" - Doug Mack, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide

Some beautiful paths can't be discovered without getting lost.- Erol Ozan "I have an idea that some men are born out of their due place. Accident has cast them amid certain surroundings, but they have always a nostalgia for a home they know not. They are strangers in their birthplace, and the leafy lanes they have known from childhood or the populous streets in which they have played, remain but a place of passage. They may spend their whole lives aliens among their kindred and remain aloof among the only scenes they have ever known. Perhaps it is this sense of strangeness that sends men far and wide in the search for something permanent, to which they may attach themselves. Perhaps some deep-rooted atavism urges the wanderer back to lands which his ancestors left in the dim beginnings of history." - W. Somerset Maugham, The Moon and Sixpence

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." - André Gide

Sunrise of Mountain Emei


 

  • "See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security." - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

Sichuan Tourism plans to promote
tourism from India to China

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

Leshan Giant Buddha

 

 

NEW DELHI, APRIL 07 :
" This is the grand fiction of tourism, that bringing our bodies somewhere draws that place closer to us, or we to it. It's a quick fix of empathy."
- Leslie Jamison, The Empathy Exams: Essays

And so subsequent to the announcement of beginning of China India Tourism Year in India in January 2016, a move basis the decision jointly taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping to enhance tourism between the countries, a delegation from China and the Tourism Administration of Sichuan, one of the largest provinces of China held conference in New Delhi on Thursday to boost tourism from India to Sichuan.


Known for its Giant Pandas and world famous spicy cuisine, Sichuan and its Tourism Administration aimed through this conference to spread better awareness about the province amongst Indian travellers with its tagline as "Sichuan - More than Pandas".

Sichuan located in the hinterland of south west China has complex and diverse topography with plateaus in west, Sichuan basin in middle and hilly region in east. Sichuan has favourable geographical and ecological resources with more than 4000 tourist attractions which includes 9 of 5A level scenic spots, 5 world heritage sites, 4 world biosphere reserves, 2 World Geo Parks, 21 China's best tourist cities. The complex and volatile natural environment of Sichuan gives birth to a rich wildlife making it a home to rare species including 80 per cent of the world's giant pandas, Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey, black bears, rare birds, plants and trees.

The conference also highlighted that Sichuan is gifted with remarkable world cultural heritage by throwing light on ancient Chinese masterpieces.

  • At the conference, Sichuan Tourism Administration also unveiled the trial measures and the incentive programmes planned to be soon launched by Sichuan Tourism Administration for India including incentive program for Chartered Flight, incentive program for selling Sichuan Tourism related products and incentive program for organizing tourism amongst others.

A prominent name amongst these at the conference was Dujiangyan Irrigation Project in Sichuan which has made its mark as one of the world heritage sites and "ancestor of the world's water conservancy culture". The UNESCO-listed Dujiangyan site shows how ancient Chinese ingenuity mastered the raging waters of the rivers running down from the Tibetan foothills at a furious speed back over 2,200 years. This brilliant system transferred what was a hazardous series of floods into the life force of the province as it filled the otherwise dry plains of Chengdu, Sichuan.

Dujiangyan irrigation infrastructure is the only existing ancient hydro-power project featuring diversions without a dam in the world. It is still in use today and has many historic sites surrounding the area. Another famous historic and cultural tourist attraction - Mount Qingcheng which is listed as a world heritage site and is located to the southwest of Dujiangyan was highlighted during the conference. Mount Qingcheng is one of the birthplaces of China's Taoism and is reputed for the Taoist culture, ancient architecture, temples and historical and cultural deposit of this ancient city ruled by various dynasties in the past.

Sichuan Tourism

"Travelling is not just an activity, it's the art of broadening your vision through the priceless experience." - Wayne Chirisa
 

Another cultural heritage which was brought to light in the Conference was the Leshan Giant Buddha or Lingyun Giant Buddha which is the sculpture of a seated Maitreya Buddha located at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in southern Sichuan, close to the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture carved out from a cliff faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below its feet. Built in Tang Dynasty, this stone sculpture is the largest stone-carved sitting Maitreya Buddha in the world. Mount Emei Scenic Area including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and easily rivals other famous stone carvings such as the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.

As one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China, Mt. Emei features more than 26 temples including 8 major ones which frequently hold Buddhist ceremonies. Mt. Emei has a steep terrain and boasts of great natural scenery. It is covered by more than 3,000 kinds of plants, including a number of rare trees.

Apart from the abovementioned cultural world heritage, the Conference through various presentations highlighted the other diverse natural scenic spots and landscapes of Sichuan of immense tourist significance. This included Jiuzhaigou Valley, a nature reserve and national park located in the northern part of Sichuan which owing to its beautiful landscape has been branded as "fairyland on earth" and is as well as listed as both natural World Heritage Site and World Biosphere Reseve. Jiuzhaigou Valley is highly acclaimed as a tourist attraction for nature lovers with its crystal lakes, multi-level waterfalls, colourful forests, snow-capped peaks and Tibetan culture.
"It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancolies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling." - Gustave Flaubert, Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour

Curiously, over 140 types of birds can be found in the valley, together with many other kinds of endangered animals and plants including pandas and Sichuan takins. Another natural scenic beauty from Sichuan which finds place in World Heritage Sites is Huanglong for its mesmerizing colourful ponds, snow peaks, emerald lakes, layers of waterfalls and hotsprings. With its diversity in forest ecosystems, Huanglong is home to many endangered species including the giant panda and the Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey.

The conference also delved upon the other diverse natural resources and scenic beauties which Sichuan promises to tourists who are nature lovers. These included Sichuan giant panda sanctuaries, beautiful alpine valley sceneries, colourful forests including extra ordinary natural bamboo forest, snow peaks, crystal glaciers, waterfalls, hot and cold springs, grass lands, hills, glaciers, wetlands, turbulent rivers and deep valleys.

The conference further highlighted the great reputation enjoyed by the spicy Sichuan cuisine famous worldwide for its spices, unique cooking and heavy local hot and spicy flavour. In nutshell, it reiterated what is often said that "To eat in China, taste in Sichuan".

Being inhabited by multiple ethnic groups with China's largest Yi ghetto and the only place in China where Qiang ethnic group resides, Sichuan is known as the "the Ethnic Corridor". The tradition, local customs and culture of Sichuan is brought alive in various art and cultural forms such as Sichuan opera, the oldest form of Chinese opera characterized by face-changing, fire-spitting and other stunts; tea art performances; puppet shows; lamp rolling. To give a glimpse of the rich art, culture and tradition enjoyed by Sichuan, the conference will be followed by a Cultural Evening in Delhi on 9th April, 2016 showcasing art and cultural performance by artists from China.

Present at the conference, Mr. Wang Ning, Executive Vice Governor, Sichuan remarked "I am hopeful that the Conference will help Indian people better understand Sichuan and create a positive atmosphere for the tourism in Sichuan from India. Both India and Sichuan are fascinating tourism destination. Just like India, Sichuan has rich ancient heritage, cultural diversity and centuries old civilization which we take pride immense pride in."

Mr. Song Ming, Deputy Director General, Sichuan Tourism Administration who was also present in the conference said "With its picturesque scenery, rich wildlife, unique religious beliefs, rustic folk customs and magnificent history, Sichuan is a magical land for traveller who feels after coming to Sichuan that living in utopia is no longer a distant dream." He further added that "This Conference is an important launching pad for us to boost tourism from India to Sichuan and is a precursor of an action plan that includes a number of incentives and trial measures for travellers as well as tour operators from India."

Also present at the conference were other dignitaries including Mr Le Yucheng, Chinese Ambassador to India. The conference was organised in India by Pettitts India Tours Pvt. Ltd.. The conference concluded with signing of agreement between 3 major Indian outbound tour operators and Chengdu Anyi International Travel Service, China.

 

Tourism Slideshow

"If the desert allows the trees to proliferate, the desert shall disappear! Therefore the desert has no choice but to be the enemy of the trees!"

Jaisalmer Desert Festival: R'sthan unplugged

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

 

JAISALMER, FEBRUARY 14 :
"Where is my oasis? Too far from
here for me to crawl with these
dead legs, refusing to co-operate
Hands and fingers clawing uselessly
through the grains of sand..."
― Kiera Woodhull, Chaos of the Mind

And so this February, the Jaisalmer Desert Festival is your definitive one-stop to take a deep dive into the colours, the sounds, the smells, the sights, the glory and that unadulterated bliss that is Rajasthan.

"Journeys are the midwives of thought. Few places are more conducive to internal conversations than moving planes, ships or trains.”
― Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

The Jaisalmer Desert Festival returns with a melange of eclectic renditions and soulful melodies in a resplendent celebration of awe-inspiring Rajasthani art and culture. Romantic, remote and unspoiled, the festival is set to the backdrop of the majestic city's forts, the Gadisar Lake and then the beautiful dunes of the Thar Desert.

"In the desert I had found a freedom unattainable in civilization; a life unhampered by possessions, since everything that was not a necessity was an encumbrance. I had found too, a comradeship inherent in the circumstances, and the belief that tranquility was to be found there." - Wilfred Thesiger

The festival, spread across three days, is a colourful extravaganza of the art, music and culture of Rajasthan with a strong message of revival of local arts and folk music together with women empowerment. True to its legacy this year too the Jaisalmer Desert Festival coincides with the Magh Pournima (full moon day of the Hindu month of Magh that essentially falls in February), as it runs from February February 20 to 22,, 2016.

"Jaisalmer Desert Festival presents Jaisalmer in its true glory. Not only is it the pulse of the locals but it also appeals to the well-traveled Indian together with international tourists. The Festival is a medley of culture, folklore, music, dance, traditional competitions and more, and attracts people across age-groups with a growing community every year. For every participant of this three-day fiesta the promise is an undiluted taste of Rajasthan and Jaisalmer," said Shailendra Agarwal, Principal Secretary, the Department of Tourism and Federation of Hospitality and Tourism of Rajasthan

PIERRE: Ha! Look at that tourist with his camera and guidebook!
JACQUES: Wait, but observe his socks! They are...black!
PIERRE: Zut alors! You are correct! He is one of us! What a fool I am! Let us go speak to him in English and invite him to lunch!"
― Doug Mack, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide

Celebrated as one of the "must do" things in Rajasthan this season, the entire city, including the stretch of Sam sand dunes (42 km from Jaisalmer), will turn into a montage of vibrant colours, festivities and enthrallment. The celebrations of this festival make the desert come alive with color, enthusiasm and happiness. Even as it focusses on wholesome entertainment and engagement; at its core the Festival focuses on reviving the local arts, the local crafts and the sounds that are so Rajasthan.

"Jaisalmer Desert Festival is not an implant but a homegrown coming together of Jaisalmer's people in festivity and tradition. It is Rajasthan as Rajasthan is: pure, undiluted; a sensory overload. As partners and consultants, Percept One has endeavoured to present Jaisalmer and its historic Desert Festival at its pristine best. A work in progress we endeavour to elevate the experience year on year," explained Nupur Mahajan, CEO Percept One.

The festival begins with a ceremonial procession known as Shobha Yatra where local Rajputs and other clans dress in their traditional attire. Men carrying swords atop horses, camels, and elephants are cheered on as they enter the Dedansar Stadium, one of the main venues of the desert festival. The locals dress in traditional and bright costumes. They sing and dance depicting the tragedies and accomplishments of the desert. The Gair and the fire dance are highlights of the festival among other Indian dance forms like Lavani and Kalaripayattu.

The Kalabaz or the Nats are a group of local nomads who are popular for their gymnastic acts. The Bhopa's Langhas and Manganiars create an enchanting environment with their poignant folk music recitals and ballads.

"If the desert allows the trees to proliferate, the desert shall disappear! Therefore the desert has no choice but to be the enemy of the trees!"

Be a spectator of rare competitions like camel polo. Cheer for camel races. Gymnastic stunts on camel back and camel formation dancing are the crowning jewels of the festival. The Border Security Force Camel Tattoo follows these competitions. Tug-of-war, turban tying, Maru-Shri (Mr. Desert competition) and the longest moustache competition are other allures seepd both in a rich legacy and equally a contemporary setting.

Folk music is at the very core of the festival and this year performers include the mellifluous Swaroop Khan and the celebrated folk singer Manganiyar Ghazi Khan. Kutle Khan - the voice of Jaisalmer, would make the desert come alive during the grand finale...an evening set at the majestic Sam sand Dunes.

The festival also takes a plunge into rendition of old folklore Moomal Mahendra wherein Princess Moomal set herself on fire (Sati) to prove her love for Prince Mahendra. This year the highlights include "Jaisalmer's Got Talent" – a talent hunt and felicitation of local artistes & performers from the fields of art and music. Ecelectic food, interesting stalls displaying artifacts, handicrafts and other souvenirs will also be a Festival highlight. Desert safari and camping can be also enjoyed at the eve of the festival.

The festival is a sensory overload of all things Rajasthani, which is extensively popular with tourists from across the globe. The festival ends in the Sam dunes with the "Sonar Qila" Jaisalmer Fort in the background creating a fairy-tale ambiance with a promise to come back with even more fun and entertainment next year.

Finally, "The desert could not be claimed or owned–it was a piece of cloth carried by winds, never held down by stones, and given a hundred shifting names... Its caravans, those strange rambling feasts and cultures, left nothing behind, not an ember. All of us, even those with European homes and children in the distance, wished to remove the clothing of our countries. It was a place of faith. We disappeared into landscape."
― Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

"may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone." - E.E. Cummings 

3-day trip to Ranthambore an
eye-opener for PR aficionados


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

 
PRSI trip to Ranthambore;

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 28 :
"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." - Albert Einstein

Delhi Chapter of Public Relations Society of India (PRSI) organized a three - day trip to Ranthambore National Park from January 23 to 25 , 2016. Public Relation professionals from PSUs, Media, Consultants, Advertising and PR Agencies along with their families participated to explore the communication in the midst of nature and wildlife.
"You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.

So the nature study tour provided a great opportunity for understanding the beauty of communication with nature. During this visit various team building and communication activities related with nature were organised in order to inculcate and bonding amongst the members.

"I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy." - Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

An interactive session was held with Mr Sudarshan Sharma, DFO of Ranthambore National Park wherein discussions were held on their PR strategy to woo the visitors and development of tourism of the area. The session was highly informative and inspiring for all the members and their families.

"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As longs as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."

Mr S. Rajagopalan, Chairman, PRSI and GM (PR), CONCOR urged the members to actively participate in all the activities so as to create better bonding amongst the members.

The Vice Chairman PRSI, Mr Naresh Kumar and Asst. GM (Corp. Comm.) PowerGrid, Mr Anuj Dayal Executive Director, (Corp. Comm.) Delhi Metro, Mr Amandeep Singh, General Manager, Corporate Communications, Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) , Mr Manjul Tiwari, DGM (PR) NTPC, Mr Ashok Tiwari, DGM (PR) NTPC, Mr. Rama Vijay, DGM (PR) REC and other prominent PR professionals from renowned media agencies shared their valuable inputs and insights on Communication Management on this occasion.

Curiously, PRSI, Delhi Chapter consists of more than 125 members comprising of PR Professionals, Advertising, Marketing and media persons as members. The Delhi chapter organizes seminars, workshops and short-term training programs. The chapter in its pursuit of impacting life and the profession takes up broadbased public affairs programs also on wide ranging issues.

Finally, in bonding "Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone's hand is the beginning of a journey.
At other times, it is allowing another to take yours."

Tourism Slideshow

"I love to show off my ability in a nice way."- Yani Tseng 

Odisha Tourism roadshow at India's
spiritual and religious capital Varanasi

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau


Orissa Tourism minister Ashok Chandra Panda holds road show in Varanasi
 

VARANASI, JANUARY 21:
I show off - I'm a very good show off. It's what I do, it's what I'm good at.
Robbie Williams

The Department of Tourism (DoT), Government of Odisha, in it's bid to attract domestic tourists from an important source state Uttar Pradesh and Varanasi, the religious and cultural capital of India organising its roadshow here on Thursday . The objective is to promote the state and its variety of tourism products in the holy city.

Located on the eastern coast of the country, Odisha is a tourists' paradise and has many stunning destinations which offer a visual feast to the tourists & visitors. It also throws an educative and culturally pleasing insight into one of the oldest civilizations of the World. The road show will benefit and provide information on Odisha Tourism to the tour lovers, tour operators, travel agents, travel writers, journalists, decision makers etc.

"Odisha is famous for its golden beaches, sprawling lakes, luxuriant forests, teeming wildlife, majestic temples & monuments, Buddhist sites, exotic handloom & handicrafts, primitive tribes, colourful fairs and festivals and the scintillating music, dances and cuisine which attract large number of tourists." said Mr Ashok Chandra Panda, Hon. Minister of Tourism and Culture, Government of Odisha .Mr Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director, MAITsaid, "These workshops are aimed at sharing best practices in IT procurement procedures. It is quite heartening to see government officials come in such large numbers and participate actively in the discussions. Karnataka has always been at the forefront when it comes to IT procurement in e-governance."Central and State Governments, in the past, have attempted to address large number of issues detrimental to housing growth and provided fiscal concessions to builders and home buyers and tried to build strong public-private partnership to boost housing growth. In many ways it has paid dividends, but still there is lot to be done to provide shelter to all.

"Travel to Odisha is truly an amazing experience that attracts people from all parts of the world for its sculptural and artistic heritage. The Sun Temple at Konark, a UNESCO Heritage site, the Temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri, one of the four cardinal centres for Hindus (Char Dhams) of India and temple city of Bhubaneswar are important and popular tourist destinations. The Buddhist heritage of Odisha comprising of Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri-Udayagiri-Langudi and Dhauli attracts tourists from overseas and domestic front." Mr Panda said.

The serene beaches at Puri, Chandipur, Gopalpur and Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, the second largest mangrove forest in India, Simlipal National Park to name a few are very famous tourist attractions. The rock-cut caves of Khandagiri & Udaygiri at Bhubaneswar depicting Jain heritage throw ample light on the magnificent past of Odisha. Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in Asia and a Ramsar site of India with 1100 sq.kms area is famous for Dolphins and migratory birds.

Apart from these, Odisha has successfully nurtured three great religions like Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism. The DoT is also organising a number of Tourism events like Konark Festival (1st – 5th December), International Sand Art Festival (1st – 5th December), Parab Tribal Festival (16 – 18 November), Dhanu Yatra Festival (Dec – Jan) Rajarani Music Festival (18 – 20 January), Mukteswar Dance Festival (14 – 16 January) etc. to attract more of domestic and international tourists.

A progressive and investment friendly Tourism Policy has been in operation since April 2013. As per the policy a State Level Single Window Committee has been created for speedy implementation of the projects; several incentives have been announced for the tourism stake holders as part of promotional initiatives. In August last year, the Light & Sound Show (SEL) has been started at Dhauli and to follow in at Konark and Khandagiri-Udayagiri.

Odisha Tourism to attract domestic tourists from various parts of the country is holding road shows in different cities. It has already organised various roadshows last year and has planned to organise few more road shows this year. It is a happy coincidence that one of such roadshow is being organised in this great city of Varanasi.

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation has also been playing a key role in the promotion & development of Tourism in the state. It covers a wide range of facilities to the tourists & visitors with its 22 strategically located hotels and restaurants with fine Odia delicacies, boat riding in Chilika Lake, tour & travels and transport facilities. Above all Odisha is a peaceful state and the people are hospitable. The state capital Bhubaneswar is a modern city having good connectivity (both rail and air) to all major cities of the country. The Airport has opened to international sector and will definitely give a surge in tourist traffic. Hope your journey to Odisha will be a memorable one.


Tourism Slideshow

"Even the ocean waves take their hellos to the people all the time. I should take my hellos down to the beach and sell waves to the tourists."

South African Tourism flags off its 4-city annual roadshow ; brings over 45 exhibitors


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 19 :
PIERRE: Ha! Look at that tourist with his camera and guidebook!
JACQUES: Wait, but observe his socks! They are...black!
PIERRE: Zut alors! You are correct! He is one of us! What a fool I am! Let us go speak to him in English and invite him to lunch!"
- Doug Mack, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide

And so South African Tourism kickstarted the 2016 edition of their biggest travel trade engagement initiative - 13thAnnual Roadshow. The roadshow is being held in four cities, starting with Kolkata on January 18 , and thereafter moving to Delhi(January 19) and Hyderabad (January 21) before culminating in Mumbai on January 22. This interactive program is planned to increase destination awareness among travel planners in India.

"Though most tourists accepted the occasional comic misadventure, it was important to them that overall their vacation should be pleasant. When you spend money on a holiday you are essentially purchasing happiness: if you don't enjoy yourself you will feel defrauded." - Alison Lurie, The Last Resort

The roadshow sees an annual participation by over 50 exhibitors with first timers Southern Africa 360 Luxury Holidays, Go Garden Route & Klein Karoo, Earth Explorer Tours & Travel, Ascot Golf Tours, Amrho Tourism PTY , African Eagle.South African suppliers have always found the Indian market to be an open and accepting market. Encouraged by the potential of the Indian market and the tremendous growth opportunities it offers, many South African suppliers have shown keen interest and have started business operations across various regions of the country. The Tourism Board will lead the 50-member delegation of South African traders.

Commenting on the roadshow in India, Ms Margie Whitehouse, Chief Marketing Officer, South African Tourism said, "We have always witnessed an overwhelming response from the Indian trade and are excited to see how this roadshow is going to contribute to the tourism of South Africa. We aim to work in unison to mutually benefit each other with increased promotions and offer multiple trade options in the country.India is such an incredible country and we look forward to their continued support to present tourism with a larger platform in both countries."

The following companies are participating in the roadshow :


Slide Down || Slide Up
1 African Eagle 2 African Link Tours 3 African Pride Tours 4 Akqua Sun Africa World of Vacations 5 Amrho Tourism PTY Ltd 6 andBeyond 7 Aquila Private Game Reserve 8 Ascot Golf Tours 9 Bill Harrops Original Balloon Safaris 10 Bloukrans Bungy-Face Adrenalin 11 Cango Wildlife Ranch 12 Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group 13 City Lodge Hotel Group 14 Earth Explorer Tours & Travel 15 ERM Tours Pty Ltd 16 Durban Tourism 17 Extraordinary 18 Fancourt Hotel 19 Go Garden Route & Klein Karoo 20 Gauteng Tourism Authority 21 Joburg Tourism 22 Kwantu Private Game Reserve 23 Mirchee 24 NAC Helicopters Capetown 25 Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism 26 One & Only Cape Town 27 Optima Holidays 28 Oudtshoorn& De Rust Tourism 29 Peermont Hotels Casinos Resorts 30 Pepper Club Hotel & Spa 31 Private Safaris 32 Royal African Discoveries 33 SA Forest Adventures 34 SabiSabi Private Game Reserve 35 SATSA 36 Southern Africa 360 Luxury Holidays 37 SST 38 SunLux Collection by Sun International 39 The Westin Cape Town 40 Thompsons Africa 41 Travcare Holidays 42 Tsogo Sun 43 Cape Town & Western Cape 44 White Shark Projects 45 Window Tours & Transfer 47 Taj Cape Town 48 Buffalo City 49 VFS 50 SAT
 

Ms. Monika Iuel - General Manager: International Marketing, South African Tourism said, "Our synergy or partnership with the Indian trade has reached new heights both in terms of execution and depth of engagement. Our partners have always been an integral part of our marketing efforts in the country and that has been the contributor to the effectiveness and success of our campaigns."

Ms Hanneli Slabber, Country Manager, South African Tourism, said, "We have seen huge developments in terms of product offering, as well as in the changes in the way we operate in the Indian market. We have seen a lot of refinement in the 'made for India in South Africa' campaign by South African products and service providers - in fact, they are so entrenched in the Indian market, that we are now getting 'made for Bangalore in South Africa' and 'made for Kolkata in South Africa' offerings from the various South African players in the market."

The annual roadshow organized by South African Tourism have continued to witnessed an overwhelmingresponse and grow in attendance from Indian travel agents year on year.

Other notable initiatives from South African Tourism board include 'Learn SA Roadshow with TAAI which reached over 1700 agents last year.

Finally, "Though most tourists accepted the occasional comic misadventure, it was important to them that overall their vacation should be pleasant. When you spend money on a holiday you are essentially purchasing happiness: if you don't enjoy yourself you will feel defrauded.”

How could we have discovered great lands, if we dare not travel?"
Every travel is blessed adventure."

People plan to refrain from traveling overseas in the wake of benumbing recent terror attacks

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 24: "Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up"
― Veronica Roth, Divergent

And so inbound tourism is likely to register an increase of up to 10 per cent during this Christmas-New Year holiday season as travellers plan to refrain from going overseas in wake of recent terror attacks in most sought after global tourist destinations of Bangkok and Paris, according to a just-concluded survey by apex industry body ASSOCHAM.

"Tourist hotspots in northern, central India and in majority of the coastal belt are expected to see influx of about 15 lakh domestic and foreign tourists as they find it both cheap and safe," noted a survey-cum-analysis on 'Year-end tourism trends in India: 2015,' conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) under the aegis of its Social Development Foundation.

"Tourism, which is the mainstay of the economy in Andaman and Nicobar, and in states like Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh together with the states in the north-east are likely to do brisk business and attract tourists in large numbers," said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chamber's sector specific survey-cum-analysis.

"Though terrorist attacks can occur anywhere, but certain latest cases are likely to significantly impact outbound tourism in a negative way and this trend is expected to revive the domestic tourism sector which has been facing a lull due to growing inflation, rising airfares, high hotel room rates, fluctuations in the value of rupee against foreign currencies and other related factors," said Mr Rawat.

"It is also likely to boost foreign exchange earnings," he added.

The ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation had interacted with about 500 travel enthusiasts (working professionals) in the age group of about 25-60 years in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi-NCR, Indore, Jaipur, Kolkata, Lucknow, Mumbai and Pune in past 4 weeks.

Majority of these respondents (about 60 per cent) said they have planned to go on a vacation this year-end.

Over half of these said they plan to visit northern tourist destinations of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and others as certain parts of southern India have recently been hit by unprecedented rains, highlighted the ASSOCHAM survey.

Of the remaining, many said they plan to visit Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Portblair and other locations for their vacations.

Only handful (8-10 per cent) respondents said they plan to go abroad for vacations to Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Singapore and other such affordable and 'safe' destinations.

Representatives of the ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation had also spoken to various tour operators in said cities, many of whom informed they are receiving tourist bookings in good numbers for aforementioned states and hope to rake in big moolah during this end-of-the-year holiday season.

ITDC presents Rs 18.88 – crore dividend cheques of ITDC , KFHL to Govt  

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 23 :
The Chairman, Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) Mr Umang Narula presented two dividend cheques of ITDC and KFHL for 2014-15 for the Government of India amounting to Rs.18.88 crore to the Minister of State (I/C) for Tourism and Culture Dr. Mahesh Sharma here on Monday Secretary, M/o Tourism Mr Vinod Zutshi and senior officers of Ministry and ITDC were present on the occasion.

Addressing on the occasion, the Minister said that as per the initiatives of the Prime Minister for 'Good Governance' taken last year, the good results have started yielding now. The officers of his Ministry and Departments have been assigned target oriented goals with proper transparency. His Ministry had recently held a meeting with the representatives of 8 States on the issue of loss making hotels, he added.

ITDC, a PSU under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tourism has declared a dividend of 20 per cent amounting to Rs.17.15 crore for 2014-15, the highest ever in terms of amount and the highest since 2007-08 in terms of percentage and Kumarakruppa Frontier Hotels Pvt. Ltd. (KFHL), another PSU under the Ministry of Tourism has also declared a dividend amounting to Rs.4.39 crore for 2014-15.

For the financial year 2014-15, ITDC posted a robust performance registering the net profit of Rs.38.95 crore on a turnover of Rs.504.19 crore, the highest since 2007-08. Of the overall performance, the hotel segment i.e. the core area of ITDC achieved a impressive turnover of Rs.283.90 crore with a profit of Rs.10.81 crore.

Kudos to AAI for customer satisfaction 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 14 :
One of the missions of Airports Authority of India (AAI) to achieve highest standards of quality in airport management for total customer satisfaction. In order to achieve this mission, AAI has been continuously striving taking along all its dedicated
manpower, the effect of which is often gets reflected in Passenger/Visitor's
Suggestion Form.

One such commendation AAI received recently was from a passenger Mr D R Balakrishna at Mangalore Airport. Mr Balakrishna is of the view that all facilities provided by AAI from cleanliness to infrastructure are world class. Extracts of his appreciation are, "Keep it up AAI! Thumbs up.! I am a native and resident of Bangalore.

Though facilities @ Bangalore Airport is good, it comes with exorbitant user development fees charged by Private Player (GVK.) I travelled for first time to Mangalore Airport, all facilities including cleanliness, Infrastructure are truly world class & I would love to visit such Airports more often like these. Keep it up AAI!"

Such commendations from general public definitely serve a morale booster for all our employees and encourage us to improve further as AAI believes that what other says is an ornament for AAI. In the smooth running of Aircrafts, the role of AAI is often unnoticed, as most of the tasks AAI undertakes are 'behind the scene' work. Passengers often consider the jobs performed by AAI as that of airlines resulting in 'Nil' publicity for AAI. AAI comes into picture only when there is a complaint and the complainant is usually guided by airlines or other stakeholders for lodging complaint with AAI.

India signs US $ 123.51 million loan pact with ADB for upgrading tourism infrastructure 

Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 28 : The Government of India signed a loan with Asian Development Bank (ADB) here today for US $ 123.51 million for tranche 3 of the Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism to continue upgrading tourism infrastructure and services in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.

The loan will be used for development and conservation of places of tourist attractions. It will also be used to improve basic tourism facilities, and to build the capacity of sector agencies and local communities in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab. The third tranche loan is part of the $250 million multi-tranche financing facility that ADB approved in 2010.

Ms M. Teresa Kho, Country Director for ADB in India signed the loan agreement on behalf of ADB while Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance signed the loan agreement on behalf of the Government of India. The project agreements were signed by Mr. V C Pharkha, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism, Government of Himachal Pradesh, Mr. Navjot Randhawa, Project Director IDIPT, Government of Punjab and Mr Asheesh Joshi, Additional Secretary, Tourism, Government of Uttarakhand for the State Governments of Himachal, Punjab and Uttarakhand respectively.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms M. Teresa Kho, Country Director for ADB in India said that the loan will support conservation of important heritage structures, including some century-old structures, new facilities including centers for arts and crafts in the three states. Eco-parks and eco-tourism will also be developed to help the states attract more tourists.

Mr. Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary (Multilateral Institutions), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance said that upgraded tourism infrastructure like provisioning of drinking water, drainage, street lighting, solid waste management and improvements to approach roads at selected tourist destinations will enhance tourism environment in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Uttarakhand. He further said that the involvement of local communities in the management of natural and cultural heritage sites will create employment for poor and vulnerable households.

To improve income opportunities for the local communities, more than 4,000 community members are set to be trained in tourism-related skills such as guides, crafts, and other recreational activities. At least 30 community-based societies will be made operational in the management of natural and cultural heritage sites.

FICCI-EY Paper suggests 6-point
agenda for fillip to tourism in States
 


Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau

NEW DELHI, 23 July 2015: "Though most tourists accepted the occasional comic misadventure, it was important to them that overall their vacation should be pleasant. When you spend money on a holiday you are essentially purchasing happiness: if you don't enjoy yourself you will feel defrauded."
― Alison Lurie, The Last Resort

And so a FICCI-EY paper on 'Tourism Infrastructure: The Role States Play' recommends a 6-point agenda to enable the States to achieve their potential in attaining the desired growth in tourist arrivals. The paper calls for Introduction of a robust and inclusive tourism policy as the first step towards introducing the right set of initiatives and achieving the desired tourist inflow. The policy should focus on specific interventions, incentives offered to developers/private players and vision for development of tourism in the state, among others.

The FICCI-EY paper was released here today by Civil Aviation Minister, Mr. Ashok Gajapathi Raju and Tourism & Culture Minister, Dr. Mahesh Sharma at the 'Tourism Investor's Meet', arranged by FICCI in association with the Ministry of Tourism and Tourism Finance Corporation of India (TFCI).

The paper emphasizes the importance of improvement in Inter and intra-state connectivity through creation of rural roads, high speed passenger trains, identifying and equipping air strips, converting domestic airports into international, introducing inland waterway connectivity. These areas need to be explored for improving the connectivity between cities and states.

In terms of Tourist facilities, the paper calls for easy availability of the visa offices/centres at all the key destinations experiencing high foreign tourist turnout. Provision of other facilities such as adequate parking and way side facilities is the need of the hour.

It suggests exploration of new concepts such as MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) to attract tourists.There is an increased focus in many states on the MICE sector as an engine of growth for the business tourism sector. To build upon this opportunity, connectivity and availability of world-class infrastructure should be ensured. Incentives and subsidies to attract investors may be proposed as part of the MICE strategy.

For setting up Accommodation facilities in select unexplored destinations, upgrading the service levels of hotels, introducing theme based resorts, are some options that need to be explored. Some popular themes could be golf resorts, wild life resort, green/ clean technology resorts, etc.

Above all, the FICCI-EY paper stresses on Collaboration with other governments. It is critical for a holistic growth of tourism, the paper notes, that the States combine and synergise their efforts and offer comprehensive services and solutions. To create an enabling environment, the States need to explore possibilities by initiating dialogue with key states/countries and creatingroadmaps for implementation.

"Enough fine weather and money and a few memorable meals make any place desirable." - Elizabeth McCracken, The Giant's House  

4 -day IATO annual convention
at Indore from August 23

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned , so as to have the life that is waiting for us."- E M Forster

NEW DELHI, JULY 11 :
"From all that I saw, and everywhere I wandered, I learned that time cannot be spent, It only can be squandered." - Roman Payne, Rooftop Soliloquy
 

So is tourism deciphered as travel for recreation, leisure, religious, family or business purposes, usually for a limited duration. Tourism is commonly associated with international travel, but may also refer to travel to another place within the same country. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".

There is a time sometime, and a place where in the perfect stillness of the evening within the sunset serenity we unite in the glow... Blissful paradise divinity, brilliancy glassy deepness, shallowness slow and smooth.

So Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) , national apex body of tourism industry Convention dates and venue were announced in New Delhi in the presence Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (IC) and Minister of State for Civil Aviation This was announced by Mr Subhash Goyal, doyen of tourism industry and president of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) who also informed mediapersons that Indore in Madhya Pradesh will be the venue city for the 31st IATO 4-day annual convention from August 20 to 23, 2015.

"Sun and wind and beat of sea,
Great lands stretching endlessly...
Where be bonds to bind the free?
All the world was made for me!."
- Adelaide Crapsey

So while announcing the decision of the executive committee Mr Subhash Goyal, president, IATO , said, "We had several destinations in our mind and it was really difficult to decide the venue". We had been looking into the options among Jammu and Kashmir, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. State governments' support was also very important and also availability of hotels, air and rail connectivity."

This is place of places and it is here !  

" Pre and post convention tours options are also our main consideration to showcase worthwhile destinations. According to out policy, we always try to reach a new destination and try to boost tourism to the state basing our venue of the convention," added Mr Subhash Goyal.

After series of deliberations, study visits, executive committee fnally took the decision to have IATO's 31st Annual Convention at Indore, Madhya Pradesh.

"So much of difference between a triumph and a flop is determined by choice of venue."
― Anatoly Belilovsky, The Immersion Book of Steampunk

And so Hotel the Grand Bhagwati will be the venue for inaugural function and business session etc.

A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image." -― Joan Didion

The Tourism Minister, Dr Mahesh Sharma, while addressing the media and the members appealed the members to take benefit of this national convention of IATO.

In his address Dr Mahesh Sharma unequivocally mentioned that he is very much convinced the way IATO is working for the promotion of tourism and supporting the ministry for all its efforts in marketing India in overseas markets.

Dr Mahesh Sharma also mentioned initiatives that Ministry of Tourism is taking to boost tourism both domestic and international.

"It's just as hard to go back to a place you once left, as it is to leave it again."
― Charlotte Eriksson

Dr Lalit Panwar, Secretary Tourism, Govt of India, while addressing the members talked about the work being done by the Ministry and the achievements that has been made especially in getting e-Tourist Visa which has already been implemented for 76 countries and in more countries this is to follow. He requested the members to give it a wide publicity and encourage tourists to make use of this facility.

Mr Ashwani Lohani who was very much enthusiastic in bringing IATO
convention to Indore expressed happiness on the IATO's decision to hold its annual convention at Indore.

"Moments never went to the same place twice. When you travel observe momentous beauty of the place." 

He also appealed the members to attend the convention in large numbers and attend the post convention tours especially being designed for the members.

Interestingly, Madhya Pradesh-Home of Indian Tiger, religious places like Mahakal temple in Ujjain, Buddhist stupa in Sanchi and the palace hotels in Bhopal, the boating at Bheda Ghat and tourist places in Jabalpur, Bhopal, Pachmarhi, Khajuraho etc. are great attraction of Madhya Pradesh. IATO Convention in Madhya Pradesh will bring Madhya Pradesh in front as convention destination" added Mr. Ashwani Lohani.

Going back to memory lane of glorious journey, "We are returning to Madhya Pradesh nearly after 22 years when we had our IATO 10th convention at Khajuraho, 17 - 19 December 1993. Madhya Pradesh Tourism has been very active in marketing various tourists' attractions in the state. Concurrently with our convention, there will be Indian Travel Mart. It is an opportunity for exhibitors to showcase exciting and diverse range of destinations, conference and Incentive venues. This will facilitate discerning buyers from the travel trade and corporate world to reinforce their choice for business travel, incentives etc. Also interesting business sessions are being planned with social evenings" said Mr Pronab Sarkar, Chairman, Convention*.

Overwhelmingly, "The success of the pervious convention has raised the expectations of the members and sponsors alike. More than 1200 delegates are expected for 3 day event and are eagerly waited by all. They look for an enchanting as well as a destination not explored earlier. Here Indore fits in very well. Post-Convention tours on offer will be very attractive to explore new areas hither to unknown to our members" said Mr Sarab Jit Singh, senior vice president, IATO.

On this occasion, IATO also felicitated, a 25 member delegation from Nepal headed by *Mr. Ashok Pokharel, President,Nepal Association of Tour Operators (NATO), and also a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) andAssociation of Tour Operators of Andaman (ATO) for promotion of tourism in Andaman.

Succinctly, Mr Goyal also informed that 10 top outbound tour operators from China selected by Air China are expected to attend the convention in Indore apart from tour operators from neighbouring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

Finally, "Travel experiences are emotionally loaded. Often there is excitement and stimulation. The tingle-factor though comes partly from the fact that we're stressed, just a little." - Jane Wilson-Howarth, The Essential Guide to Travel Health: Don't Let Bugs, Bites, and Bowels Spoil Your Trip

Where enormous tolerance of the Indian people can be seen !

Maharashtra may generate Rs 10k crore revenue at Maha Kumbh Mela

Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau


NEW DELHI, JULY 10 :
After visiting the Kumbh Mela of 1895, Mark Twain wrote: "It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites. Irrespective of all worldly barriers of caste, creed, region, the Kumbh Mela has wielded a mesmeric influence over the minds and the imagination of millions…"

And so the Maharashtra Government may likely to generate over Rs. 10,000 crore (approx) revenues in its coffers due to Kumbh Mela, scheduled after 12 years in Nashik, reveals an ASSOCHAM latest assessment.

The Maha Kumbh, starting from July 14 in Nashik will generate additional employment opportunities for over 4.5 lakhs workforce in sectors such as airlines & airports, hotels, tour operators, medical & eco-tourism etc., according to The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The traditional account says that the Devas had lost their strength by the curse of Durvasa Muni, and to regain it, they approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. They directed all the demigods to Lord Vishnu and after praying to Lord Vishnu, he instructed them to churn the ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (primordial ocean of milk) to receive amrita (the nectar of immortality). Thy had to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the Asuras, to work together with a promise of sharing the wealth equally thereafter.[11] However, when the Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years), the Devas and Asuras fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu (incarnated as Mohini-Mürti) flew away with the Kumbha of elixir, spilling drops of amrita at four places: Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik.

"The tale is great, one may say enormous. Every twelfth year is held to be a year of peculiar grace; a greatly augmented volume of pilgrims results then. The twelfth year has held this distinction since the remotest of times, it is said."

"At the Kumbh Mela, I was struck by the enormous tolerance of the Indian people," Tully said. "This is something which has consistently struck me ever since I have lived in this country. The tolerance of hardship of the pilgrims who went there, many of them walking barefoot, carrying their luggage on their heads, having nowhere to sleep at night, except on straw out in the open. But it is not just their tolerance of harsh conditions, it is also their tolerance of each other, because at the Kumbh Mela there are heaven knows how many different forms of Hinduism being preached." Mark Tully

A Forecast Paper 'Maha Kumbh Mela 2015: Revenue Generation Resources for Maharashtra' released by ASSOCHAM, projected that airlines, hotels, tour operators etc are likely to witness a boom period. ASSOCHAM further said that lakhs of pilgrims who come for the Kumbh Mela may also visit nearby places like Shirdi, Shani-Shingnapur, Bhimashankar and other locations, adds the ASSOCHAM paper.

"The Maha Kumbh will generate an additional employment opportunities for over 4.5 lakh people in direct and indirect sectors such as airlines, hotels, tour companies, medical and eco-tourism. The unorganised sector, too, will witness maximum economic gains during the period," said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM while releasing the paper.
According to the the report, the hotel industry is aiming at 100 per cent occupancy rate for Kumbh that is currently 55-60 per cent on an average, the paper said.

The paper further revealed that during Kumbh about 10-12 million foreign and domestic pilgrims are expected to visit for the 2015 Kumbh Mela, scheduled after 12 years in the small temple towns of Nashik (Trimbakeshwar). During the last Kumbh Mela in Nashik in 2003, around six million people from all over the world took part.

The paper further reveals, Australia, UK, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, New Zealand, Mauritius, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka are the main countries from where pilgrims are expected for the 2015 Kumbh Mela..

Domestic tourists are expected from the state Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Telangana, Karnataka, etc, adds the paper. Apart from Maharashtra, other states like Gujarat, Delhi, Rajasthan and Himachal will also be the major beneficiary states in terms of revenue generation where large number of foreign tourists are expected to visit," it added.

The Kumbh Mela is scheduled between July 14-September 25, 2015, with the Shahi Snaan on Aug 29, Sep 13 and Sep 25. Nashik-Trimbakeshwar is among the four places in India -- along with Ujjain, Allahabad and Haridwar -- where the Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years.

The Maha-Kumbh will generate so much of direct and indirect activities in almost every key segment that touches masses with large number of beneficiary, the fruits of which hopefully benefit the masses of Madhya Pradesh, said Mr. Rawat.

'Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures'

Tourism has potential to become backbone of the Indian economy: Mahesh Sharma

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page

NEW DELHIM JULY 08 :
"The world has endless beauty yet to be discovered; don't short change yourself by not vacationing to the things money can't afford to buy." - Wayne Chirisa

And so the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma has said that tourism has the potential to become the back bone of the economy of the country since it is a means to earn foreign exchange, generate employment and create women empowerment. Speaking at the interactive session and the press conference of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) in New Delhi today Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the world has became a global village and tourism is a powerful tool to connect our country to the rest of the world.
Appreciating the role played by private stakeholders like IATO in promoting tourism in the country, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the participation of the private sector should be explored to the maximum possible extent to promote tourism and to meet tourism related targets.


The Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi has been playing the role of Brand Ambassador and promoting India before the world. The Foreign Tourist Arrivals(FTAs) from these countries visited by the Prime Minister have shown a substantial increase , Dr Mahesh Sharma disclosed. Highlighting the value of Indian Handicrafts as part of the Indian culture , the Minister said that promotion of handicrafts must be made an essential part of tourism promotion.

Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Dr. Lalit Panwar said that the measures like e-tourist visa taken up by the government recently have shown tremendous results. He requested IATO members to give it wide publicity and encourage tourists to make use of this facility.


The President of IATO, Mr. Subhash Goyal disclosed the 31st annual convention of IATO will be held in Indore from 20th to 23rd August, 2015, which will also help to give fillip to tourism in the state.

"Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures"
- Constance Chuks Friday

Boost India's share to 1% in global
tourism , says Mahesh Sharma
 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

  "The journey is the destination."

NEW DELHI, MAY 19 :
PIERRE: Ha! Look at that tourist with his camera and guidebook! JACQUES: Wait, but observe his socks! They are...black!
PIERRE: Zut alors! You are correct! He is one of us! What a fool I am! Let us go speak to him in English and invite him to lunch!" ― Doug Mack, Europe on 5 Wrong Turns a Day: One Man, Eight Countries, One Vintage Travel Guide

So the Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr Mahesh Sharma has said the Government is making all possible efforts to take the share of India in global tourism to one percent from the current 0.64 per cent. It is to this end that the scheme of e-Tourist Visa was launched by the new government , which has given very good results. Dr. Mahesh Sharma was addressing a joint Press Conference with Karnataka Tourism Minister , Mr R V Deshpande in New Delhi today. The Press Conference was organized by the Union Ministry of Tourism and Government of Karnataka in connection with the PATA Travel Mart 2015 to be held at Bangalore from 6th – 8th September, 2015.

Dr. Mahesh Sharma that the efforts of the Government to give Tourism a place of pride are beginning to show results, and India has jumped up 13 ranks in the WEF Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, 2015. Referring to the importance of events like PATA, the Minister said that we should partner with all stake holders including private organizations and state governments to achieve our goal of one percent share in world tourism. The new National Tourism Policy, 2015 is on the anvil, which will be interactive and deliver in a mission mode, the Minister explained.

Addressing the media, Mr R.V. Deshpande said that this is the event of the entire country and he invited all stake holders to participate enthusiastically in it. He also informed that for the first time, an Investors' Meet is being organized during the event. The Karnataka Tourism Minister explained that the state government has adopted a professional approach towards tourism including several measures like rating of 'home stays' and restaurants.

Mr Deshpande also said that Karnataka Government is bringing out Tourism and Trade Facilitation Act and will soon set up Tourist Friendly Police or 'Tourist Mitra'. The State has also come out with a novel initiative of Adoption of Tourist destinations by Corporates for their maintenance and providing facilities there, he added. Sh. Deshpande further informed that 134 buyers from 43 countries and 114 sellers from 66 organizations have already confirmed their participation.

Dr. Mahesh Sharma congratulated the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for his focus on tourism and stressing upon it as an important engine of economy for generating income and employment. The announcement by the Prime Minister in China to extend e-Tourist visa to Chinese nationals will help attract more tourists from that country to India and fill the gap of in bound and out bound tourists between India and China, Dr Mahesh Sharma said.

Mr Jatinder Singh Taneja, representative from PATA informed that the small and medium enterprises will get an opportunity to show case their business during the event. The Travel technology pavilion is also being set up to promote the use of technology in Tourism sector.

The PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Travel Mart (PTM) is the premier travel trade show in the Asia Pacific region, which brings together international buyers and sellers for one-to-one meetings, educational forums and networking sessions. It provides an excellent platform for showcasing and promoting the varied tourism destinations and products of countries, to a target international audience. This is the third PATA Travel Mart being held in India.

The Secretary Tourism, Dr. Lalit Panwar and senior officials of the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Government of Karnataka were also present during the Press Conference.

"It takes years to build on to a dream but only a second to shatter." ― Chirag Tulsiani

 

Nepal economy stands totally shattered; tourism to take maximum hitM

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, APRIL 29 :
Besides the enormous loss of human lives, the earthquake has thrown Nepal's economy completely out of gear, with major crisis looming in energy while the tourism industry stands shattered with half of historic monuments in a state of desecration, an early assessment by ASSOCHAM said.

The chamber, which will soon be launching a major 'Rebuild Nepal Programme' in coordination with the Indian Government, said while the reconstruction estimates vary between USD 10-25 billion, "at this point of time, major economic crisis is looming on the Himalayan nation which , in any case, falls among the Lease Developed Countries (LDCs). The biggest impact would be on tourism that contributes over 8 per cent of the country's GDP."

Besides the contribution to the GDP, the tourism generates employment for hundreds of thousands of people engaged in the entire value chain of tours and travel. It contributes to seven per cent of the country's total job creation. "Hundred per cent cancellations have been reported from tour operators who do Nepal bookings. Several countries have given advisories to their citizens to avoid Nepal. In any case, all forms of transport have been damaged."

Even after normalcy is restored in terms of basic needs like water, food, medicines and some civic facilities, it would be a long haul before tourism is restored in a country where, according to UNESCO assessment, more than half of the historical monuments have been flattened.

Of the seven UN World Heritage sites located in Nepal, three – Durbar Squares of Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur have been completely damaged.

Ironically, the Nepalese Government had drawn mega plans for increasing power generation and improving its transmission and was working on reforms in the energy sector. The major damage would be felt on agriculture, the main stay of the country's USD 66 billion economy. Agriculture employs 75 per cent of its people.

India is Nepal's largest economic partner accounting for over 50 per cent its exports and imports.

The Nepalese economy had suffered immense loss because of protracted political conflict and instability. As it is trying to pick up the thread, with economic growth of 5-6 per cent, the natural calamity has struck.

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny
place you occupy in the world." - Gustave Flaubert
 

E-tourist visas to be raised to
cover 150 countries soon

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

JAIPUR, April 21 :
"Travelling is not just an activity, it's the art of broadening your vision through the priceless experience." - Wayne Chirisa

So Ms Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan inaugurated the seventh edition of 'The Great Indian Travel Bazaar' which is back in Jaipur after a hiatus of one year. The travel mart targets potential consumers of tourism products from across the globe and India, and is organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan.

Speaking about her long term association with the travel mart, she said that Rajasthan and tourism were synonyms and a mart like the Great Indian Travel Bazaar gives the state a platform to bring together tour operators from around the world along with policy makers and others stakeholders under one roof and an opportunity to promote the city and state's tourists destinations.

Ms. Raje also shared with the audience the discovery of old heritage remains while excavation for a metro construction site in the old city of Jaipur. She was of the view that the discovery of the remains may help in increasing the number of tourists visiting the city.
On promoting tourism in Rajasthan, Ms. Raje said that the state government was all set to review the Tourism Unit Policy and had increased the tourism budget exponentially, almost 100 per cent with the expectation that it will reap benefits in future. As the year 2015 was committed to investment, in November 2015 Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 'Resurgent Resurgent Rajasthan Partnership Summit' which will be an unprecedented event with strategic conferences, panel discussions, roundtable deliberations, presentations and one-on-one business meetings. It will bring together leading investors from all over the world, senior State government officials and local business community for interactions on investment environment and opportunities in Rajasthan. The summit is bound to promote investments in hotels and encourage new and improved theme based activities for attracting tourists.
The dearth of air connectivity within the state was also an issue that was being looked upon and an internal airline may be started o allow tourists to move faster within the state, said Ms. Raje.

Ms. Raje also announced the dates of 'The Great Indian Travel Bazaar' for the year 2016 as April 17, 18 and 19.

On the occasion, the Chief Minister released a FICCI- EY Knowledge Paper on 'Unexplored Tourism Destinations of India'.

Highlighting the initiatives of the Central government to promote tourism, Ms. Usha Sharma, Additional DG Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, said that the government has started with e- tourist visa for 44 countries, which would be extended to 150 countries soon. It means that a person of any of these 44 countries can apply for a visa online, make the payment through e-gateway and within three days can get an e-travel authorization.

Speaking about the over exploitation of popular tourist destinations, Ms. Sharma said that there was a need to showcase new products. Hence, the government has started a new scheme 'Swadesh Darshan' to promote unexplored destinations. Also, new themes have been introduced to endorse places of tourists' attraction such as Desert theme, Coastal theme and Himalayan theme.

Underlining the importance of making India a 365-day tourism destination, she said that air connectivity was being improved in tier 2 and tier 3 cities, besides improving the condition of monuments. Ms. Sharma added that safety and security has been another concern for tourists visiting India, hence sensitization programmes have been conducted to assist authorities in handling situations with utmost urgency and prompt action. For assistance of tourists a government helpline was already active and another info line will be launched soon in 13 languages to help guide tourists.

Reminiscing the journey of the travel mart, Dr. Jyotsna Suri, president, FICCI, Chairperson – FICCI Tourism Committee and C&MD, The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, said that in the last eight years GITB had grown exponentially and had hosted almost 1800 foreign tour operators, 50 countries from across the globe made their presence felt at the mart each year and more than 57000 pre-scheduled B2B meetings had been held besides the innumerable on the spot B2Bs.

Dr. A. Didar Singh, Secretary General, FICCI, said that this year the travel mart has exceeded all its preceding records by pre-scheduling more than 10,000 B2B meetings for the coming two days. He added that besides, Gujarat being a partner state, 10 state governments have been active partners of GITB.

Mr. Dipak Deva, Co-Chairman, FICCI Tourism Committee and CEO – Destination Management (India and South Asia), Kuoni Travel Group, moderated the session.

"Travelling is not just an activity, it's the art of broadening your vision through the priceless experience." - Wayne Chirisa

New Tourism Policy 2015 to be launched on May 15 this year: Tourism Minister

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

 

NEW DELHI, MARCH 18 :
"It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancolies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling." - Gustave Flaubert, Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour

And so Dr Mahesh Sharma, the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, has said that the new Tourism Policy, 2015 will be launched on the May 15, this year. He was addressing the participants at a workshop held on the formulation of National Tourism Policy 2015. The representatives from various organizations like Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), FICCI, NASSCOM, FAITH, Travel Agency Corporation of India, Indian Tourist Transporters Authority (ITTA), Indian Heritage Hotels Association (IHHA), All India Resort Developers Association (AIRDA) and Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) were present among others at the meeting.

The Minister thanked the participants for bringing and sharing their wisdom on a common platform. Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi is working as the greatest Ambassador of Tourism for the country and his efforts will be taken forward rapidly by the Ministry of Tourism.

Dr. Mahesh Sharma also said that from now on, a new work culture will be implemented in which a task will be identified and a person assigned for the task. The timeline will also be fixed and the implementation will be closely monitored, he said. Acknowledging the need for synergy between various Ministries of the government, the Minister appreciated the idea of National Tourism Board which is proposed as a part of the new Tourism Policy to speed up and promote tourism in the country.

"To vacation beside the beautiful waters of the beach and the beauty that surrounds it, is to discover tranquility from within." - Wayne Chirisa

The Tourism Minister explained that potential of existing policy of 2002 has not been used fully and the new policy will use the framework of existing National Tourism Policy of 2002 to make it dynamic to meet the challenges that have emerged in today's world including technological and global competitiveness. He appreciated the idea of a 'single window portal system' for making information available to tourists.
The aim of the workshop was to receive inputs and suggestions from various stakeholders associated with tourism and hospitality sector so as to formulate a dynamic and pragmatic tourism policy to attain the target of "responsible and sustainable" tourism.

Various issues ranging from infrastructure, need for connectivity in remote areas, e-ticketing and safety and security were discussed during the workshop. The stakeholders related to hotel industry and transport business demanded tax incentives from the government specially in the off season. They also emphasized upon the need to have a data base research and training for skill development in order to boost tourism. The stakeholders also raised their concerns and gave various suggestions to Government to be incorporated into the Tourism Policy 2015.

The initiatives taken by government like Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Visa on Arrival, E-visas were also discussed at the meeting.

Secretary, Tourism, Dr. Lalit Panwar said that the new policy will contain a definite action plan with a clear-cut road map and timelines. On the issue of E-Ticketing Dr. Lalit Panwar, said that E-Ticketing was started on a pilot basis for Taj Mahal and Humayun Tomb and Government is in the process of E-Ticketing for top 25 monuments of India.

The stakeholders welcomed the move by Ministry of Tourism to make the new National Tourism Policy, 2015 to be based on fixed timeframes. They said that the 'S's used in previous policy i.e., Swagat (welcome), Soochna (Information), Suvidha (Facilitation), Suraksha (Security), Sahyog (Cooperation), Samrachana (Infrastructure Development) and Safai (Cleanliness) are relevant even today. So the new policy should aim at value addition over the previous one and should give a serious thought to the causes of non-implementation of various schemes under 2002 policy.

Keeping in view the technological changes, the speakers suggested that different mobile applications for various sectors of tourism can be launched in order to disseminate information to the interested tourists. The setting up of 'Digital Museum' was also proposed in order to promote the rich and unique local cultures and their heritage. Demand for establishing a 'Hospitality University' was also raised during the meeting.
Various other issues like soft adventures tourism, wildlife tourism, desert tourism and nature tourism were also discussed. The stakeholders also said that Yoga, Ayurveda and hospitality should be given due importance in the upcoming new tourism policy.

"Travelling is not just an activity, it's the art of broadening your vision through the priceless experience." - Wayne Chirisa

Reinventing travel and leisure experiencing at Uttarakhand 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

L to R : Mr Sandeep Sahani, Mr Ganesh Godiyal, Mr Dinesh Dahani, Mr Harish Rawat and Dr Umakant Panwarat a media conference in Mumbai on Friday. 

MUMBAI, FEBRUARY 06 :
"The world has endless beauty yet to be discovered; don't short change yourself by not vacationing to the things money can't afford to buy." - Wayne Chirisa

And so affter a smooth and successful execution of Chardham and Hemkund Sahib Yatra in 2014, especially after mass level devastation in 2013, the Uttarakhand government is fully prepared to welcome pilgrims from India . Harish Rawat, chief minister of Uttarakhand revealed the preparedness for the upcoming Char Dham Yatra at a press conference held on Friday in Mumbai. The Char Dham Yatra is scheduled to start on April 26.

The press conference was also attended by Mr. Dinesh Dahani, Minister of Tourism and Dr Umakant Panwar, state tourism secretary and Shri. Sandeep Sahani, President, Uttarakhand Hotel & Restaurant Association who shared about the additional facilities they have created especially for visitors this year.

Talking about preparedness, chief minister Rawat, who has been monitoring all the developments for the last couple of months, informed that visitors will witness a different travelling experience in the state from now on.

Mr Harish Rawat said that he held several meetings with government machineries and took stocks of the preparedness. "I am in touch with all the concerned officials for the last couple of months. And, I ensure that Pilgrims will get experience which they never had experienced in the past," said Rawat adding that they are taking an effort to reinvent travelling experience in Uttarakhand.

"In the last two years, the state machinery has worked a lot and reinvented the travelling experience in the state. Uttarakhand is now well-connected with Maharashtra and Gujarat, with good air connectivity," said Mr Dinesh Dahani.

"Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

Uttarakhand is globally recognized for its spiritually elevating destinations and beauty. Everyone who comes here takes part of it with him. Be it the wildlife, nature's sceneries or places of religious worship. The state has become most popular destination like Mussoorie, Nainital etc.as leisure retreat for tourists seeking peace and tranquillity besides involving themselves in adventure sporting activities.

In 2014, around 5 lakh pilgrims visited Chardham. "After devastation, we had taken various measures to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey for all the pilgrims coming to the state. The state government had even issued a few directives making government departments responsible for safe and enjoyable journey of visitors," said Dr. Panwar.

Now, the focus of the state tourism department is to ensure that every pilgrims go back home with a fond of good memories. The focus is to give all visitors a leisure experience while travelling in Uttarakhand. The state government has set up 60 helipads across the state of which four helipads are at pilgrim sites. They have also set up 4,000 shelters with all facilities along the routes for visitors.

The growth of tourism sector in the state has been one of the fastest in the country. The state government had initiated major tourist friendly packages that offer the diversity and ethereal beauty on a platter best suitable to them. In days to come, the Uttarakhand tourism has also planned to hold road shows across the country to attract tourist.

The consistent efforts to develop the state as tourist destination have resulted into its recognition worldwide, which is evident from the ever increasing flow of international as well as domestic visitors in the last few years.

The dates for Holy Yatra of Yamnotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath & Hemkund Sahib will be soon declared in the near future. Badrinath Yatra would start from 26th April 2015.

To facilitate the pilgrims and tourists, a special control room has been set up at the Uttarakhand Tourism headquarter in Dehradun. A Nodal Officer will manage the centre. Telefax number of the control room: 0135-2559898. Email Id is yatra4dham@yahoo.in. This service shall be available from 7 am to 9 pm every day.

 

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter." - Winston S. Churchill

 

Significant rise in voter turnout expected in
Delhi elections this time round: Survey

Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau


NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 06 :

"The journey is the destination."- Dan Eldon

'Coordination between tourism,
airlines industry crucial'

 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 22 :
"Travelling is not just an activity, it's the art of broadening your vision through the priceless experience." - Wayne Chirisa


And so the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation Dr. Mahesh Sharma has said that the coordination between tourism and airlines industries is crucial for promoting tourism in the country.

He said the Government believes in bringing all stakeholders together to discuss how the air transport industry can best contribute to the development of tourism. He was speaking at an "Interaction between Tourism and Airlines" organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with Federation of Association in Indian Tourism and Hospitality (FAITH) here on Thursday.

The Minister informed that the Government has set up an agenda of 25 actionable points for the year 2015 to promote tourism.

Dr. Sharma said that the implementation of Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) enabled Visa on Arrival, for 43 countries, is showing excellent results and the Government is hopeful that this facility will be extended to all remaining countries in the near future. He informed that as on 21 January 2015, (less than 2 months from the launch of this facility) 41,114 TVOAs have been issued. Expressing happiness over positive growth of both international and domestic tourism, he said Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) during 2014 were 74.62 lakh with a growth of 7.1% as compared to the FTAs of 69.68 lakh in 2013.

The Minister underlined that the true potential of the country is much more. A target of increasing the tourist arrivals to 10 million in near future has been setup. Dr. Sharma said that the airlines sector is an important part of the supply chain for "Make in India" in Tourism sector. He said over 90 percent international tourists arrive in India by air. The Minister added that the growth of aviation depends on good commercial decisions, and on the quality and capacity of India's airports, and the other highly visible infrastructure associated with aviation.

The delegates from airlines and tourism industries deliberated on various issues concerning promotion of tourism and increasing connectivity. The issues raised included better airport infrastructure, security measures including women's safety, increasing immigration counters, cleanliness, e-visa facility etc. Dr. Sharma assured that whatever issues were discussed during the interaction will be addressed within a definite time frame.

"No man needs a vacation so much as the man who has just had one." - Elbert Hubbard

Hotels, airlines, liquour firms and state tax revenue set to look up on rising new year sale

 

Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 30 :
"Every Person Needs a time out, away from stressful jobs, pressures from employers or clients, home responsibilities, etc., Everyone deserves to enjoy, visit unknown places, try other things, meet a lot of new friends, and feel at the top of the world. Life is full of fun, excitement, and adventure. Thus, vacation is an experience that's worth remembering for a lifetime. It heals a weary mind and soul." - Alon Calinao Dy

And so hotels in the five star and three star categories along with the airlines have jacked up their tariff this week as the trend for the well-off and even middle class families to go on vacation during the year-end has only increased year after year, reveals the ASSOCHAM paper.

An ASSOCHAM reports indicate that hotels in major tourist destinations and big metropolitan cities have increased room rates by 40-55 per cent while in some of the sought after locations like Goa, the room rental this week is double or three times the rates in September-October. Star rated hotels in the metros have upped the prices in their hotels and hiked the room tariffs by nearly 45 per cent to cash in on the festive mood of party revelers.

Likewise flights on the Delhi-Mumbai, Mumbai-Goa, Delhi-Chennai, Delhi - Trivandrum, Delhi-Kolkata, Mumbai-Kolkata and towards other southern locations have expensive by more 40 per cent as compared to the rates in September-October, a quick check by the ASSOCHAM researchers noted.

Occupancy in places like Goa, Trivandrum are about 100 per cent while even in major cities, the occupancy in hotels is well past 70-80 per cent during the mid-week, while on the December 31 and January 1 right up to the week-end, it is above 85-90 per cent, giving the hotels chance to make the best of new year season.

The source for chambers findings is ASSOCHAM hospitality industry has large number of members who briefed it of latest emerging trends available with them for New-Year's Eve celebrations.

According to them, the youngsters would like to spend a good amount for new year's celebrations as a result of economic boom that the services sectors has been experiencing and their owners have already made provisions for yearly leave, particularly beginning Christmas, said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM.

"New Year celebrations are taking new formats with more and more families willing to splurge. Tech trend is more among the well -paid professionals in the IT, private sector banks etc", ASSOCHAM General Secretary Mr D S Rawat commented.

Along with the hotels and airlines, breweries are reporting quick sales, more so in northern India where mercury has dipped and the demand for hard drinks is on not only for the manufacturers, retailers but also the state government exchequers. The liquor is highly taxed, said Mr. Rawat.

Further the hotel segment can be divided into 3 sub-segments namely Luxury, Business and Leisure. The growth in this segment indicates rising demand in different segments.

The increase in pricing vis-a-vis the previous year even in eating out is between 30 and 35 per cent. It has been noticed that every year the increase in footfalls during New Year increases by 35-40 per cent. This year too, we expect to see a good crowd as the economy is doing better," adds the ASSOCHAM findings.

New Year revellers in Delhi have planned to spend Rs 25,000 –Rs.30,000/- per couple to five star hotel to enjoy a meal-cum-entertainment package , those partying at the 4 and 3 star hotel have dished out Rs.15,000-20,000 per couple per night.

This, subsequently, has inevitably led to not only rates being hiked by 30-35 per cent for the New Year festivity, but also for rooms and food and beverage packages for the forthcoming months.

Delhi alone is witnessing a growth nearly 35-45 per cent in occupancy levels this December while room rates have moderated 30-35 per4 cent. Similarly, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad have also recorded a growth in occupancy during the New Year. On an average, Bangalore's occupancy will increase by 25-30 per cent this year, Chennai will jump by 20-25 per cent and Hyderabad, a 10-15 per cent. City hotels not only cut rates but offer festive season packages to boost occupancy levels during the holiday season for December-January.

Most of the major hotels' representatives said that they are providing attractive offers, packages for couples which includes food, liquor packages along with an accommodation to make their stay pleasant and comfortable so that they can stay back after the party.

Besides, many respondents said that they have made special arrangements for couples with kids and they have dedicated hotel staff who will take care of kids and are ready with different arrangements like a dedicated kids' zone so that couples can enjoy and ring in the new year without worrying about kids. Over half of respondents cited the soaring inflation as the key reason they have increased the tariffs but are providing a plethora of special packages.

Christmas, New Year holiday season
to see 30% rise in tourism


Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau


NEW DELHI,DECEMBER 21 :
Upcoming holiday season is expected to witness about 30 per cent increase in the tourism activity comprising domestic tourists, outbound holidayers and inbound foreign visitors despite a sharp increase in the fares by airlines, according to an ASSOCHAM latest assessment.  

While domestic, well-off outbound tourists are booking for estimations like Dubai, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Maldives and even as far as  South Africa, those settling for domestic spots would be heading for Goa, Kerala beaches , hills of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand. Some area heading for Darjeeling, and other North Eastern destinations. These areas, besides Rajasthan, would be great hits among the foreign tourists landing in India. 

Indian hospitality industry is anticipating an upsurge in the tourist footfall this season,  Mr. D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM said, with improving business and economic sentiment, high-end professionals in private sector and others well off would be inclined to spend more on leisure tourism this season as compared to last year 15%.
As per the findings, hotels are witnessing the steady increase in occupancy while coming out with special promotional schemes. Weekends are going to be busier with 12-15 lakh travelers likely to make a voyage to these destinations, as per the ASSOCHAM survey based on the feedback tour operators in metros.

ASSOCHAM carried out the survey in ten major cities like Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Thiruvanathpuram and Ahemdabad and interacted with as many as 4,500 people included frequent travellers, professionals, travel trade and the agents booking foreign tourists.

According to the estimates made by the ASSOCHAM based on feedback received from various tour operators, bookings for Christmas and New Year eve’s celebrations have been peaking.  The tour operators from different cities reveals there is a also steep fall in Kashmir tourism business by 35-40 per cent this year due to badly hit by calamity.

Hilly areas across India like-Shimla, Nainital, Kullu, Manali, Massourie, Kufri, Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Mcleodganj etc are also going to register an increase of 35-40% in the visitor footfall this season, says ASSOCHAM analysis.

Around 55 per cent of the respondents fall under the age bracket of 20-29 years, followed by 30-39 years (26 per cent), 40-49 years (16 per cent), 50-59 years (2 per cent) and 60-69 years (approx. 1 per cent).

The report was able to target corporate employees from 18 broad sectors, with maximum share contributed by employees from IT/ITes sector (17 per cent) followed by financial services (11 per cent) includes banking sector, stock brokerage house, insurance sector, financial consultancy and chartered accountants. Employees working in engineering and telecom sector contributed 9 per cent and 8 per cent respectively.

Nearly 6 per cent of the employees belonged from market research/KPO and media background each. Management, FMCG and Infrastructure sector employees share is 5 per cent each. Respondents from power and real estate sector contributed 4 per cent each. Employees from education and food& beverages sector provided a share of 3 per cent each. Advertising, manufacturing and textiles employees offered a share of 2 per cent each in the results.

The increase in the number of travellers for the New Year has kept the cash register ringing, bringing smiles back in the travel and hospitality trade. The popular tourist destinations have reported good bookings for the year-end over the previous year”, added Mr. Rawat.

Separate body essential to boost medical tourism, says Mahesh Sharma


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, DECEMBER 18 :
" Travelling is not just an activity, it's the art of broadening your vision through the priceless experience." - Wayne Chirisa

I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything." - Bill Bryson

The Minister of State for Tourism, Dr Mahesh Sharma, on Thursday said that medical tourism as a sector will be propagated and promoted in all Indian tourism directorates and other fora.

Addressing the 11th India Health Summit organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry here today, the Minister also acknowledged the need for a separate body to dedicate efforts to boost medical tourism. This, he felt, was essential given the high growth potential of medical tourism. No other sector is growing at a rate of 30 per cent, he said.

Dr Sharma said that medical visa on ETA was already being provided in SAARC countries and would soon be extended further. He assured the medical fraternity of all possible help in realising the potential of medical tourism. He noted that Indian healthcare providers were providing quality par excellence at a fraction of the cost and that is what was attracting foreigners.

Describing cleanliness, security and hospitality as the key factors determining tourism, the Minister informed that as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign, a huge cleanliness drive would be undertaken at all key tourist destinations, including hospitals. Similarly, for security purposes various schemes are being devised including a nationwide 24x7 helpline.

He felt that it was important to be aware of the image we are building on the world stage and only efforts by all stakeholders would ensure that the image is a positive one. In that regard, he felt that every satisfied medical tourist is a great ambassador for India back home .

Earlier, welcoming the Minister, Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairman, CII National Committee on Healthcare and Chairman & Managing Director, Medanta-The Medicity, had pointed out the need for a collective effort to raise the image of healthcare in India.

The sector was valued at $3 billion and as many as 8.5 million patients. Importantly, Dr Trehan informed was that the sector was still growing at 20-30 per cent. This provided an exceptional opportunity both for the healthcare providers as well as the tourism sector. Contrary to other sectors, this was one area where India still had a 10-year advantage over China, he said.

He requested the Minister to streamline the process of medical tourism visas and impress upon the diplomatic missions to be more sensitive and accommodative in this regard.

The two-day CII summit has the theme, Health for All-Call to Action and is attended by government representatives, healthcare professionals, allied healthcare service providers, and media among others.

Technologies will act as a huge enabler to reach out to a new segment of customers and explore untapped markets in the financial services market. The banking industry has already taken to the mobile opportunity and now it is time for the insurance and asset management industries to follow suit. These sectors need to develop innovative applications to assist in the sales process for agents and brokers, rather than restricting the scope of applications to vanilla activities such as quote generation or providing product information.

Given the large volumes with lesser margins involved, technology needs to be extensively used for maximising benefits as well as Return on Investment (RoI). Mobile and tablet based selling and customer service need to become focus areas, apart from continuing to leverage on the established channels in the sector.

The findings are part of a CII-PwC report Bridging the gap with digital, which also states India's six largest cities account for 10 percent of the country's bank branches, while at the other end there are eight districts in the north east with just two or less branches each. With steady growth in branches over the last three years, there is a clear opportunity to expand reach through either branch expansion or by focussing on alternate distribution channels.

Additionally, firms need to balance supply-side challenges, such as regulatory requirements and optimal incentive structures, with demand-side stumbling blocks through well thought-out systems, structures and controls, so as to truly extract the potential that technologies such as mobile and digital provide to any distribution strategy, the report added.

The reach of social media is expanding every day, from major cities to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities in India. Many internet penetration initiatives that try to leverage on innovative, lower-cost methodologies are further adding to this expansion. Social media as a channel provides companies with the ability to create highly tailored propositions. Using social media mining tools, companies can assess customer sentiment regarding product propositions and brands and appropriately create highly specific solutions.

The report suggests that a collaborative effort from the government, regulator, industry players and technology innovators is required to penetrate the rural and semi-urban areas. New guidelines issued by different financial services regulators will necessitate changes in processes, product mix as well as the technology components adopted by market players.

Mr V Ganesh, Chairman – CII Financial Distribution Summit 2014 and Chief Executive Officer, Karvy Computershare Pvt. Ltd., said, "Our industry has already witnessed the use of a number of interesting methodologies to address the challenges of distributing to these markets, be it bundling new products with existing ones through established financial channels, enhancing the productivity of channels with technology or directly reaching customers through social media and other digital avenues. There are significant learnings to note from other countries as well as other industries, including the FMCG, telecom and e-commerce sectors."

Vivek Belgavi, Partner, PwC India, said, "The allocation of resources across the different channels is crucial when considering the right distribution mix for Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Given the more geographically dispersed demand and traditionally lower average ticket size, these cities entail a higher cost. So the use of traditional distribution services needs to be assessed. The key is to balance this constraint with effective incentive structures to encourage agent productivity and thus make up for the lower ticket size through higher volumes."

"They are able who think they are able." - Virgil 

Yum! Restaurants India honoured for empowering specially-abled people

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 05 :
"I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." - Edward Everett Hale

And so for empowerment of persons with disabilities Yum! Restaurants India, the parent company of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, won National Award for the Empowerment of Persons with Dissabilities-2014 by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Department of Disability Affairs, Government of India.

"Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy." - Norman Vincent Peale

The award recognizes KFC's outstanding contribution as an employer of people with disabilities providing them the opportunity to harness their professional aspirations and potential.

"Rain cannot pass through the glass, but light can; light cannot travel deep into the caves, but rain can! We all have different abilities! Neither rain is superior to light nor light is superior to rain!"

And so the ceremony was held on 3rd of December 2014 at Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi with the President of India , Mr Pranab Mukherjee felicitating KFC with the award.

"Empowerment is the ability to refine, improve, and enhance your life without co-dependency."

Yum! introduced first specially-abled KFC restaurant in the year 2008 to employ hearing and speech impaired individuals. Yum! aimed at empowering the differently abled and bringing them into the mainstream. With an endevour of creating a company that is both ambitious and compassionate, this programme was taken forward.

"Explore and discover the powerful ability within you."

To take this effort to the next level, Yum! Academy was established in 2012. The Yum! Academy provides a fully sponsored 11 weeks program in which the specially-abled youth are taught English and critical skills for employment in the retail and hospitality sector.
Yum! Academy's main motive is to make these individuals self-sufficient and independent in their respective line of work. At the end of this course the Academy not only employs them at the Special KFC restaurants but also imparts vocational skills that can be useful at every stage of their careers in the industry.

"Rise up, empower yourself and take a step. The only way to know that you still have some amount of strength in you when you fall is to attempt to rise up. However if you believe you don't have any strength, you will remain where you are!"
― Israelmore Ayivor, The Great Hand Book of Quotes

" Instead of losing motivation, empower yourself to prove detractors wrong"

Through this initiative Yum! Restaurants have helped to unleash the true potential of specially-abled people and build on their self-esteem. This has helped us prove to the world that it's not their disability that defines them but how wonderfully they deal with the challenges of their disability.

Niren Chaudhary, president, Yum! Restaurants India said, " Today 350 specially-abled employees are working on the Yum! fold. Yum! India is privileged and proud to be part of the journey to making these special individuals independent and self-reliant."

"Unexplored paths lead to undiscovered treasures"- Constance Chuks Friday  

India tourism in full swing
at WTM in London

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

LONDON/NEW DELHI, NOVEMBER 05 "I can't think of anything that excites a greater sense of childlike wonder than to be in a country where you are ignorant of almost everything." - Bill Bryson

And backed by several new initiatives including  easing of visa rules, aggressive marketing initiatives, development of niche tourism products and use of technology coupled with mobile readiness , India is targeting double-digit growth in tourist inflow by end of this financial year itself.

“International tourist inflow to India has been growing  at about Six to Seven per cent annually.  The foreign tourist arrival in India during 2013 was about Seven Million, with growth of 5.9 per cent  as compared to the year 2012.  This year till September 2014 there has been growth of  7.6 per cent in foreign tourist arrival.”said  India’s Union Minister of state for Culture and Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik at the ongoing World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event of Travel and Tourism Trade in  London, UK.

 “Ministry of Tourism has taken several new  initiatives including introducing Visa on arrival for several countries, simplification  of procedures for classification /reclassification of hotels and restaurants, improving infrastructure development , identification and improving  major tourist circuits, intensification of promotional and marketing strategies to further build  brand “Incredible India” and translating of ministry’s promotional website  www.incredibleindia.org in various languages  including Chinese, Arabic, French, German, Korean, and Japanese languages to further position India as a leading tourist destination.” Minister Naik said.

“The government has been encouraged by the good response to the visa on arrival scheme and plans to extend Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)  to the 12 countries. Between January and September 2014, 19,290 visas on arrival were issued compared to 13,859 during the same time last year, reflecting an increase of 39.2%. The countries that already have visa on arrival scheme include Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Finland, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Luxembourg.”, the Minister said

  “The UK is more than just an important market for India , this market remains our largest overseas source market. Tourists from United Kingdom (UK) accounted for 11.63 % of the global visitors to India Our UK trade partners must know that we are in this market to stay and that we will be working even harder and smarter to grow our market share.” The Minister added.

Apart from Ministry of Tourism about  47 exhibitors from India including states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, MP, Punjab, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Assam, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP and Sikkim are showcasing their tourism products in the India Pavilion. Total of 172 Indian companies including ITDC, Indian Rail and IRCTC  are participating in the WTM,  tourism trade expo.

India is showcasing world’s oldest city  Varanasi and the famous Great Stupa of Sanchi of Madhya Pradesh at WTM. The India Pavilion depicts Varanasi’s famous ‘Dev Deepawali’, the festival of billion lights also known as ‘Diwali of the gods’ celebrated  on the Fifteen  days after Diwali every year on the occasion of Kartik Poornima. The other theme is the famous Budha Monument Sanchi Stupa situated near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh to woo Budhist tourists from various parts of the world.

Besides interacting with the trade and media, Minister Naik will participate in a Ministerial Summit that brings together Tourism Ministers and global industry leaders to explore international best practice. Free Mehndi (Hena Application)  and Bangles and Puja are another highlight of India Pavilion.

Modi lends bigger impact to
Indian Pavilion at WTM 2014


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

 

LONDON, NEW DELHI, GOA, NOVEMBER 03 :
Prime Minister Narender Modi's impact could be seen at the World Travel Market (WTM) , considered to be one of the largest tourism trade platforms in the world , which opened in London on Monday. The main theme of the India Pavilion at travel expo is world's oldest city Varanasi and the famous Great Stupa of Sanchi of Madhya Pradesh.

India's Union Minister of state for Culture and Tourism Shripad Yesso Naik who is leading the Indian delegation of India's tourism marketers inaugurated the India pavilion at WTM on Monday with showcasing of Varanasi's famous 'Dev Deepawali', the festival of billion lights also known as 'Diwali of the gods' celebrated on the Fifteen days after Diwali every year on the occasion of Kartik Poornima. This year the Dev Deepawali of Varanasi being observed from Nov 3-6, 2014 has coincided with the dates of Four day WTM London. The other theme is the famous Budha Monument Sanchi Stupa situated near Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

Apart from Ministry of Tourism about 47 exhibitors from India including states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, MP, Punjab, Chandigarh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Assam, Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka, UP and Sikkim are showcasing their tourism products in the India Pavilion. Total of 172 Indian companies including ITDC, Indian Rail and IRCTC are participating in the tourism trade expo.

About 50 000 product owners, tour operators and travel agencies, airlines, technology providers, government ministers, global industry leaders and international travel media are expected to attend the event between Monday and Thursday this week.

" WTM creates opportunities for India to negotiate business deals with international travel trade and attract tourists as well as discuss issues that affect the sector and expand networks. Besides maintaining excitement about our destination, and all that we have to offer, this platform is about doing business and growing international tourist arrivals to our country," said Minister Shripad Yesso Naik at the pavilion .

"Our tourism sector has a strong base from which we can grow further. The foreign tourist arrival in India including UK during 2013 was about Seven Million, with growth of 5.9 per cent as compared to the year 2012. This year till September 2014 there has been growth of 7.6 per cent in foreign tourist arrival "said Mr Naik.

"The government has been encouraged by the good response to the visa on arrival scheme and plans to extend Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to the 12 countries. Between January and September 2014, 19,290 visas on arrival were issued compared to 13,859 during the same time last year, reflecting an increase of 39.2%. The countries that already have visa on arrival scheme include Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Finland, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Luxembourg.", the Minister said .

"The UK is more than just an important market for India , this market remains our largest overseas source market. Our UK trade partners must know that we are in this market to stay and that we will be working even harder and smarter to grow our market share." The Minister added.

Besides interacting with the trade and media, Minister Naik will participate in a Ministerial Summit that brings together Tourism Ministers and global industry leaders to explore international best practice. Free Mehndi (Hena Apllication and Bangles is another highlight of India Pavilion)

Puri - Konark hovercraft service
from first week of October 2014
 


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

BHOPAL /BHUBANESWAR/NEW DELHI SEPTEMBER 23 : Every time I stand before a beautiful beach, its waves seem to whisper to me: If you choose the simple things and find joy in nature's simple treasures, life and living need not be so hard." - ― Psyche Roxas-Mendoza

And so the Department of Tourism (DoT), Government of Odisha will start hovercraft service between temple town Puri and Sun temple Konark a stretch of 34 Km by First week of October (Next Month ) in a bid to take tourism at next higher level .

Odisha Government also has drawn up plan to introduce water surfing and water sorts in Puri as well as develop Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding, a water support and island hopping in the magnificent Chilika lake to further attract domestic as well as international tourists across the globe .

"Chilika provides a similar experience to open ocean paddling but with significantly lower risks. The Eastern Ghats lend a dramatic backdrop for paddling and lake is dotted by scenic islands and historical landmarks like the 19th century British Tax Collection point building. Keeping in mind various islands in Chilika lake, the Government also plans to add island hopping as part of further promoting tourism in the state," said Mr Ashok Chandra Panda, Odisha Tourism and Cultural Miniter while speaking at the Odisha Tourism roadshow in Bhopal on Friday.

"With Union government's stress on developing Budhist Tourism circuit in India, we have pitched hard for the inclusion of Odisha in the proposed Buddhist circuit. Though Odisha has a strong presence of Buddhism, it has not been included in the Buddhist circuit. Why Odisha should not be included" the Minister questioned.

Talking about poor air connectivity, the Minister said, "I've proposed to Air India which provides services between Delhi-Bhubaneswar-Port Blair and it should be extended to Phuket to attract visitors from that region particularly Buddhist pilgrims from South Asia and South East Asia."
He also said that the State Government has made a strong case before the railway authorities to reinstate the services of the IRCTC sponsored train which earlier used to go to Odisha, so that the idea to look further east will be justified.

"At a time when the Ministry of Tourism has been laying stress on cleanliness at sites of tourism importance under its Clean India Campaign, it remains a concern in one of the most visited places in Odisha – Puri. Every year, around one crore tourists visit the State and a majority of them go to Puri for the beach and the 12th Century Jagannath temple. Under the cleaniness campaign, the Tourism Department and Puri district administration have now identified traffic and parking junctions in the Pilgrim town, Grand Road and the Puri beach, where cleanliness will be given added emphasis for comfort of the tourists," Mr Panda said.

"Though Puri has the distinction of having a sprawling beach in the eastern region, its cleanliness is a major concern .Taking the cleanliness to next level, We will introduce Mechanised cleaning of beaches also", Minister added.

"In view of the forthcoming World Tourism Day to be celebrated on September 27 , 2014, on the eve of World Tourism Day, Odisha tourism will organise series of events on that day which will include te. The morning will kick-start with a Tourism Walk starting from Master Canteen Square to Ekamra Haat via Ram Mandir and with Pink Auto procession from Rupali Square to terminate at Ekamra Haat. The theme of this year is "Tourism & Community Development". To celebrate the event associating the communities, four roadside platforms will be prepared to showcase the performing art forms of Odisha such as Ghoda nacha, Sambalpuri dance, Gotipua and Ghoomra. It is also planned to welcome the tourists at Airport, Railway Stations, Sun Temple, Konark and other important places in Odisha by the tourism stakeholders"said Mr Panda.

"Ödisha tourism also plans to add two new tourism circuits in Odhisha on the lines of Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark golden triangle . These two new tourism circuits are Kuldiha-Similipal-Bhitarkanika-Panchlingeswar-Chandipur-Talsari circuit and Malkangiri-Jeypore-Nabarangpur-Koraput-Rayagada-Daringibadi- Chandragiri-Taptapani circuit,said Said Mr Utkal K Pati, deputy Director, Tourism Department , Government of Odisha.

"Apart from these, Odisha has successfully nurtured three great religions like Buddhism, Jainism & Hinduism. The DoT is also organising a number of Tourism events like Konark Festival (1st – 5th December), International Sand Art Festival (1st – 5th December), Parab Tribal Festival (16 – 18 November), Dhanu Yatra Festival (Dec – Jan) Rajarani Music Festival (18 – 20 January), Mukteswar Dance Festival (14 – 16 January) etc. to attract more of domestic and international tourists," Mr Pati added.

Odisha Tourism to attract domestic tourists from various parts of the country is holding road shows in different cities starting from Pune and Bhopal . The next road show will be held in Bangalore in October

 

"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." - Gustave Flaubert

Odisha Tourism to introduce Stand
UP Paddle boarding in Chilka lake
 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

Mr M R Patnaik, MD OTDC and Mr Ashok Chandra Panda, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Odisha Govt. 

PUNE/BHUBANESWAR/NEW DELHI AUGUST 25 :
You have the nicest window, you know? None of the others can even compete. It´s not flashy like the others, or bleary – your window gives of this nice, quiet light." ― Banana Yoshimoto, The Lake

And so the Department of Tourism (DoT), Government of Odisha has drawn up plan to introduce Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Boarding, a water support and island hopping in the magnificent Chilika lake to further attract domestic as well as International tourists across the globe .

" Stand Up Paddle Boarding, which is referred as SUP and has become one of the most popular water sport across the world , originated in Hawaii as off shoot of surfing will be arriving in Chilika lake . Sea and sun lovers all over the world will be able to jump the proverbial bandwagon , which is surfboard soon and enjoy the Chilka lagoon with its tranquil bearing and wide diversity of wildlife including the famous Irrawaddy dolphins, thousands of species of migratory birds and abundance of marine life" informed Mr Ashok Chandra Panda ,while speaking at the Odisha Tourism Road, Show in Pune on late Saturday evening.

A scenic view of Chilka lake , Odisha  

"Chilika lake can emerge the most preferred exotic location for international SUP enthusiasts. A recent study undertaken by a leading SUP promotion and training organisation of UK, and Surfing Yogis organisation of Odisha has, in fact, found the lake safer than river Thames, sans any significant current or obstructions where paddlers could potentially be pinned. The lake averages depth of about five feet in most parts with exceptions of some locations where depth is up to 15 feet. The water is mostly calm and flat, particularly in the morning, which is ideal for relaxed paddling and for teaching beginners" said Mr Panda.

"Chilika provides a similar experience to open ocean paddling but with significantly lower risks. The Eastern Ghats lend a dramatic backdrop for paddling and lake is dotted by scenic islands and historical landmarks like the 19th century British Tax Collection point building. Keeping in mind various islands in Chilika lake, the Government also plans to add Island Hopping as part of further promoting tourism in the state." Added Mr Panda.

"Ödisha tourism also plans to add two new tourism circuits in Odhisha on the lines of Bhubaneswar-Puri-Konark golden triangle . These two new tourism circuits are Kuldiha-Similipal-Bhitarkanika-Panchlingeswar-Chandipur-Talsari circuit and Malkangiri-Jeypore-Nabarangpur-Koraput-Rayagada-Daringibadi- Chandragiri-Taptapani circuit." Said Mr M.R Patnaik, Director Cum Additional Secretary , Tourism, Odisha Government.

"Construction of wayside amenities, budget accommodations, public toilets, drinking water and tourist information centres at locations under the two circuits shall be undertaken under the project in PPP mode." said Mr Patnaik.

Odisha Tourism to attract domestic tourists from various parts of the country is holding road shows in different cities starting from Pune. The next road show will be held in Bhopal in September. It has already organised 5 roadshows last year and has planned to organise 8 road shows this year. It is a happy coincidence that first such roadshow is being organised in this great city of Pune.

Cultural content has importance to society above and beyond its ability to generate a profit." - Bjørn Erik Thon 

Odisha Tourism roadshow at
Pune to attract domestic tourists


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

  It's retelling the story of beauty !

PUNE , AUGUST 24 : "Journeys end in lovers meeting, Every wise man's son doth know."- William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night  

"I emerged from the black oil pools in the forgotten house of dreams in the wild backcountry of the heart. I am heir to the sun, child of Mother Earth and the Mayan galaxy. All the mountain cures and healing waters and winds and junipers run deep in my bloodstream." -― Jimmy Santiago Baca, The Face

So tourism embedded in our culture came to the fore when The Department of Tourism (DoT), Government of Odisha in it's bid to attract domestic tourists from an important source State like Maharashtra organised its road show in the modern, cultural and industrial hub Pune on Sunday.

The objective is to promote the state and its variety of tourism products in the western part of India.

"When we reject our origins, we become the product of whatever soil that we find ourselves planted; the colors of our leaves change as we consume borrowed nutrients with borrowed roots and, like a tree, we grow." - Mike Norton, Fighting For Redemption

Located on the eastern coast of India, Odisha is a tourists' paradise and has many stunning destinations which offer a visual feast to the tourists and visitors. It also throws an educative and culturally pleasing insight into one of the oldest civilizations of the World.

The roadshow will benefit and provide information on Odisha Tourism to the tour lovers, tour operators, travel agents, travel writers, journalists, decision makers etc.


"Paradise does not exist, but we must nonetheless strive to be worthy of it." - Jules Renard

Odisha is famous for its golden beaches, sprawling lakes, luxuriant forests, teeming wildlife, majestic temples and monuments, Buddhist sites, exotic handloom & handicrafts, primitive tribes, colourful fairs and festivals and the scintillating music, dances and cuisine which attract large number of tourists.
"Travel to Odisha is truly an amazing experience that attracts people from all parts of the world for its sculptural and artistic heritage. The Sun Temple at Konark, a UNESCO Heritage site, The Temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri, one of the four cardinal centres for Hindus (Char Dhams) of India and temple city of Bhubaneswar are important and popular tourist destinations.

The Buddhist heritage of Odisha comprising of Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri-Udayagiri-Langudi and Dhauli attracts tourists from overseas and domestic front." Said Mr Ashok Chandra .Panda, Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Odisha Govt .

"The serene beaches at Puri, Chandipur, Gopalpur and Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, the second largest mangrove forest in India, Simlipal National Park to name a few are very famous tourist attractions. The rock-cut caves of Khandagiri & Udaygiri at Bhubaneswar depicting Jain heritage throw ample light on the magnificent past of Odisha. Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in Asia and a Ramsar site of India with 1100 sq.kms area is famous for Dolphins and migratory birds" said Mr Panda..

"Odisha has successfully nurtured three great religions like Buddhism, Jainism & Hinduism. The DoT is also organising a number of Tourism events like Konark Festival (Decemberc 1 – 5), International Sand Art Festival (December 1 – December 5), Parab Tribal Festival (November 16 – 18), Dhanu Yatra Festival (Dec – Jan) Rajarani Music Festival (18 – 20 January), Mukteswar Dance Festival (January 14 – 16 ) etc. to attract more of domestic and international tourists, "said Mr M R Patnaik, Director Tourism Govt Of Odisha and MD of OTDC .

A progressive and investment friendly tourism policy has been in operation since April 2013. As per the policy a State Level Single Window Committee has been created for speedy implementation of the projects; several incentives have been announced for the Tourism stake holders as part of promotional initiatives.

Odisha tourism to attract domestic tourists from various parts of the country is holding road shows in different cities. It has already organised 5 roadshows last year and has planned to organise 8 road shows this year. It is a happy coincidence that first such roadshow is being organised in this great city of Pune.

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation has also been playing a key role in the promotion and development of tourism in the state. It covers a wide range of facilities to the tourists and visitors with its 22 strategically located hotels & restaurants with fine Odia delicacies, boat riding in Chilika Lake, tour and travels and transport facilities.

Above all Odisha is a peaceful state and the people are hospitable. The state capital Bhubaneswar is a modern city having good connectivity (both rail and air) to all major cities of India. Hope your journey to Odisha will be a memorable one.

Odisha Tourism to hold first roadshows
to attract domestic tourists


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

 

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 19 :
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then?
I cannot say"
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

And so the Department of Tourism (DoT), Government of Odisha in its bid to attract domestic tourists from various parts of India will be holding its road shows in major cities in India. The first road show to attract tourists from Maharashtra state will be held in the modern, cultural and industrial hub Pune on August 23 , 2014. The objective is to promote the state and its variety of tourism products in the western part of India.

Though most tourists accepted the occasional comic misadventure, it was important to them that overall their vacation should be pleasant. When you spend money on a holiday you are essentially purchasing happiness: if you don't enjoy yourself you will feel defrauded." - Alison Lurie, The Last Resort

Interestingly, Odisha Tourism to attract domestic tourists from various parts of India is holding road shows in different cities. It has already organised 5 roadshows last year and has planned to organise 8 road shows this year starting from Pune, The other cities will include Bhopal, Bangalore, Patna and Visakhapatnam .

Located on the eastern coast of India, Odisha is a tourists' paradise and has many stunning destinations which offer a visual feast to the tourists & visitors. It also throws an educative and culturally pleasing insight into one of the oldest civilizations of the world.

The road show will benefit and provide information on Odisha Tourism to the tour lovers, tour operators, travel agents, travel writers, journalists, decision makers etc.
Curiously enough Odisha is famous for its golden beaches, sprawling lakes, luxuriant forests, teeming wildlife, majestic temples & monuments, Buddhist sites, exotic handloom & handicrafts, primitive tribes, colourful fairs and festivals and the scintillating music, dances & cuisine which attract large number of tourists.

To speak truism travel to Odisha is an amazing experience that attracts people from all parts of the world for its sculptural and artistic heritage. The Sun Temple at Konark, a UNESCO Heritage site, The Temple of Lord Jagannath at Puri, one of the four cardinal centres for Hindus (Char Dhams) of India and temple city of Bhubaneswar are important and popular tourist destinations. The Buddhist heritage of Odisha comprising of Ratnagiri-Lalitgiri-Udayagiri-Langudi and Dhauli attracts tourists from overseas and domestic front.

The serene beaches at Puri, Chandipur, Gopalpur and Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, the second largest mangrove forest in India, Simlipal National Park to name a few are very famous tourist attractions. The rock-cut caves of Khandagiri & Udaygiri at Bhubaneswar depicting Jain heritage throw ample light on the magnificent past of Odisha. Chilika, the largest brackish water lake in Asia and a Ramsar site of India with 1100 sq.kms area is famous for Dolphins and migratory birds.

Apart from these, Odisha has successfully nurtured three great religions like Buddhism, Jainism & Hinduism. The DoT is also organising a number of Tourism events like Konark Festival (1st – 5th December), International Sand Art Festival (1st – 5th December), Parab Tribal Festival (16 – 18 November), Dhanu Yatra Festival (Dec – Jan) Rajarani Music Festival (18 – 20 January), Mukteswar Dance Festival (14 – 16 January) etc. to attract more of domestic and international tourists.

Odisha Tourism Development Corporation has also been playing a key role in the promotion & development of Tourism in the state. It covers a wide range of facilities to the tourists & visitors with its 22 strategically located hotels & restaurants with fine Odia delicacies, boat riding in Chilika Lake, tour & travels and transport facilities.

Gujarat, M'rashtra , K,nataka command highest share in investments attracted by tourism industry 


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau


NEW DELHI, AUGUST 19 :
Gujarat followed by Maharashtra and Karnataka are leading states attracting significant investments in India's hotels and tourism industry together accounting for about 61 per cent share, noted an ASSOCHAM study.

"Attracting highest amount of outstanding investments worth over Rs 34,800 crore in India's hotels and tourism industry, Gujarat has emerged on top with lion's share of about 29 per cent amid top 20 major states attracting combined investments worth over Rs one lakh crore in the sector as of financial year 2012-13, thereby reflecting upon successful campaign of Gujarat government to attract investors in its tourism sector," according to a study titled 'Indian Tourism Industry: The way forward,' conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

While Maharashtra has ranked second with about 18 per cent share in total outstanding investments attracted by tourism sector across top 20 states in India followed by Karnataka (about 14 per cent share), Odisha and Andhra Pradesh (six per cent each) amid top five states, highlighted the study prepared by the ASSOCHAM Economic Research Bureau (AERB).

"Clocking compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 100 per cent, Gujarat has recorded significant surge in domestic tourist arrival in the state which crossed 2.4 crore mark in 2012 from a level of 1.1 crore in 2006," further noted the ASSOCHAM study.

Garnering a share of about 2.4 per cent in over 103 crore domestic tourist visits across India in 2012, Gujarat is emerging as ninth most-sought after tourist attractions for domestic travelers, the study added.

However, Gujarat ranks 15th in foreign tourist arrival in India as the state attracted about 1.7 lakh foreign tourists in 2012 which had increased from 1.6 lakh a year ago thereby registering an annual growth rate of about five per cent.

"Building its tourism sector on the its core natural strengths, the Government of Gujarat should hold tourism fairs and festivals in foreign countries on a regular interval for showcasing its rich cultural heritage to lure foreign tourists in large numbers," said Mr D.S. Rawat, national secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the findings of the chamber's study.

"The state government should develop tourism circuits through conjunction of sites as a package in order to offer the tourists a more complete experience," said Mr Rawat.

"Nurturing trained manpower possessing requisite soft skills is also very essential for Gujarat to emerge as one of the leading tourist destination for both domestic and foreign tourists and the same can be done by conducting short-term training programs with focused skill development catering to people engaged in hotels, travel agencies, staff at railway stations, bus stands, staff and guides at monuments," he added.

The Government of Gujarat should provide clear land bank policies to further improve physical infrastructure in order to attract more private sector based investors in Gujarat's hospitality sector, suggested the ASSOCHAM study.

"There is tremendous scope to develop star-rated hotels across tier II, III towns in Gujarat to offer quality experiences, more so as second tier cities in the country hold huge potential to drive the hotel and tourism industry."

Public-private partnership (PPP) framework must be adopted to build and manage tourist facilities by laying down industry standards, ethics and practices, ensuring preservation and protection of tourist attractions, recommended the ASSOCHAM study.

Driven by the growing middle class with rising disposable incomes and ever-evolving lifestyles, domestic tourism offers tremendous growth potential for growth and development of India's overall tourism industry," it added.

"There is a need to promote domestic tourism as it spurs job creation especially in the marginal, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), promotes entrepreneurship and accentuates demand for different categories of hotels."

Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra are top five states with highest share in domestic tourist arrival. While Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are amid top five states with highest share in attracting foreign tourist arrivals.

About 5 lakh travellers likely to escape to
nearby tourist hotspots this weekend
 

Thesynergyonline Economics Bureau

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 13 :
About 35 per cent working couples across metros have planned for an escape for the extended weekend this Independence Day, noted a quick survey conducted by ASSOCHAM Social Development Foundation.

About five lakh travelers are likely to make a voyage to renowned weekend destinations, as per the ASSOCHAM survey based on the feedback received from various working couples and tour operators in metros.

"The weekend starting this Independence Day on Friday gets extended up to Janmashtami on Monday (August 18) and about 35 per cent of working couples in metros have planned to make it an extended holiday and escape to the nearby tourist destinations," highlighted the ASSOCHAM survey.
The ASSOCHAM representatives interacted with about 500 working couples to gauge their mood and plans for the Independence Day weekend in five cities of Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi-NCR, Kolkata and Mumbai during the last fortnight.

While about 35 per cent respondents conceded they had planned their itinerary in advance, about 55 per cent said they would relax at home and enjoy some good quality time with their family and the remaining 10 per cent said they have not made any plans so far, pointed out the ASSOCHAM survey.
"With work schedules getting hectic by the day, working couples in India impatiently await weekends and are thus planning to make the most of this extended weekend," said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM while releasing the chamber's survey.

"As long weekends are becoming rare variety, the working couples see this is as a perfect time to getaway owing to many public holidays this month," said Mr Rawat.

ASSOCHAM also interacted with representatives of leading travel portals, travel agencies, hoteliers who have come up with various packages as they had received good number of bookings for traditional picturesque destinations around these metros.

Many of the tour operators said they have offered special packages for working couples to cash in on monsoon tourism and with the long weekend coinciding they are getting a good response for the same, noted the ASSOCHAM survey.

According to the survey, certain respondents even said that their companies have enabled work from home facility for their employees so that they can spend the weekend comfortably and complete their tasks as per their convenience without worrying much about the deadlines.

Agra, Dharamshala, Haridwar, Jaipur, Jim Corbett, Khatu Shyam, Landsdowne, Mathura & Vrindavan, Manali, Mussorrie, Nainital, Rishikesh, Shimla, Vaishno Devi and others are amid top weekend getaway destinations for about 40 per cent respondents from Delhi-NCR.

While Ashtvinayak, Goa, Khandala, Lonavla, Mahabaleshwar, Matheran are top destinations for about 30 per cent working couples in Mumbai looking for an escape during the upcoming weekend.
Ambaji, Gir, Kutch, Mount Abu, Daman & Diu, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Udaipur and others are significant getaway destinations for about 45 per cent working couples planning a quick holiday this weekend in Ahmedabad.

Chikmagalur, Coorg, Madhugiri, Mysore, Nandi Hills, Ooty, Ramanagara, Shivanasamudra Waterfalls, Wayanad and others are most sought after weekend getaway destinations for 35 per cent working couples in B'lore.

Bakkhali, Darjeeling, Digha, Mandarmoni, Murshidabad, Navadivpa, Raichak Santiniketan, Sunderbans, Tajpur, Tarapith and others are certain preferred weekend getaways said about 25 per cent respondents in Kolkata.

Those with hefty pockets are going for a quick holiday to internationally renowned low-cost destinations like Thailand, Mauritius, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Dubai, further noted the ASSOCHAM survey.

India and Seychelles discuss tourism cooperation

 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, AUGUST 04 :
India and Seychelles here today held a delegation level bi-lateral meeting to discuss tourism cooperation between the two countries. Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Shri Shripad Yesso Naik and Minister of Tourism and Culture, Government of Seychelles, Mr. Alain St. Ange led their respective sides. During the 45-minutes talks both the sides noted the important link that India has with Seychelles in the form of Indian nationals who have been among the earliest inhabitants of this island mostly from Tamil Nadu and later on from Gujarat. Together they constitute around 7% of the total population.

At the meeting, both the sides agreed to hold Road Shows to promote tourism in each other's country. It was also agreed that both the countries would work towards constituting a Joint Forum of Tour Operators for promoting their tourism destinations and products. They both agreed to organize familiarization tours for media and travel writers to each other's country.

Both the sides agreed to the view that a direct non-stop flight between India and Seychelles will promote trade and tourism between the two countries in a significant way. Both the sides decided to consider this suggestion.

The visiting side showed interest in Medical Tourism in India, expertise of India in museums and archives, digitization of records and creative graphic designing. They sought India's help in these fields. India agreed to consider the request of Seychelles side.

Mr. Alain St. Ange extended invitation to Shri Shripad Naik to visit Seychelles in the month of October to attend India's Day in Seychelles and UNWTO Meeting which is scheduled to be held there.

India invited investment from Seychelles in the hotel sector. India allows 100 per cent FDI in hotel sector on automated basis. The visiting Minister of Seychelles agreed to explore the possibilities of promoting investment in the field of hotel industry India.

 

"They were stars on this stage, each playing to an audience of two." - F Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned 

Goa Tourism to organize Goa
Wedding Show in New Delhi

ThHesynergyonline Touirism Bureau

 

MUMBAI, JULY 26 :
Two Trees
A portion of your soul has been entwined with mine
A gentle kind of togetherness, while separately we stand.
As two trees deeply rooted in separate plots of ground,
While their topmost branches come together, Forming a miracle of lace against the heavens." ― Janet Mills, The Power of a Woman

And so with a wide range of options right from beaches to quaint churches, picture perfect beaches and majestic forts serving as a backdrop for couples to live their dream wedding, the wedding tourism market in Goa is definitely on an upward swing. Realizing the potential that this market holds and to strengthen the state's presence in the segment, Goa Tourism has decided to host its first 'Goa Wedding Show' on August 16 and 17, 2014 at The Grand Ballroom, Delhi. This was announced at a press conference in Mumbai which featured Mr Dilip Parulekar, Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Goa, representing the title sponsor Satyug Gold as its chairperson Ms Shilpa Shetty Kundra, CEO of Satyug Gold Mr Raj Kundra, celebrated fashion designer Mr Wendell Rodricks, Mr. Nilesh Cabral, Chairman – Goa Tourism Development Corporation and Mr. Nikhil Desai, Managing Director – Goa Tourism Development Corporation.

"The groom always smiles proudly because he's convinced he's accomplished something quite wonderful. The bride smiles because she's been able to convince him of it."
― Judith McNaught, A Kingdom of Dreams

And so The Goa Wedding Show 2014 aims at boosting tourism in Goa by tapping into the emerging destination wedding market in India. Exhibitors will include wedding planners, hotels, event managers, vendors, fashion designers, spas, travel agencies, hotels, photographers/videographers, hair and make-up artists and artist managers. The organizers hope that this experience will help increase trade opportunities for local vendors in Goa.

Mr Dilip Parulekar, Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Goa, said "The Indian wedding market is valued at $38 billion a year and is expected to grow 25-30 percent annually. We hope that this initiative will serve as a platform to bring together the best of Goa and showcase what makes the state such a viable wedding destination. We are optimistic about the success of this event and plan to make it an annual property."

Ms. Shilpa Shetty Kundra, added, "A wedding is one of the most important moments in a girl's life and the destination is as important as the occasion itself. Goa is one of my favourite destinations. The best part about this state is that you have everything right from beaches to history and a lot of nature. I have attended several weddings in Goa and each has been different from the other. And every time I have returned with a sense of amazement that redefines my perception of a dream wedding."

Goan fashion designer Mr. Wendell Rodricks, who has witnessed and been a part of several weddings in Goa, remarked, "Organizing your dream wedding takes a certain amount of time and it is heartening to note that you can get all that you want under one roof in Goa. According to me, this along with the state's natural beauty and varied landscapes makes it a dream wedding destination."
From its spectacular architecture to its dreamy beaches, Goa has emerged as one of India's best wedding destination, providing hundreds of picturesque locations and unique experiences. The Goa Wedding Show 2014 will serve as an optimum marketing tool that will give access to potential clients within a short period of time.

 

"Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you've never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground."
- Judith Thurman

70% travel trade gone online; airlines
marching towards 100%

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, JULY 20 :
"To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live."
- Hans Christian Andersen,
The Fairy Tale of My Life: An Autobiography

And so over 70 per cent of travel trade in India has gone online and the figure will likely reach 85-90 per cent in the next five years with maximum of internet usage being seen in airlines ticketing, luxury and mid-segment hotel bookings and the Railways with the booking agents mushrooming even in smaller cities, an ASSOCHAM study has said.

In the case of ticketing of airlines, the internet penetration and usage has already crossed 95 per cent with hardly anyone seen on the airlines counters or even at the counters of the travel agents, who themselves have gone online.

The Railways too has made a significant dent in the ticketing through internet. Though the Railways carries 13 million passengers per day, majority of them are those who commute daily to their work place mostly through the monthly season tickets in the metro cities or within distances of 100-120 km. The ASSOCHAM study excluded such categories of daily commuters from the travel trade…

But the size of the Internet usage in the Railways can be gauged from the fact that its subsidiary IRCTC, generates about one lakh e-tickets per day while two lakh people visit its web site daily. "But as the e-governance enhances further and the Railways modernises, the level of internet penetration will increase even among the daily passengers and local commuters. At present, it is largely restricted to the express and mail trains, as indicated by our study," ASSOCHAM Secretary General Mr D S Rawat said.

However, it would also depend on the broadband spread in the rural areas and working of smart cards.

While the hotel booking in the high-end and mid-segment has moved on the internet bookings, the progress is still lacking in the low segment hotels. In smaller cities, especially among the pilgrim centres, tourists still go un-booked, though the trend is changing.

In so far as the star category hotels are concerned, the online looking is almost above 95 per cent, while among the mid-segment, it is catching up fast…..It is somewhere in the range of 80-85 per cent among the popular tourist destinations, especially in the big cities.

Despite some of the portals like Redbus etc…..the travel through buses has not really gone online for booking.

While some of the progressive road transport corporations like in Haryana are modernising, it will take time and lot more resources for the internet penetration among bus operators. One of the reasons is the sector is largely fragmented among the private operators, majority of whom operate on a small scale with fleet size as low as two three buses. On a national scale, the internet booking is less than 10 per cent as per estimates by the study.

The ASSOCHAM study noted that the mushrooming growth of travel websites , some of them with big budget , has contributed significantly to the online catching up with the tourists. "The trend is likely to only grow with more services on SMS, logistics supports, etc on the increase", the study pointed out.

The travel portals have also contributed to the increase of businesses for the mid-segment and small hotels, while on the consumer confidence scale, a lot more needs to be corrected. For instance, gaps are noticed between what is promised on the portal and what the real deal is.

"Increased competition among these portals will lead to better services and only the ad spend will not work. The word of mouth through the social media makes a huge difference and the trend of users' experience sharing should only be encouraged by the likes of Facebook and Linkedin ", Mr Rawat said.

Besides, the consumer redressal system should be encouraged and put in place both at level of the industry organisations and associations and also by the states and centre. In fact, the industry should itself take the lead and form self- governance models with the help of apex bodies.

However, if there is one segment which has remained largely outside the Internet penetration – it is the foreign exchange business, "because of sensitivity of business and strict regulation", it said. With newer technologies coming by the day, even the foreign exchange businesses of money-changing will shift fast to the online delivery models, while pre-paid limited period debit cards have been launched by leading money-changers.

Give boost to tourism and hospitality
sector : Rana Kapoor

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, JULY 01 :
India's vibrant Tourism industry has the potential to grow four-fold to INR 25 lakh Crore by 2022. ASSOCHAM believes that Tourism and Hospitality sector can contribute significantly to economic growth by accelerating infrastructure development, generating livelihood, bringing in foreign exchange and facilitating social up-liftment through education, skill development and cross-cultural interface.
Development of 50 thematic, affordable tourism circuits will unleash the sectors' untapped potential and create a transformational shift for 'BRAND INDIA', in addition to creating new jobs by 2024.

Number of foreign tourists coming to India is estimated to increase from 75 Lakh currently, to over 1.3 Crore by 2024; and revenue from domestic tourism likely to grow by 8.2% in 2014 from 5.1% last year. Although the above figures are impressive, India's current share of tourist arrival is a mere 0.64 per cent.

Meanwhile, ASSOCHAM has recommended short and long term measures to the Government to give boost to the Tourism and Hospitality sector that has multiplier effect on the Indian economy.

IMMEDIATE / SHORT Term Recommendations:

'Infrastructure' status for hotel projects with minimum 50-100 rooms, from current cost-based criteria of INR 200 Crore or more; reduce availability constraints by expanding mid-segment hotels of 2-3 star category

Single window clearance for all approvals and permissions for developing hotels and attractive incentives for setting up hotels in hinterland destinations

Fast track E-Visa facility, especially for SAARC, BIMSTEC, GCC and ASEAN nations – explore 'combined visa' to encourage stopovers

Enable cashless payment ecosystem through travel cards and e-payments

Create strong tourism footprint around International sporting events such as Under-17 FIFA World Cup 2017, Indian Premier League, Hockey India League

Revive Inter-State Council's recommendations on Eco-tourism

Differentiate campaigns for target countries and repeat visitors, create 24X7 tourism guidance cells, information centers and tourist-focused mobile applications
Promote India as a safe destination - register all tour guides and operators with State Governments
LONG Term Recommendations:

Introduce uniform tax structure across States and VAT refunds for international tourists leaving India
Develop 50 tourist circuits around themes such as Religion, Heritage, Culture, Himalayas, Desert, North-East Region, Coastal, Sports and Films

India is home to most major religions of the world – significant enabler for Religious Tourism such as Buddhist Tourism Circuit and Hindu pilgrimage beyond Char Dham – also explore synergy with the North East, SAARC and South East Asian countries

Promote several regional festivals for year round tourist footfall - Kumbh, Pushkar and Hornbill – akin to 'Oktober Fest' of Germany

Develop world class Convention Centres for growth in MICE tourism
Develop 100 new airports in Tier II and III cities to improve air connectivity in the hinterland –upgrade over 300 unused air strips

Effective collaboration with Railways to promote 'Go beyond' tourism destinations and develop Pilgrimage Rail Network

Implement River Front Development Projects in major cities, such as the 'Clean Yamuna' initiative and linking Delhi - Agra waterway

Address skill gap and provide vocational training, including soft skills for on-ground service providers at transit hubs and monuments

Tourism and Hospitality industry to integrate disaster management plan through better coordination with the Government, NDMA and other key agencies

Align Centre and State policies to promote collaborative community-based tourism as a source of sustainable livelihood for local communities

 

"Sweet, sweet burn of sun and summer wind, and you my friend, my new fun thing, my summer fling." - k.d. lang

India's outbound tourism witnessing
rush this summer , says Assocham

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

 

"...summer softens lines that winter cruelly shows..." - John Geddes  

NEW DELHI, JUNE 29 :
"How they dance in the courtyard, sweet summer sweat. Some dance to remember, some dance to forget" ― The Eagles, Hotel California

"Summer, after all, is a time when wonderful things can happen to quiet people. for those few months, you're not required to be who everyone thinks you are, and that cut-grass smell in the air and the chance to dive into the deep end of a pool give you a courage you don't have the rest of the year. you can be grateful and easy, with no eyes on you, and no past. summer just opens the door and lets you out." - Deb Caletti, Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Thanks to some aggressive marketing by travel operators to sell a wide range of global destinations, more and more Indian tourists from the upper middle class families are opting for foreign holidays this summer, helped by online travel portals and social media references, reveals the associated chamber of commerce and industry of India (ASSOCHAM) findings.

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer."
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
― Mark Twain, Mark Twain: The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

The paper said it is estimated that the outbound tourists may increase by about 15-20% in this summer, though domestic destinations like Srinagar are also drawing a huge draw as is witnessed by full flights to and from these destinations.

Significantly, the outbound tourist rush is being witnessed even as the Indian economy is battling a slowdown. Excessive heat in most parts of the country, particularly in the North, coupled with attractive packages for nearby countries like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia are wooing the well-off middle class to opt for such destinations, highlights the ASSOCHAM paper.

"The trend of outbound tourism is expected to grow further once the economy picks up in the next 18 months or so. Another reason for Indians opting for overseas holidays is the fast integration of the Indian economy with the rest of the world, courtesy Indian IT firms sending lakhs of professionals on short-term assignments to work on the onsite projects", adds the paper.

This exposure motivates them and enables them financially to plan and take families to the global tourist destinations. The confidence level of Indian families has also gone up thanks to their regular links with a vast Indian diaspora via the social media like What's App, Facebook etc.

"Besides, the ease of travelling has also gone up - right from hotel booking , airlines booking and transfers from and to hotels are all available on a click of a button", said Mr D S Rawat ASSOCHAM Secretary General.

The tour packages are available as low as Rs 25,000-30,000 for outbound trips . In fact some of the overseas destinations like Thailand are working out cheaper than the domestic destinations like Kerala for Delhiites, tempting the families to go abroad for holidays, adds the paper.

While the outbound tourism does not help the economy as much as the inbound, sectors like aviation and tour operators are doing brisk business this summer. According to the paper, international tourist destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Dubai, Maldives, and South Africa will be Indian travellers' favorites this summer.

Mr. Rawat further said, "With big disposable incomes and an increase in spending power, high-end professionals in the private sector have more propensities to travel abroad for vacations".

The travel and tourism industry in India is seeing a shift in preferences of holiday makers. European countries, which for long remained favourite for tourists from India are being replaced by cheaper destinations like Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore etc. interest in cruise packages too has increased, added Mr.Rawat.

As per the ASSOCHAM estimates, top on the list are Turkey and France, besides other Schengen countries. Singapore and Malaysia follow.

"The new trend that people are adopting is to travel in groups and they prefer multiple places rather than sticking with one option. Apart from this, richer families are also choosing destinations like Disneyland, France. Honeymooners enquire about Morocco, Spain, Portugal and prefer Kenya for wildlife etc.

UP incidents can upset Taj Mahal foreign tourists; stakes high : Assocham to state Govt

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, JUNE 10:
"Self-respect--the secure feeling that no one, as yet, is suspicious." - H.L. Mencken

Tourism and security are inextricably linked and play a predominant role in the life of a tourist . Incidents of rapes and law and order in Uttar Pradesh reverberating in the global media and even among the United Nations echelon will leave their adverse impact on the inbound tourism since near about half of the total foreign tourists come to India attracted by the Taj Mahal, located in UP, Amritsar's Golden Temple, Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh) and Jaipur (Rajasthan), ASSOCHAM cautioned.

"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life." - Jane Addams

Of the US$ 18-19 billion foreign exchange earned through the Foreign Tourists Arrivals (FTAs), the Taj Mahal itself is responsible for USD 7- 8 billion, said Mr. D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHM while releasing the paper.

However, the only factor which can lead to doing less of the damage is the fact that these incidents like the one at Badaun have happened in quite a lean season when the foreign tourist arrivals come quite to a trickle thanks to heat wave in most parts of India, particularly in the North.
"Still, about 4.5 lakh foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) are recorded even in June. However, the North-bound FTAs are less in number…..In a way, the damage because of the adverse publicity resulting from these unfortunate incidents could be limited because of lean period," the chamber said in a paper.

However, it cautioned that immediate confidence building measures must be taken without any loss of time , well before September-October when the FTAs start picking up, peaking in December and January. In all, the country earns a tidy USD 18-19 billion of foreign exchange through the FTAs, of whom 40-45 per cent have Taj Mahal on their main itinerary.

"Come to think of it, the Taj Mahal itself is responsible for foreign exchange earnings of about USD 7-8 billion. Since it is located in Uttar Pradesh and is very popular among the women tourists, the state government must take steps and send immediate signals across the world that women are safe in the state", added Mr. Rawat.

April till September months, because of summer and humidity are lean season attracting monthly FTAs of about 4-4.5 lakh . However, the figure picks up from October rising from five lakh FTAs to sometimes eight lakh FTAs in December/January with bulk of them visiting the Golden triangle of Delhi-Agra- Rajasthan. Some of the south Indian beaches in Kerala or in Goa are also popular among the foreign tourists.

Hotels, restaurants, transport operators, airlines do brisk businesses in the busy FTA season. "In fact, the country should aim at doubling our FTAs in the next five years and take the foreign exchange earnings from them to at least USD 50 billion a year. But tourism, especially the inbound from overseas is highly sensitive to events and any unsavoury incident can upset the FTAs which can then change directions. They are like wind which blows in favourable direction", added Mr. Rawat.

He said unfortunately the law and order issues have come to the fore at a time when the global tourism is on a rebound and could have offered a great opportunity to India to increase its FTAs.
According to the UN World Tourism Organisation, global forex generated by international tourism in 2013 reached US$ 1.4 trillion. Receipts earned by destinations from international visitors grew by 5% to reach US$ 1159 billion, while an additional US$ 218 billion was earned by international passenger transport.

Receipts in destinations worldwide from expenditure by international visitors on accommodation, food and drink, entertainment, shopping and other services and goods, reached an estimated US$ 1159 billion (euro 873 billion) in 2013. Growth exceeded the long-term trend, reaching 5% in real terms (taking into account exchange rate fluctuations and inflation). The growth rate in receipts matched the increase in international tourist arrivals, also up by 5%, reaching 1087 million in 2013, from 1035 million in 2012, as per UN WTO.

"The only true voyage of discovery is not to go to new places, but to have other eyes." - Marcel Proust

Srinagar a destination to fly with AAI

 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau
 

"Oh fair enough are sky and plain,
But I know fairer far:
Those are as beautiful again
That in the water are;
The pools and rivers wash so clean
The trees and clouds and air,
The like on earth was never seen,
And oh that I were there.
These are the thoughts I often think
As I stand gazing down
In act upon the cressy brink
To strip and dive and drown;
But in the golden-sanded brooks
And azure meres I spy
A silly lad that longs and looks
And wishes he were I."
― A.E. Housman, A Shropshire Lad

"A dominant impulse on encountering beauty is to wish to hold on to it, to possess it and give it weight in one's life. There is an urge to say, 'I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me." - Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel

"O, beauty aren't you enough?" - Nancy Butcher, Beauty
And so Kashmir, the name itself brings back many movie scenes of Bollywood actors running around in the snow with picturesque backgrounds. The place is exactly like out of a dream. When the great king Akbar was asked about Kashmir, he replied "If there is a heaven on earth, it is truly here".

"The day is done, and the darkness
Falls from the wings of Night,
As a feather is wafted downward
From an eagle in his flight.

"I see the lights of the village
Gleam through the rain and the mist… Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The first thing you notice the natural beauty of Kashmir as you are about to land at Srinagar airport is the snow covered peaks and the vegetation of the place. Peaks that rise higher than the clouds welcome you to an experience that is poles apart from anything a tourist catalogue can guarantee you. As you leave the airport to enter the city, a signboard welcomes you saying "Welcome to Heaven on Earth".

Srinagar

"Sun and wind and beat of sea,
Great lands stretching endlessly...
Where be bonds to bind the free?
All the world was made for me!"
- Adelaide Crapsey

And so Srinagar is the capital of Kashmir. Being the capital, it is the epicentre of most activities. With huge markets catering to the needs of the local and tourist population, it is truly a city filled with the vibrancy that one is advised about. The main attraction of Srinagar is the Dal Lake, which is also referred to as the "Jewel in the crown of Kashmir". The lake is an important source of commercial operations in fishing and water plant harvesting. The lake is filled with boats known as shikara's that take you around. '

We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel to bring what little we can, in our ignorance and knowledge, to those parts of the globe whose riches are differently dispersed. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again- to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more." - Pico Iyer

"Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Civilization, man feels once more happy." - Richard Francis Burton

As soon as you enter one and reach a certain distance, many boats come your way. Boats that sell local handicrafts, flowers and seeds, authentic Kashmiri attire to get your photograph clicked in, kebabs etc. The boat takes you around the lake which seems like a really short time.

The stillness and the serenity of the lake is what make even a 2 hour boat ride seem like 15 minutes. The highlight of the boat ride is when the boat takes you to a floating market at the end, huge boats have been converted into shops which sell everything from spices to handicrafts etc.


A travel trail :

Pahalgam

Pahalgam is situated in the north most region of the Indian Province of Kashmir. At a distance of around 87 kilometres from Srinagar, Pahalgam is the quintessence of what Kashmir is all about. Pahalgam boasts of countless Bollywood films being filmed in this region. The local guides give you a brief description of how the famous actors strutted through this beautiful valley. A half an hour horse ride takes you to what is known as "Mini Switzerland". This place is filled with snow with no form of commercialization around. It is truly a tourists dream. Most of the area around this place is protected by the Forest Department which mainly keeps the private organizations out and aims at maintaining the splendour. Beautiful pine trees bigger than the city's multi story buildings are covered with snow, which make sure your experience of fantasy land remains intact.

Sonmarg

At a distance of around 80 kms from Srinagar, Sonmarg is truly a driver's paradise. The drive to this place is one of the most beautiful in all over the world. The only expression one can conjure after arriving at a place like this is one of awe. Thousands of tourists gather here every day to gobble up the local sights. Hoards of locals are waiting for you at the base to take you to the many local sights which include a waterfall, fishing lake and zero point. Sonmarg offers a different perspective to the beauty of Kashmir. This diverse nature of the place is what makes it truly beautiful.

Gulmarg

Around 50 kms from Srinagar, Gulmarg is another hill station that you cannot miss. Even though it is sunny in Srinagar, it is mostly snowing in Gulmarg. This place is, again like Pahalgam, covered with snow for most of the year. Gulmarg boasts of the highest cable car in Asia, referred to as the Gondola. This cable is made with the help of French technology and covers a distance of almost 13,000 ft. The cable car takes you to two phases. The first phase is where normally the tourists go in the summer time; this place is famous for skiing and other winter sports. The first phase is filled with many restaurants and has a hot water spring as well. The second phase is quite tough to get acclimatised to in the winter season, but is worth a watch just for the cable car ride. Beyond the second phase lies the military establishment.

Shalimar Bagh

Shalimar Bagh is at a distance of around 17 kms from Srinagar. These beautiful gardens were made by Jehangir for his wife Noor Jahan. These gardens exhibit a typical Mughal architecture of the gardens, with multiple layers and water fountains. Covered with huge Chenar trees, it is one site you cannot afford to miss.


"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

Surrounded by scenic mountains on all four sides, the lush green fields provide a backdrop for every artists dream. Living in such a place has its effects on the locals too. While the men do outdoor jobs, the women make handicrafts and beautiful pieces of design which are not just famous in India but all over the world. Go into any shop and you will be filled with a barrage of beautiful colours, just waiting for its owner. From finely woven carpets, to papier-mâché boxes with the most beautiful Kashmiri designs, to furniture made from wood that never rots. Most of Kashmir's earnings are through tourism and the handicraft business.
Air Connectivity to Srinagar

People who meet in airports are seventy-two percent more likely to fall for each other than people who meet anywhere else."
― Jennifer E. Smith, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Srinagar is a defence airport where the Airports Authority of India (AAI) maintains a civil enclave. The civil enclave at Srinagar was established in 1979 for facilitation of civil passengers. Srinagar Airport was declared international airport in March 2005.


"Of the gladdest moments in human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of Habit, the leaden weight of Routine, the cloak of many Cares and the slavery of Civilization, man feels once more happy." - Richard Francis Burton

"It was exciting to be off on a journey she had looked forward to for months. Oddly, the billowing diesel fumes of the airport did not smell like suffocating effluence, it assumed a peculiar pungent scent that morning, like the beginning of a new adventure, if an adventure could exude a fragrance." - E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

Srinagar Airport is at a distance of 12 km from the city centre of Srinagar. The airport is spread over an area of 67.1 Acres. Srinagar airport is situated at 1700 meters (5435 ft.) above mean sea level, 900 km north of Delhi


Design and Concept of the Terminal Building

"Design is a plan for arranging elements in such a way as best to accomplish a particular purpose." - Charles Eames

" Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman's Odyssey

"Everything is design. Everything!" -― Paul Rand

Thus, the north facing Terminal Building has a fascinating silhouette of the lower Himalayan range which has been emulated in the form of the Terminal Building. The imposing sloping roof structure is crucial to stand heavy snowfall and optimize air conditioning for interiors. The radial plan form of the building is a stark break from the conventional linear prototype designs.

"When the image is new, the world is new."

So the unique highlight of this design is the high efficient utility of areas from technical point of view. The convex profile on the air side accommodated higher number of in-contact aircraft bays, while on the concave profile of city side it emerges in a welcoming stance focusing at the porch.

If you really want to escape the things that harass you, what you're needing is not to be in a different place but to be a different person."
― Seneca, Letters from a Stoic

The staggering curvilinear roof profile was intended to introduce clerestory lights, and open the two edges of the building for glazing. The roof has been spanned in space frame structure. The stepped roof levels helps break the rigidity of the volume while the radial tubular interlocking form imparts a more fluid imagery. The glazes edges contribute to the daylight factor of interiors. The cut outs on the facades acquire a faint resemblance to the celebrated arches of traditional designs.

"Attention must be paid' is the cardinal rule of design discipline, for the designer is above all someone who pays attention to the situation at hand." -― Ralph Caplan

Overall, the design results is a very vivacious interior volume, and very different from the conventional designs of airports.

Terminal Building

"There is an effective strategy open to architects. Whereas doctors deal with the interior organisms of man, architects deal with the exterior organisms of man. Architects might join with one another to carry on their work in laboratories as do doctors in anticipatory medicine." - Richard Buckminster Fuller, Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure

"BREAKING NEWS: "You're awesome and designed for success; live this day accordingly!"
So Srinagar has a one and half level, integrated Terminal Building with total area of 16900 sq. m.; all operations in respect of international and domestic traffic are conducted from here.

"aesthetic isn't simply about good design for good design's sake." - Noah Kerner

Thus, the New Terminal building is a state –of –the art facilities with see through concept using maximum of steel and glass in structure beside the latest specialized materials like ACP cladding, insulated profile sheet roofing on space frames structure, frameless glazing etc. The Terminal Building is also equipped with modern amenities like Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBB's), escalators, elevators, and central air –conditioning & heating system. Special considerations have also been made to facilitate Haj pilgrims in the New Terminal
Building. The peak hour capacity of Terminal Building has been upgraded from 500 passengers to 950 passengers (450 Intl' Passengers + 500 Dom. Passengers).

"But the vagrant owns the whole vast earth that ends only at the nonexistent horizon, and his empire is an intangible one, for his domination and enjoyment of it are things of the spirit." - Isabelle Eberhardt, The Oblivion Seekers


• Srinagar Airport belongs to Indian Air Force (MOD), and Airports Authority of India maintains a Civil Enclave.
• Presently the Runway dimension is 12000 ft X 150 ft. (3658 m X 45 m)
• The airport is suitable for operation of AB-300 type of aircraft in all weather conditions.
• The Terminal building is suitable for 950 passengers at a time [500 Domestic & 45 International]
• The apron can accommodate 7 nos. of passengers aircraft [2 E & 5 C type] and 2 cargo aircraft.
• Presently, M/s. Air India, Spice Jet, Jet Lite, Indigo and Go air are operating schedule flights.
Work Completed
• Expansion of apron to park 7 passenger aircraft and 2 cargo aircraft.
• Expansion & Modification of terminal building to cater for 950 passengers (500 Domestic and 450 International).
• ILS commissioned w.e.f. 04.02.2011.
Works planned
• Construction of cargo complex – Plan finalized/estimate under preparation.
• Expansion of car park etc.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
― Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad/Roughing It

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." - Henry Miller

In sum, in case of Srinagar" The impulse to travel is one of the hopeful symptoms of life."

(Input provided by Vaibhav Bhujang . He studied Bachelor of Mass Media from St Xavier College, Mumbai with a major in journalism , has been part of many photography exhibitions and loves to take pictures whenever he travels. He is also an avid reader of travel magazines which inspired him to travel and document his experiences. Through these words and photographs he hopes to paint a somewhat vibrant picture of the place).

 

"Make voyages. Attempt them. There's nothing else."
― Tennessee Williams, Camino Real

 

69% of Delhiites reschedule their long
weekend plans for 'Election Day'

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, APRIL 04 :
Over 69 per cent of Delhiites have postponed or rescheduled their long extended weekend plans on 8-13th April due to 'polling day' on April 10, Thursday, according to a quick survey conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

While releasing the ASSOCHAM survey, Mr D S Rawat, Secretary General ASSOCHAM said, those days have gone when the Election Day was treated as a day of 'leisure'. Delhiites who love to escape the Capital for a short trip would not like to change their voting plans as they are more enthusiastic about the political process.

In a survey of 3,800 Delhiites between the ages of 18 and 55, nearly seven in ten respondents said that this year, political engagement is an effective solution to the nation's problems and Delhiites voters are in high spirits ahead of the election polls.

More than half of the people surveyed said that they don't want to skip or miss "Lok Sabha" poll and have already postponed their plan accordingly. Nearly 69 per cent of respondents said they are rescheduling their weekend plans due to election. They also highlighted corruption is their top concern, while the economy came in second place, added majority of the respondent.

"The excitement is quite visible among the younger generation and particularly the first time voters…….this is very healthy development for the Indian democracy," said Mr. Rawat while releasing the ASSOCHAM paper.

"There's a significant change in the belief of people that the government can make a difference, that politics can produce results and that it matters to them," added it's Secretary General.

Nearly 78 per cent of the respondents said, "Corruption, rising price and women safety are main issues worrying Delhiites the most, and also the current economic situation employment is a major concern. They also emphasized that policy should be more focused on child education, health, safety, services, empowerment and jobs.

Over 67 per cent of the respondents felt that roping of the celebrities like film stars are not so influencing on the voters as it used to be and rather people are more concerned about the quality of life and opportunities.

Nearly 61 per cent of the Delhi tour operators also said, this year, the rush during long weekend is grim as compare to other extended weekends.

India to introduce electronic visa facility
this year: Tourism Secretary


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, MARCH 19 :
"The urge to travel feels magnetic. Two of my favorite words are linked: departure time. And travel whets the emotions, turns upside down the memory bank, and the golden coins scatter." ― Frances Mayes

Every place is a goldmine. You have only to give yourself time, sit in a teahouse watching the passers-by, stand in a corner of the market, go for a haircut. You pick up a thread – a word, a meeting, a friend of a friend of someone you have just met – and soon the most insipid, most insignificant place becomes a mirror of the world, a window on life, a theatre of humanity." - Tiziano Terzani, A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East


With a view to liberalise the visa regime, officials in the Tourism Ministry are busy finalising introduction of the electronic visa facility within this year as that would enable India to figure amid top four countries in global tourism, a top Tourism Ministry official said at an ASSOCHAM event held in New Delhi .

"A very historic decision has been taken in which the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the National Security Advisor (NSA) and all the related agencies have unanimously supported introduction of electronic travel authorisation (ETAs)," said the Tourism Secretary, Mr Parvez Dewan while inaugurating a seminar titled 'Think Tourism-Think India: Thought Leadership Meet,' organised by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

"Though the decision has been taken, the orders have not been issued as the implementation does take time and while the software for the system is in place, there is a need to train the manpower," said Mr Dewan. "India will have one of the friendliest visa regimes once the electronic visa facility is introduced."

He further informed that the Tourism Ministry has tied up with world's top hotel school École Hôtelière Avignon.

The Tourism Secretary also informed that setting up of the Indian Culinary Institute (ICI) aimed at imparting training top-notch training in food has been formally approved the Ministry. "Currently, the training in food in hotel management institutes is a minor part of the curriculum while the ICI will be a repository of every single recipe in India including even the smallest community and that would include research and training the people in all cuisines popular across India."

The ICI building will probably come in two years, while it will be having a campus each in Kolkata, Pinjore, Noida and the headquarters will be in Tirupati, he added.
Talking about domestic tourism scenario, Mr Dewan informed that out of the population of about 120 crore, India has about 105 crore domestic tourists as per 2012 figures which is expected to slightly improve when figures for 2013 are ascertained.

"Though India ranks at 39th spot in terms of foreign tourist arrival and 16th in terms of foreign exchange receipts but India has the highest per-capita spend of a tourist in any country in the world," further informed the Tourism Secretary. "We need to go on about visa liberalisation."

Amid others who spoke during the ASSOCHAM seminar included - Mr Radu Octavian Dobre, Charge D'Affaires, Embassy of Romania, Mr Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC Limited, Mr Tushar Pandey, Sr. President & Country Head (PSPM), YES Bank, Mr Dipak Haksar, Chairman, National Council for Tourism & Hospitality, ASSOCHAM and COO, ITC Hotels, Dr Ramesh Kapur, Co-chairman, National Council for Tourism & Hospitality, ASSOCHAM and CMD, A.B. Hotels Limited, Mr Rakesh Singh, Immediate Past President, ICAI, Mr Li Qianguo, Dy, Director, China National Tourism and Mr D.S. Rawat, Secretary General, ASSOCHAM .

"All aesthetic judgment is really cultural evaluation." - Susan Sontag, Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963

 

Festival of India in Vietnam to
begin from Wednesday


Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, MARCH 04 :
As goes the family, so goes the faith; as goes the faith, so goes the culture." -  Kenneth L. Gentry Jr., The Greatness of the Great Commission: The Christian Enterprise in a Fallen World
 

And so the Secretary, Ministry of Culture Mr Ravindra Singh will inaugurate the Festival of India in Vietnam on March 5 , 2014 at the Opera House No. 1, Hanoi.

The 10-day day festival covering 3 cities in Vietnam namely Hanoi, Dannang and Ho Chi Minh City would comprise a dance festival, a food festival, a Buddhist festival, a Buddhist exhibition, and kalbelia folk dances.

The Sangeet Natak Akademy, the Central Institute of Himalayan Studies, the Nava Nalanda Mahavihara and the West Zone Cultural Centre have coordinated the above events. Yoga gurus from Department of Ayush and Mehendi artists would also be participating in the 10 day event.

In the visit, Secretary Culture Mr Ravindra Singh is scheduled to meet Mr Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Mr. Vuong Duy Bien, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism. He will make a courtesy call on Mr. Pham Binh Minh Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam.

On March 6, 2014, Mr Ravindra Singh will inaugurate the Food Festival. Senior dignitaries of the Vietnamese Government are expected to participate in the Food Festival.

Mr Ravindra Singh will visit Ho Chi Minh City on March 7, 2014 and attend the inaugural function of the Buddhist Festival – Buddh Mahotsava at the Pho Quang Pagoda.

During his stay in Ho Chi Minh city he will meet the Vice Chairman People's Committee Ho Chi Minh City Mr. Hua Ngoc Thuan. Secretary Culture Shri Ravindra Singh will conclude his visit to Vietnam on March 9, 2014.

It is always sad to leave a place to which one knows one will never return. Such are the melancholies du voyage: perhaps they are one of the most rewarding things about traveling." - Gustave Flaubert, Flaubert in Egypt: A Sensibility on Tour

India, Japan sign MoU to boost tourism

 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, JANUARY 22 :
"See the world. It's more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security." - Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

And so India and Japan have entered a a tieup for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Japan Tourism Agency, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure , Transport and Tourism, Government of Japan in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Mr. Parvez Dewan, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism in his capacity as Director General, Tourism and Mr. Shigeto Kubo, Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency signed the Memorandum.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Shigeto Kubo, Commissioner, Japan Tourism Agency expressed the hope that the Memorandum would facilitate travel and tourist visits and further strengthen the tourism partnership between the two countries.

Mr Parvez Dewan , Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India said that religious tourism in the form of Buddhist heritage sites is a great attraction for Japanese tourists to India. He said that Japanese tourists have been availing visa-on-arrival in a major way and the highest number of visas on arrival were issued to the tourists from Japan during 2013, as in previous years.

Japan is an important source market for Indian Tourism. In g 2013, India received 2.20 lakh tourists from Japan.

The memorandum between India and Japan is intended to serve as the key instrument for greater action oriented cooperation and further strengthening the close tourism partnership between the two countries.

The main objectives of the memorandum are  to expand bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector; exchange information and data related to tourism ; encourage cooperation between Tour Operators and tourism stakeholders including Hotel owners; establish exchange programmes for cooperation in Human Resource Development;  exchange visits of Tour Operators/Media/ Opinion Makers for promotion of two way tourism; exchange experience in the areas of promotion, marketing, destination development and management; participate in travel fairs/exhibitions in each other’s country; and promote safe, honourable and sustainable tourism.

"I like adventures, and I'm going to find some." - Louisa May Alcott

Karina Tourism confirms plan
for trip to Narcondam Island
 

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

 

MUMBAI, NOVEMBER 22:
Nights and days came and passed
And summer and winter and the rain.
And it was good to be a little Island.
A part of the world and a world of its own
All surrounded by the bright blue sea."
- Margaret Wise Brown, The Little Island

So Karina Tourism & Adventures, the owner of the "Infiniti Live-aboard", India’s first luxury live-aboard yacht, has confirmed their plans for a unique adventurous experiential trip to the fascinating "Narcondam Island” the Andaman Sea.

Narcondam Island – a wildlife sanctuary - has captured the imagination of travelers and explorers for a long time, owing to its extreme remoteness and population of endemic (found here & nowhere else) species. It has a strong evolutionary significance and has even been compared with the Galapagos Islands. Its most famous inhabitant is the endangered “Narcondam Hornbill” – a type of hornbill found only here.

"I have to find a place to hide
An island in the sea
Surrounded by a racing tide
Where I can live with me"
― Laurie Matthew, Groomed: An Uncle Wh

And the waters surrounding Narcondam Island are legendary for being a “diver’s paradise”. An extinct volcano, Narcondam was put on the diving map by diving pioneer Jacque Cousteau who was the first to dive in these waters, describing "a wondrous realm of stunning marine life and coral reefs". The diving here features magnificent coral formations, spectacular rocky drop offs and presence of pelagics and majestic creatures such as Manta Rays; plus gas bubbles rising from fissures in the ocean floor.

Narcondam is uninhabited except for a handful of park rangers and very few people have had the opportunity to visit here, as there are no facilities to stay here. Essentially, it is accessible only via a live-aboard (a yacht with facilities for onboard accommodation) - so by including Narcondam in its itinerary, the Infiniti live-aboard is opening up a whole new experience to worldwide travellers. Especially for divers, this is a rare opportunity to do some “frontier diving” – exploring new diving frontiers in the world, being one of the first privileged few to dive in highly exclusive locations like the Narcondam.

Mr. Sunil Bakshi, founder of Karina Tourism & Adventures said, “We are really excited to include Narcondam Island in our itinerary. This is a rare opportunity to visit this fascinating Island in comfort & luxury, and there is a lot of interest from divers & explorers in India and also around the world in this remote island legendery for its unique diving. We already have charters for

Narcondam, and divers coming from India, Europe, Middle East & America; and are absolutely looking forward to hosting them on the Infiniti.”

The INFINITI is India’s pioneering scuba diving “live-aboard” – a passenger vessel fully equipped for comfortable and luxurious onboard stay and sail around the sea.

The Infiniti is a brand new live-aboard that sets new global benchmarks for design, engineering and onboard facilities. Ittakes passengers to the doorstep of the best dive spots in the Andaman Islands waters including remote islands such as Barren & Narcondam.

The Infiniti features guest rooms with en-suite bathrooms, a kitchen, a diving platform, an indoor dining room and relaxation areas including a large sun deck, an indoor lounge & an outdoor lounge.

The vessel has been built to IACS class and RINA certified to reflect its highest quality and standards.

Andaman Islands, off the coast of India, are emerging as the world’s new favorite dive destination. It features several unique diving attractions including volcanic diving, frontier diving, bioluminescent night diving, etc. The Infiniti Live-aboard facilitates peaceful & exclusive diving here for enthusiasts of the underwater world.

You only lose what you cling to."― Gautama Buddha 

Bihar : Opening its doors to the
world through Buddhist Tourism

Thesynergyonline Tourism Bureau

NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 24 :
The secret of Buddhism is to remove all ideas, all concepts, in order for the truth to have a chance to penetrate, to reveal itself." ― Thích Nhat Hanh, Buddha Mind, Buddha Body: Walking Toward Enlightenment


So Bihar is a ‘role model for progressive governance’ and that there is a transformational opportunity in tapping its Buddhist heritage towards further augmenting the socio-economic profile of the state. Bihar has been one of the leading turnaround stories in recent times and the Government must be lauded for its proactive approach in balancing social upliftment in tandem with industrial growth.

“Attachment leads to suffering,”according to Gautama Buddha.

The State is blessed with a rich and vibrant history and heritage - not only does Bihar boast of one of the oldest institution of learning in the world in Nalanda, it also is a major centre for the development of the Buddhist philosophy, making Bihar a global hotspot for tourism. ASSOCHAM recommends the following: 

Promote Buddhist Pilgrimage in East Asia and South East Asia:  Effective targeting of the 500-700 million strong Buddhist population in countries such as China, Thailand, Japan, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and other countries has the potential to take Bihar’s economy to the next level.

The thought manifests as the word; 
The word manifests as the deed; 
The deed develops into habit; 
And habit hardens into character. 
So watch the thought and its ways with care, 
And let it spring from love, 
Born out of compassion for all human beings. 
As the shadow follows the body, 
As we think, so we become."
- Sayings of the Buddha as cited by Das, 1997 (p. 130)

The Buddha's original teaching is essentially a matter of four points -- the Four Noble Truths:

1. Anguish is everywhere.
2. We desire permanent existence of ourselves and for our loved ones, and we desire to prove ourselves independent of others and superior to them. These desires conflict with the way things are: nothing abides, and everything and everyone depends upon everything and everyone else. This conflict causes our anguish, and we project this anguish on those we meet.

3. Release from anguish comes with the personal acknowledgment and resolve: we are here together very briefly, so let us accept reality fully and take care of one another while we can.

4. This acknowledgement and resolve are realized by following the Eightfold Path: Right Views, Right Thinking, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Recollection, and Right Meditation. Here "Right" means "correct" or "accurate" -- in keeping with the reality of impermanence and interdependence.”
― Robert Aitken, The Dragon Who Never Sleeps: Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice

Partnerships: Bihar and UP, along with the Govt. of India, are entering into a dialogue with International Finance Corporation (IFC) to promote their Buddhist heritage in South East Asian countries.

Infrastructure Development: Initiatives like construction of the four-lane Patna-Gaya-Dobhi National Highway and improving air connectivity to Gaya are positive steps that should be replicated across other sites in the State. Improving connectivity and public amenities is the next step towards realizing the vision of making Bihar the most visited Buddhist pilgrimage destination in the world.

In 2011, 18 million domestic and 0.92 million foreign tourists visited Bihar – this grew to 21 million and 1.1 million in 2012 respectively and the State Tourism department is expecting a further 20 per cent growth in arrivals in 2013. Bihar also boasts of apex modern centres for Buddhist studies such as the Nava Nalanda Mahavira, which can greatly enrich the socio-cultural heritage of tourist sites.

Ensuring community participation through cooperative principles is key to ensuring sustainability of these growth models and here an effective industry-academia-community alliance can provide the right direction. Looking at Bihar’s success during the past decade, ASSOCHAM is certain that Bihar is ready to open its doors to the world.

 

 

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