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NEWS FLASH IRCTC plans Pod Hotels

Indian Railway Catering Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), is planning to bring a new concept of lodging for railway passengers ‘POD HOTELS’. The first hotel is proposed near the Mumbai Central railway station. The pod hotels will offer affordable, comfortable stopover options with more

amenities than the usual retiring rooms. Pinakin Morawala, spokesperson for IRCTC said that they are planning a 30-pod capsule hotel. "The proposal is in nascent stages and the land has been identified. We are now awaiting approval f ro m Western Railway before sanctioning a feasibility study," he added. Each pod is likely to be 5 feet by 7 feet and the offer facilities will be temperature and light control, personal lockers, USB ports and power sockets, intercoms, entertainment screens, Wi-Fi, along with a comfortable place to rest. There will also be dining, washroom, lounge and changing room facilities.

Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated The double-decker Bogibeel bridge

Ministry of Tourism TOURISM STATISTICS  Foreign Tourist Arrivals during the period January-November 2018 were 93, 67, 424 as compared to 88, 67, 963 in January-November 2017 registering a growth of 5.6% over the same period.  During January- November 2018, a total of 20,61,511 tourists arrived on eTourist Visa as compared to 14,56,615 during January- November 2017, registering a growth of 41.5% over the same period.

 Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEEs) during the period January- October 2018 were Rs. 1,58,846 Crore as compared to Rs. 1,41,965 Crore in January- October 2017 registering a growth of 11.9% over the same period.  During 2017, the number of Domestic Tourist Visits to the States/UTs was 1652.5 million as compared to 1615.4 million in 2016 showing growth of 2.3% in 2017 over 2016.

Payment Gateways of IRCTC Mobile App Booking of Railway reserved tickets through Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) mobile app can be made using various payment modes enabled by Government or private banks through Multiple Payment Providers. Presently, there are five Multiple Payment Providers integrated on IRCTC mobile app. The Government payment gateways that are enabled for booking tickets through IRCTC mobile app are netbanking, debit cards, credit cards and Unified Payments Interface (UPI)/ Bharat Interface for Money

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Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi inaugurated Bogibeel Bridge, India’s longest railroad bridge on the Brahmaputra River in Bogibeel near Dibrugarh in Assam. The double-decker bridge is 4.94 km long and is built with an estimated cost of over Rs 5000 crore. The bridge will reduce the travel time from Assam to Arunachal Pradesh to four hours and will also cut down train

travel between Delhi to Dibrugarh by three hours. The most significant beneficiary will be the Army and the bridge will help in quicker supply of logistical support from Assam to their posts at Kibithoo, Wallong, and Chaglagam on the ArunachalChina border. This longest bridge in India is an engineering marvel and efforts of all the people, who were part of the building and designing of this bridge, needs to be appreciated for turning this dream into a reality. Earlier people used to be dependant on ferry service at the Bogibeel Ghat in Dibrugarh; but now, with the bridge, people will be able to cross over anytime with ease.

(BHIM). All these payment gateways are provided by five Multiple Payment Providers integrated on IRCTC Mobile App. IRCTC has issued guidelines for integration of the payment providers who are authorized to provide payment gateways as per the extant instructions issued by Reserve Bank of India (RBI)/ and other competent authorities from time to time. Any Government or private bank or payment gateway facilitator following the terms and conditions of the IRCTC guidelines can be integrated on IRCTC mobile app.

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EVENT PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2019 PATA Adventure Travel and Responsible Tourism Conference and Mart 2019 (ATRTCM) will be held at Rishikesh from February 13-15, 2019 in collaboration with the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board. The event is AsiaPacific’s leading travel trade event dedicated to the adventure travel industry. The event comprises a one-day travel trade mart with leading international buyers and sellers, and a one-day conference along with high-

level networking opportunities. During the one-day travel mart, prematched appointments facilitate faceto-face meetings for sellers with leading adventure product buyers from around the world. The programme brings together international experts at the forefront of the adventure travel industry to discuss the sector’s issues and opportunities. Some topic to discuss during the events are -

 Rejuvenating Your Soul Through Travel  Using sustainability to future-proof

our destination  Trends to India  Creating Experiences that are Regenerative  Marketing to the New Adventure Travellers  Tourism as a Tool for Rejuvenation  Sustaining our Souls: Vision-Driven Leadership in Adventure Tourism

Publisher: Shailendra Publication Editor & Publisher: Shailendra Kesari Assistant Editor: Parul Kesari Brand Ambassador: Vyom Kesari Advisory: Gour Kanjilal, Om Prakash Sehgal Marketing Team: Prashant, Dinesh Gupta Correspondent North: Manoj Babbar Correspondent West: Payal Gupta

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IITM announces the dates for 2019 Travel Event 'Sphere Travelmedia & Exhibitions' announces the 2019 Calendar of 'India International Travel Mart' events to be conducted in nine major markets of India. With this year's edition of 'IITM', Sphere Travelmedia & Exhibitions completes twenty years of providing the travel industry and discerning buyers from the travel – trade an opportunity to do and transact business. With organizations and tourism boards from over 25 Indian states and over 35 countries, 'India International Travel Mart' will showcase a variety of destinations from different spheres such as pilgrimages,

adventures, culture & heritage, beaches, hills and many more. The events for 2019 shall have o v e r 5 0 0 participants from over 35 countries and over 25 Indian states. The participants include Travel agents & Tour Operators, DMC, Hotels & Resorts, National Tourist Offices, Online Travel Portals, Adventure Tour Operators, Eco – Tourism activities, etc. Mr. Sanjay Hakhu, Director, Sphere Travelmedia said, “India in spite of the present business environment is fast emerging as one of the most interesting

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IITM IITM IITM IITM IITM IITM IITM IITM IITM

Kochi Kolkata Bangalore Chennai Ahmedabad Delhi Mumbai Hyderabad Pune

3 - 5 January 2019 22 - 24 February 2019 2 - 4 August 2019 9 - 11 August 2019 13 - 15 September 2019 20 - 22 September 2019 27 - 29 September 2019 22 - 24 November 2019 29 November - 1 December 2019

and productive countries for the travel trade industry both for leisure and business travel. A combination of factors is responsible for the growth and demand of travel trends from India”. Tourism Studies and Trends indicates that the year 2019 – 2020 will see more

than 18 million tourists embanking on overseas travel and with the advent of low cost international airfares, holiday packages that are available on monthly instalments payable over a period of time, International Travel is no longer a luxury.

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EVENT

VietNam all set to host ATF 2019 as trips to Yen Tu Mountain and Ninh Binh. Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien, said in a statement, “The people of Quang Ninh province are ready to welcome delegates and guests. We are honoured to host ATF and look forward to inviting all visitors to experience the

natural beauty and warmth of our people. We are ready to embrace all ASEAN states to drive connectivity and sustainable tourism to Viet Nam and the region as one.” For more information and programme u p d a t e s f o r AT F 2 0 1 9 , v i s i t www.atfvietnam2019.com

Quang Ninh Exhibition Of Planning And Expo Center Viet Nam, the host country of the 38th event has to offer. Another anticipated ATF component is the ASEAN Tourism ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) to be held Conference, where major regional in Ha Long, is all ready to make a lasting issues are presented and discussed by impression on its 1500 delegates. They subject experts and thought leaders. In comprise of ministerial, NTO, official keeping with the aim of strengthening meeting delegates, as well as TRAVEX co-operation among the ASEAN tourism suppliers from across all 10 ASEAN industry ’s various sectors, this member states, international buyers k n o w l e d g e p l a t fo r m p r o m o t e s and media pools. discussion, exchange of ideas and ATF TRAVEX, renowned for being the valuable perspectives to motivate largest and most diverse showcase of progress among ASEAN stakeholders. ASEAN suppliers, will It is also the aim of the play witness to ASEAN Host Country that travel trade industry through its high exhibitors from h ospitality and Brunei Darussalam, infrastructural standards, C a m b o d i a , it will successfully Indonesia, Lao PDR, d emonstrate its Malaysia, Myanmar, c a pabilities and be the Philippines, recognised as one of Singapore, Thailand ASEAN’s most attractive and Viet Nam, destinations, complete connecting with with world-class facilities hosted buyers and m e d i a H.E. Nguyen Ngoc Thien and services to make an even greater impact on its already representatives from around the world. impressive touristic appeal. Major highlights for Exhibitors and In that vein, Viet Nam spared no cost in Buyers include the 32 one-to-one giving all delegates a generous business appointments, 100% of which opportunity to experience Ha Long, the can be scheduled prior to arriving in Ha Quang Ninh province and other Long, thus optimising business destination gems with a total of 15 preconversations at the event. and post-ATF tours held over 4 days. Confirmed Buyers and Exhibitors alike Itineraries include cruises of Ha Long are already looking forward to all the Bay, Lan Ha Bay, Hai Phong City, as well

The Quang Ninh Exhibition of Planning and Expo Center is located in the picturesque Ha Long City of Vietnam. It is the best and the newest venue for MICE and social activities in Quang Ninh province. The venue is hosting this year’s ATF 2019. QNENEC is also a tourist attraction of Halong. With the unique design, looking from above, QNENEC looks like a huge dolphin embracing the beautiful Ha Long Bay. QNENEC with its unique design and spacious area is expected to host a smooth conference and simultaneously be one of Halong’s attractions for delegates.  21,000sqm of floor space. 2 separate but interconnected buildings  The first building, resembling a species of pearl-making shelled mollusk found abundantly in local waters, was purposed to showcase regional planning models, and host events, exhibitions and expos.  The second building, dolphin-shaped, is reserved for the exhibition of public projects and signature architectural and religions structures in the province.  Slated venue for significant cultural and social activities, and to highlight Quang Ninh’s economic achievements.  Equipped with high-end state-of-the art digital screens and projection technology.  Surrounded by public spaces including the October 30 Square, a museum, a library, a children’s playground, and Lan Be Park, forming a coherent network between tourist sites.

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TRADE NEWS Paradise Village Beach Resort accoladed as Best MICE Venue in Goa Goa's Paradise Village Beach Resort was awarded as the best MICE venue of Goa and was felicitated by Shri Satyajeet Rajan, Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. Goa is the most visited tourist destination of India and is loved throughout the year be it monsoon, winter or summer. And now the state is picking up as the MICE destination and has gained popularity amongst the MICE p l a n n e rs w h o a r e l o o k i n g fo r destinations which offer a combination of great value and a relaxed atmosphere. Paradise Village Beach Resort stands out as one of Goa's premier event facilitators. It is nestled in the heart of Goa, close to Calangute beach in North Goa. The resort is spread across 10 acres, overlooking the Arabian Sea. The

property has over 2 lakhs square feet of outdoor space, capable of accommodating large corporate team meetings or Wedding Reception and offers great value and a relaxed atmosphere. The Pearl of Paradise Conference Hall is aesthetically designed to reflect a modern taste and can accommodate up to 200 guests. The newly done hall comprises of a new backdrop with a well lit LED-studded stage, beautifully laid up plush carpets, modern lights and fixtures. The resort has other multiple outdoor venue options overlooking the beach. The outdoor area stretches over 2 Lakh sq feet. The entire ground has a capacity to accommodate around 600 800 guests. The resort has well appointed 95 rooms

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designed as Spanish Villa and some rooms are with the private balcony. Other facilities available at the Resort include Swimming Pool, Badminton Court, Children's Indoor Play Area and Outdoor Play Area. The resort has four food & beverage outlets, bringing exciting flavours across the globe. And the very new F&B options at the resort, to entice MICE segment is NiKo with a Greek hospitality experience. The Resort's convenient location, places guests within a five kilometre radius of entertainment and Night Life hotspots

like the Saturday Night Market, Baga, Titos, and Fort Aguada. Mr. Dandona, MD, Paradise Village Beach Resort, shared some insight of the property, “MICE segment contributes approximately 50 to 65% of the total revenue to our resort. And we have catered to the corporates coming from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Hyderabad. The distinguish factor pulling in a bigger share of MICE section in Goa is our responsive, prompt and helpful staff that can deliver high standards of personalised care. Our experience shows that customised packages, personalisation and tailored requirements are attributes that are in high demand amongst traveller groups today. And we are one place where the needs of this segment are fulfilled.� Come experience and Enjoy the endless miles of aquamarine coastline, beautiful Sunsets, golden sandy beaches and Feta!

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Amazing Amritsar

Over the years, India has been an observer to several events. History and mythology have left an indelible mark on the subcontinent. Tourists and locals enjoy the glorious past of the country by visiting monuments and places. Amritsar is one, which has stored and had witnessed history. The Golden Temple- The construction of the Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) concluded in the 16th century by Guru Arjan Dev. This is the most important place of worship for the Sikhs. The Guru Granth Sahib (holy scripture) rests in the temple. The Durgiana Temple - Almost a hundred years old, this temple was built to honour Goddess Durga. It is a Hindu Temple, and is modelled on the lines of the Golden Temple. The inside of the temple complex houses a water body or 'sarovar' that has several smaller temples within it. Ram Tirth is situated 11kms kilometres outside Amritsar city. It is more eminently known as the birthplace of the sons of Ram, Luv and Kush. The Temple also has Balmiki's hut. It was here that the great sage wrote his manuscripts. During Sita's exile she lived at this very place. This is evident as Hanuman even scooped out the earth to

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give rise to an evergreen well. Wa g h a B o rd e r o r 'Attari crossing' is the last station of India (from the state of Punjab). After one crosses this border one reaches Lahore, which falls under the P a k i s t a n i jurisdiction. It is worth watching the f l a g d o w n ceremony in the evenings. Soldiers from both the ends perform the parade with much gusto. This is indeed worth watching. However before getting there please ensure you take the necessary permissions to get into the V.I.P. quota rather than getting caught up in the crazy crowds. Pul Kanjri- Very close to the Wagha border is a 'Bardari' constructed by Maharana Ranjit Singh. The architecture of the monument is Mughal in orientation. The monument is a UNESCO world heritage site, but it has not received as much attention as the other monuments and historical sites. We are letting our politician's bind us in cultural apathy and unfortunately we citizens also succumb to the same.

JANUARY - FEBRUARY, 2019

Karta rpur - Guru Nanak founded the 'City of God', in 1522. It is believed that Guru Nanak spent the last days of his life in Kartarpur. Just three kilometres away from Kartarpur is Guru Nanak's Shine, Dera Nanak Saheb. This falls under the Pakistani Jurisdiction. The 'Gurdwar' can be viewed using a pair of binoculars. Hindus and Muslims visit the Shrine from both the nations. Kalanor- It is a common saying that if you haven't visited Kalanor, you haven't seen anything at all. Kalanor has invests in a rich historical past. Akbar was crown the emperor of the Mughal Empire by Behram Khan in Kalanur. Muslim brothers of the Noor tribe founded the

city . The fort could have also taken its name by a celebrated Shiv temple in that region. Kalanur was ruled over by King Janme Jiya who was the great grandson of the warrior Arjuna. The city was a major urban centre during the 14th and 16th century. A beautiful palace was built by Firuz Tughluq Shah on the banks of the banks of the Kiran rivulet. Shopping & Cuisine - Amritsari 'Juttis' (Shoes) and 'Phulkari' (material for ladies suits) are the best buy as souvenirs. You can taste some lipsmacking Punjabi cuisine, at a typical Punjabi Dhabas and the locals eateries. The punjabi parathas and food are generously laced with butter and cream and 'Phirni', a sweet delicacy served chilled in clay pots. One can find an eclectic mix of upcoming modern skyscrapers and malls in a city that is still very religiously rooted. Teachings of Nanak come alive with everybody allowed to practice their own faith. So take a trip in the heart of Punjab, and experience the charms of 'Punjabi' culture.

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Jewels of Jharkhand

The state of Jharkhand was born only in 2000, yet the place finds mention since the historic times even before the Magadha Empire came into being. The name loosely translates into “the land of forests� and it is indeed a haven of flora and fauna. Jharkhand offers a spectacular palate to suit every tourist: be it picturesque scenery, rich wildlife, spiritual and historical aura or the exquisite art and culture scene. Moreover, Jharkhand has several newly discovered attractions that add on to its tourism quotient. While there is an endless thing to see and do in Jharkhand, we bring to you the 11 wonders of Jharkhand to portray in capsule the best that are a must-see for every tourist. Text By: Aditi Bhattacharjee places of the Hindus. The temple also has one of the 51 Shakti Peethas in India and it attracts a lot of tourists. Also known as the Baba dham and Baidyanath dham, there are a total of 22 temples in the campus of different gods and goddesses. The temple draws maximum crowd during the Shravan Mela celebrated in the holy month of Shravan.

Parasnath

Netarhat If you like to enjoy a picturesque sunrise or sunset among the hills, Neharhat is the perfect destination for you. Popularly known as the Queen of Chotanagpur, this is a very popular hill station of Jharkhand. Some of the major attractions of Netarhat are Magnolia Point, Ghaghri Falls, and the Koel View Point. The Lodh Falls which is the highest waterfall in Jharkhand is also located at this place.

A range of hills located in the Giridih district of Jharkhand, Parasnath is a major place of pilgrimage of the Jains. Called the Sammed Sikhar, this hill is named after Parasnath, the 23rd Tirthankara of the Jains. It is believed that out of 24 Jain Tirthankaras, 20 attained salvation on this hill. There is a dedicated shrine for each of the Jain saints on the hill. While some of the temples are said to be more than 2000 years old, most of the temples are of recent origin. Apart from being a religious place, Parasnath also offers mesmerizing view of the scenic hills-Chandraprabhuji, Pushpnandanji, Goutamswamiji and Chaprakund. Parasnath is well connected to all major cities of India.

Rajmahal

Jonha Falls The spectacular waterfall of Jonha is situated near Ranchi. Formed with the union of the Ganga and the Rary river, the water falls from a height of 43 meters to create the most stunning view. To reach the waterfall, one has to descend an intimidating 722 steps and it is a trek worth taking for an amazing view awaits you! Jonha waterfall is very popular with tourists and is well connected by both buses and train. Around 40 kms from Ranchi, Jonha also holds a local fair every Tuesday and Saturday.

Itkhori Itkhori is a must-see destination at Jharkhand. Maa Bhadrakali Temple is the dominant place of worship here. Situated some 1.5 kms from Itkhori Block, this temple is also considered as one among the shakti peethas. Surrounded by the Buxa River on three sides, this temple has a historical significance because it hosts idols that are black

The historic town of Rajmahal is situated on the west bank of the Ganges in the Sahibganj district. Rajmahal is significant in history as the seat of Government during the Mughal period and the capital of Bengal in 1592 under Raja Man Singh, the general of Emperor Akbar. Tourists can still sense the greatness of the era from the relics of the old and prosperous town. Some of the important monuments of the town include the Singhi Dalan, Akbari Masjid, Tomb of Maina-Bibi and the Tomb of Mira. Other nearby attractions that can be reached from Rajmahal includes Shivgadi, Mangalhat, Kanhaiyasthan, Teliagarhi, Binduvasini, Shukravasini, Udhwa Bird Sanctury, and Raksisthan. The nearest Railway Station to reach Rajmahal is Baidyanath Dham and it is also connected by roads.

Betla National Park Betla National Park is one of India's first national parks that were primarily formed for the protection of tigers. Located on the Chhota Nagpur Plateau in the Latehar district of Jharkhand, the park also hosts two historical forts. Home of a host of wildlife that includes elephants, sloth bear, panther, wild bear and wolf, the park also contains the famous Kamaldah lake which attracts hoards of water birds like the common whistling and cotton teal, the comb duck, snipe and geese. in colour and are constructed in Shak, Gupta and Vardhan period, some 1500 to 1800 years ago. Lord Buddha is believed to have visited this place and stayed some time. One can see some interesting Buddhist relics at Itkhori that dates back to 200 BC - 1200 AD. At present it is a very popular holy place for both Hindus and Buddhists.

Maluti Temples The temples at Maluti in Dumka district of Jharkhand comprises of a total of 72

Rajrappa Temple Standing at the confluence of the Damodar and Bhairavi River, Rajrappa is located some 70 kilometers from Ranchi and is known for the beautiful Rajrappa Falls as well as the sacred Chhinnamasta temple. The tourists enjoy the spectacular rock formations as well as the boating facilities at the spot. Moreover, Rajrappa is a major place of pilgrimage for the Hindus and attract more than 3000 people daily. The main attraction of the Chhinnamasta temple located here is the headless deity of goddess Chinnamasta who stands on the body of Kamdeo and Rati in the lotus bed. The Tantric style of architecture at the temple is worth seeing and it has an underlying vibe of enchantment that leaves tourists spellbound. The custom of animal sacrifice is still practiced at the Chinnamasta temple during Kali puja.

Baidyanath Temple The sacred Baidyanath Jyotirlinga temple of Deoghar is the home of one of the twelve Jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva and is considered among one of the most religious

ancient temples and is one of the oldest temple cluster in the area. It belongs to the category of 'Saving Our Vanishing Heritage' and is revered by the locals and tourists alike. The Maluti village is famous in history for the annual sacrifice of over 100 goats during the Kali puja celebration.

Patratu Valley Patratu is a small town located some 40 kms from Ranchi. Patratu Valley offers one of the best stretches of road one can find in Jharkhand and almost resemble a race track. With precarious hairpin bends and breath-taking scenery of the hills it is very popular for long drives. One can get a splendid view of the Patratu Dam from the hills, and spend time among the virgin forests in this area. A note of advice to tourists not to venture here after dark as it is considered unsafe. Apart from the 10 wonders of this state, Jharkhand is a rich assimilation of different cultures and offers a diverse variety of arts and artifacts. The primordial handicraft of Dhokra is world famous. The state is also famous for its terracotta jewellery and cane & bamboo crafts. Teracotta dinner sets and tea sets find a wide global clientele.

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INSIGHT

A Retrospective overview 2018

By Gour Kanjilal International Tourism is one of the most powerful economic sectors. Over the last decade or so, India has made a concerted effort to attract international tourists. Now India’s international tourists crossed 10 million mark in 2017 from just one million in 1980. It is now the fourth largest foreign exchange earners for the country. Tourism propels

economic growth in a big way for our country. On a rough calculation assume for instance that on average each tourist stayed in India for a week and spent about $110 daily on food and lodging, transportation, that is about $27 billion of revenue for India’s tourism business plus revenue for travel and shopping may another $500 per tourist or $35 billion overall that adds $62 billion in direct revenue. Tourism is a highly labor intensive industry which means big chunk of this approx. $70 billion goes towards paying the wages and salaries close to 3 million workers directly engaged in tourism related jobs. According to Ministry of Tourism Annual Re p o r t B o o k 2 0 1 7 - 1 8 , to u r i s m accounted for a little over 6% of all country’s GDP directly employing 9% of all workers and indirectly providing perhaps twice that number. Similarly visa issues were the biggest

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bottleneck. According to official figures a total of 20,61,511 (a little over 2 million tourists arrived on e-visa from January to November this year as compared to 14,56,615 (1.4 million) in the corresponding period last year registering a growth of 41.5%. Indian evisa is available in five categories tourist visa, business, medical, conference and medical attendant. The UK, US, France, China and Russia are the top five countries in terms of e-visas granted in 2017 and these countries alone accounted for 46% of e-visa granted. India became affordable destination but we could not fully utilize it, because of GST was put in operation where tourism sector got heavy taxed and we could not match the prices on offer from our competitive neighboring countries like Thailand, Srilanka, Malaysia, Singapore and Macau etc. Inspite of introduction of GST, multiple taxation

continued and government could not provide tax incentives. Another major step was continuous global marketing using all Electronic Social Media, Print Media round the year and in languages of the markets. Thus India was visible round the year, the creative have been made very motivational and focused not generic “come to India.” Thematic ones attracted more determined travelers. India tourism also hosted some international events like International Buddhist Conclave at Aurangabad (Ajanta) and Varanasi Sarnath which attracted over 300 buyers; and Buddhist Circuits were promoted in a big way in major markets. A special Buddhist Train was launched in 2018 (in December) and that got attention of Buddhist destination travelers. Another focused area “Look North Eastunexplored Paradise” with International Conclave showcased to over 200 buyers from overseas and trade was involved in a big way. This helped in launching specific packages for the North East destinations. Still long way to go to bring volume in tourist arrivals in the Region mainly due to Eco Sensitive reason. First ever India Tourism Mart brought over 250 buyers was remarkable for such new ventures. These gave opportunity to overseas buyers to see India and Interact with trade. Trade made good contacts and 2019 hopes to be very optimistic. Road Shows were made round the year 2018 covering USA, Canada, Baltic countries, China etc and proved very positive. India was the guest of honor country at global exhibitions. “2018 Adventure Tourism year” was celebrated in a big way. Cruise Tourism also made remarkable change and more cruise liners came to India and this was possible with Ministry of Tourism special effort in 2018. Even Spiritual tourism was in government’s priority attention Spiritual sector was a big criterion to select a holiday destination towards India much more as compared to other Asian countries. Medical Tourism and Wellness Tourism had increased focus in 2018 and was a favorable factor to attract India. This made a positive bearing as India destination in 2018. We only need to take a holistic approach to address both the symptoms and not causes of diverse security challenges and build a peaceful and stable internal and regional security environment. The united Nation should fully play its role in safeguarding world Peace and Security and workout a fair effective mechanism for common security. No country is immense to the threats. Tourism can prosper when there is peace. All tourism promoting countries must work on global Safety. India promoted tourism as “Harbinger of Peace” and tried to have Quality tourism by having Circuit Concept tourism so that tourists get a better experience of a specific sector of its Art Culture, Cuisine, Sports tourist heritage scenic beauty and carry back happy memories of their Sojourn in India. In this respect 2018 made a very remarkable progress and this trend will continue in 2019.

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INSIGHT Lohanas Tours Pvt. Ltd. bags 'Icon in Designer Holidays’ at Mid-day Travel & Hospitality Awards

At a glittering award ceremony of Mid-Day’s Travel & Hospitality Icon 2018-2019, Mr. Sanjiv Lohana of Lohana Tours Private Limted received the award for the 'Icon in Designer Holidays’. Lohana Tours are Domestic & International Holiday Designers with over 26 years of experience. The company is based in Mumbai and have a wide network of operations in Ahmedabad, Auckland and Atlanta.

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Ropeway opened between Vaishno Devi and Bhairon Temple The pilgrims to Mata Vaishno Devi Mandir will now be able to reach Bhairav ji Temple easily. The ropeway joining both the temples is opened to all, and was inaugurated by Jammu and Kashmir Governor Shri Satya Pal Malik (also the chairman of the shrine board). It's a double cable, jig-back system. There are two cars. The ropeway has a carrying capacity of 800 people per hour and will reduce the travel time of the one-way journey from one hour to just about 3 minutes. The charge for to and fro ticket is Rs 100 per passenger. T h e Pa s s e n ge r Ro p eway System has been fully equipped with all safety norms as per relevant standards and code. The shrine board has said that it might come up with a similar project in future from Banganga to Bhawan.

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TRADE NEWS OTAS & Hoteliers In A Deadlock FHRAI Members to converge in New Delhi to decide next course of action In the two weeks since the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) put the Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs) MakeMyTrip and GoIbibo (Go-MMT) and the hotel room aggregator – OYO on notice, individual hoteliers have been approached by the OTAs for renegotiating terms. The hotels however, have declined to accept the offers and have demanded for the two entities to conduct business that's ethical and uniform across the country without distorting the markets and address all concerns raised by hoteliers. Hotels in all major Indian States and Cities have come together and have unanimously agreed to maintain the stance. The hotels through their respective City and State chapters have united under the country's apex hospitality body – FHRAI to represent their voice. “We have sent a fresh notice to GoIbibo and MMT to immediately stop contacting individual hoteliers, and offering them customized terms. We once again are requesting them to meet us as was initially agreed, to discuss and finalize uniform and mutually acceptable terms of ethical business practices without disrupting

the livelihoods of local hoteliers. In t h e m e a n w h i l e , we h ave a l s o intimated the hotel fraternity that no agreement has yet come through and to not fall prey to any prospective offers made by them which do not address their issues in its entirety,” says Mr. Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, VicePresident, FHRAI & President – Hotel and Restaurant Association of Western India (HRAWI). The apex body has stated that GoMMT has not indicated any intent of resolution and so, has decided to call for an internal meeting to initiate the next course of action. “We have waited for the OTAs to hold talks with us and amicably resolve the conflict. But we haven't received even a hint from them on how they wish to take things forward. We do not wish for this internal dispute to affect the experience and expectations of guests/tourists. We are hoping that the two entities will revert to our latest notice, and in the meanwhile we have decided to convene a meeting in the Capital to finalize the next course of action in case the situation remains status quo,” concludes Mr. Kohli.

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FitZup Travel's New Show "Say Sharjah!"

After three successful International tours, FitZup is all set to reveal yet another exquisite destination. This time it is UNESCO nominated ‘The Cultural Capital of the Arab World’, Sharjah – a weekend getaway waiting to happen for the keen outbound Indian traveler. The core purpose of ‘Say Sharjah’ focuses on the idea that if you say any experience like Adventure, Family Fun, Shopping, History, Culture or Food; Sharjah offers that and more. For Indians, the celebrities will showcase the range of activities from adventure like dune driving, to the exhibitions, to the beaches and enjoying special Emirati warmth and hospitality. We have vibrant and glamorous celebrities with us on board for the ‘Say Sharjah’ Travel Show who will be exploring this rich Emirate and they are Kanchi Singh, Rohan Mehra, Helly Shah, Tanya Sharma & Abigail Pande. Sunny Arora, Founder of FitZup says, “FitZup Travel is one of the main vertical

of FitZup. We plan to collaborate with various destinations which are unexplored and offbeat and promote it in the Indian Market. We organize the conceptual tours with Tourism boards to create a tremendous informative content. The reason to zero in on Sharjah was because of its rich culture, heritage, arts, food and many more intriguing attractions that this city has to offer which remain unexplored. In addition, the emirate offers a great opportunity for a weekend getaway for Indians; close-by, affordable and amazing! We shall boost this exposure through celebrities’ digital reach. They will keep audiences engaged sharing exclusive pictures and videos from their Sharjah journey. We can’t wait to discover Sharjah; yet another FitZup Travel’s show.” Mr. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman, S h a r j a h C o m m e r c e & To u r i s m Development Authority (SCTDA) says,“We are very excited to unveil this amazing destination, with offerings and attractions which every traveler desires. Sharjah is a perfect Weekend Getaway, close, affordable and exciting for all ages, hearts & souls!”

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Tanzania Gate; Forest walks, numerous picnic sites; three- or four-day Mt Meru climb – good acclimatization for Kilimanjaro.

Serengeti National Park

The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was established in 1952. It is home to the greatest wildlife spectacle on earth - the great migration of wildebeest and zebra. The resident population of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, and birds is also impressive. There’s a wide variety of accommodation available, from luxury lodges to mobile camps. The park covers 5,700 sq miles, (14,763 sq km).The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth.

Tarangire National Park

Safaris in Tanzania have something to offer to everyone. One can experience the adventure of budget camping or the opulence of luxury camping safaris. Tanzania is a country where you will find yourself surrounded by an astonishing number of elephant – the highest density in the world. And homes to the world’s highest density of game – including many big cats. The annual migration of millions of zebra and gazelle is a unique spectacle that you will probably never forget.

Tarangire National Park has some of the highest population density of elephants as compared to anywhere in Tanzania. Located just a few hours drive from the town of Arusha, Tarangire is a popular stop for people travelling through the northern safari circuit on their way to Ngorongoro and the Serengeti. You can take a Guided Walking safaris Or a Day trips to Maasai and Barabaig villages, as well as to the hundreds of ancient rock paintings in the vicinity of Kolo on the Dodoma Road. Game driving, balloon safaris and bird watching can also be added to the list. There are lots more in Tanzania, the country currently home to 16 national parks and their primary roles are conservation and tourism. Many of them form the core area of a far larger protected ecosystem. They have been set aside to preserve the country’s rich natural heritage and to provide secure breeding grounds where fauna and flora can thrive, safe from the conflicting interests of a growing human population and provide for human benefits and

Kilimanjaro National Park Mount Kilimanjaro is in the Northern part of Tanzania, near the town of Moshi. Africa’s snow-capped Mt Kilimanjaro is a stratovolcano and therefore boasts three peaks: Kibo (5,895 metres), Mawenzi (5,149 metres) and the Shira plateau (3,962 metres). Its slopes and glaciers shimmering above the rising clouds. Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s most accessible high summits, a beacon for visitors from around the world. For accommodation huts and campsites on the mountain and several hotels and campsites outside the park in the village of Marangu and town of Moshi are also available. What to do - Trekking (mountaineering routes); Hikes on the Shira plateau; Trout fishing; Visit the beautiful Chala crater lake.

Mount Meru Mount Meru is the fifth highest mountain on the African continent and the second highest in Tanzania. The dry forest of the lower region gives way to a dense mountain rainforest, which then turns into a scrubland. Towards the top of the mountain, the vegetation consists of heath and moorland and is then finally replaced by the stunning baron alpine deserts. What to do - Hiking starts from Arusha National Park

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INSIGHT INTALK

Recounting the Success Story of Karma Group on its Silver Jubilee Celebration

T h e b ra i n c h i l d o f B r i t i s h - b o r n Mr. John Spence, Karma Group is a name synonymous with world class luxurious properties across the globe. In 1993, Mr. Spence came down to India, where he saw the great potential inbound market as well as the emerging middle class and their desire to holiday. And the need for a quality accommodation, gave birth to the thought of the luxury resort in Goa. Today, the Group has 31 hotels and resorts comprising Karma Resorts, Karma Retreats, Karma Royal, Karma Estates, Karma Beach, as well as Karma Spa offering extraordinary experiences and exclusive curated entertainment in the world’s most beautiful locations. And on December 4, 2018, the Group is all set to celebrate their 25th anniversary in Goa, from where they

started their journey. InTalk with Safari Plus, Mr. John Spence shared his journey, starting from owning its 1st property in Goa. He said, “India has always inspired me, and holds a special place in my heart. Going back to time, 25 years ago Europeans looked for winter sun destination and traditionally they travelled to the Caribbean or Mauritius or Seychelles but they were expensive. India and particularly Goa was a huge potential, especially for the European and German market. And this brought Karma’s 1st property: The Royal Goan Beach Club in Cavelossim, Goa which was bootstrapped.” He continued, “And I really believe that India has created our success and we have grown from the local market to what we are today. The Group currently owns 7 properties in India, 4 in Goa, and

one each in Jaipur, Dharamshala, Kerala and has a new one coming up in Coorg very soon. We have plans to open two resorts each year across popular tourist destinations which attract travelers.” Talking about the uniqueness of Karma, Mr. Spence shared, “We have a different model of operations as compared to the rest of the hospitality Industry. We are a private members club, and our core business is developing its membership. We sell membership plans and have more than 80,000 members today. To attract and keep them happy we provide accommodation, leisure facilities, restaurants, beach clubs, and spas for the members. That implies maintaining long-term relationships and strengthening the bond between us and our members. We spend lots of time and effort looking out for our members’ functions, parties and event. We have 15,000 members based in India. And to connect with our members we have recently launched the Karma App. The App is designed to enable us to communicate more quickly and efficiently to what are we offering and our services.” Mr. Spence is a strong believer of Karma, he says, “You send good things to

Universe, and it will return it back to you many fold.” An integral part of Karma philosophy is giving back to the society, whether it is helping the local community, or minimizing damage to the environment. He said, “We are particularly involved with charities that support child development, including Christel House in Bangalore, The Bali Life Foundation and the school in Vietnam. We provide food, education and holidays for underprivileged children. If you are blessed with the ability to help, it’s vital to do so. And in turn, you will be blessed; and that is Karma. You do good, good comes to you, this is the life and this is the principles on which the universe works.” The recent edition to the Group is a property in Italy (Tuscany) and also have plans to open up soon in Greece, Spain and Chaing Mai.

Costa Cruises brings Costa NeoRiviera to sail on Indian Shores

Costa Cruises’ Costa neoRiviera arrived at the Mumbai International Cruise Terminal on 7 December, 2018 to commence its 3rd Indian season. The sailing was officially rolled-ff in the presence of Shri Vinod Tawde, Hon'ble Minister School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare Hon'ble Minister of State, Water Resources, Ms Stefania Costanza, Consul General of Italy; Shri. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust Mr. Marco Salvatico, Director, MICE & India Business Development, Costa Cruises and Ms. Nalini Gupta, Managing

D i r e c t o r, L o t u s D e s t i n a t i o n s , Representative of Costa Cruises in India. The cruise will be sailing from Mumbai to Maldives via Cochin from 8th December 2018 to 16th March 2019. This is the 3rd season that Costa Cruises will be home-porting in Indian waters and is the only international cruise liner in India to offer regular cruises directly from Mumbai to Maldives. Facilities On-Board - Cruise ship has 624 cabins in total, including: 94 suites, all with private balcony. 670 crew onboard

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to attend approx. 1,700 passengers. With Italian design the cruise is fullyequipped with a Casino, Theatre, Disco, Ballroom, Grand Bar, with an aims to provide plenty of entertainment to the guests. The wellness centre is spread across 1,300 sq. m with a gym, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. It also has an outdoor jogging track, 4 Jacuzzis and 2 swimming pools. For those who would like to go shopping, the cruise ship has a duty-free shopping centre, and also offers a wide selection of books in the library for book lovers. The ship prides itself in serving up a culinary feast, catering to different dietary needs. Italian food is a speciality, with provision made to ensure customization towards the Indian market by providing Indian & Jain meals.

Mr. Sanjay Bhatia, said, “Cruise Tourism is a niche travel segment and its demand i s ex p a n d i n g a m o n g st I n d i a n s . Observing this trend, we have planned to encourage Cruise Tourism by inviting cruise liners to explore Indian waters. I am thankful to our Minister who acknowledged and supported our efforts to boost Cruise Tourism”. He also added, “We will soon be having a world class Cruise Terminal which is scheduled to open by Oct 2019. And the Mumbai Port will be calling more than 200 cruise ship for the next.” Ms. Nalini Gupta, says “This is exciting times to be in the cruising industry in India. I am quite confident, every Indian who experiences cruising with neoRiviera, will take away nostalgic memories with them.”

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South Africa is the perfect getaway for Indian families simply because it has it all: world-class safaris, adventure activities for adults and kids alike, breathtaking beauty, pristine beaches, well-equipped and exciting resorts, diverse and vibrant shopping, food and nightlife options that make it a joy for travellers of every age group. In fact, the country is so tourist-friendly that independent families who love to explore at their own pace are recommended to take a road trip.

Action-Packed Itinerary South Africa has something to cater to every family member – from the youngest to the oldest! From adventure to wildlife to a relaxed sojourn and entertainment, those who come to South Africa for self-indulgence certainly won't be disappointed. For families travelling with children, South Africa has options such as:  Gold Reef City Theme Park in Johannesburg  Valley of the Waves theme park in Sun City near Pilanesburg  Ratanga Junction and Two Oceans Aquarium in Cape Town  Bayworld in Port Elizabeth  uShaka Marine World in Durban These attractions are truly family-friendly; from show-stopping entertainment for the entire family to high-end shopping offers in the vicinity, these destinations have it all.

supervised jungle gym, children's playroom, nanny service, specialized children's game drive and child-friendly activities involving arts, crafts and games to keep kids entertained while their folks enjoy some down time. Moreover, for time-starved Indian travellers, it is significant to note that the Big 7 safari can be completed within one day: marine safaris are normally 3 to 4 hour, starting morning allowing visitors to get back, have lunch and then depart to either Addo Elephant National Park or a private game reserve. Contrary to some myths, South Africa is entirely Malaria-free and with good roads and infrastructure. Families can take off on a self-drive safari in a number of parks that allow it.

Something for everyone For families travelling with members of various age groups, the rainbow nation has numerous options to engage each one of them. Families can choose from escapades in the wild while staying in the infamous game reserves, activities such as the world's highest commercial bridge bungee, abseiling off Table Mountain –one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Shark Cage diving in the Western Cape, soaking in the beauty of an exquisite landscape in a Hot Air Balloon. Families can also embark on a self-drive to explore the country of limitless experiences. All this is done while ensuring that the highest levels of safety are maintained.

Family-friendly Safaris South Africa is the best destination to indulge in a safari with the whole family. National and provincial parks and the numerous private game lodges in South Africa offer unique wildlife attractions with modern amenities and breathtaking nature and surrounds. Travellers can choose from a number of family-friendly safari options available across national parks and game reserves such as Pilanesberg National Park, Shamwari Game Reserve, Addo Elephant National Park, Kruger National Park and Madikwe Game Reserve among others. A majority of game lodges have found ways to cater to children in fun and interesting ways with a variety of programmes. At many of these properties, kids will get to experience activities like Big 5 safaris and game drives in closed vehicles, bush walks with wildlife for the whole family, junior ranger training, butterfly/fish/insect catch and release and more. In addition, they also offer facilities such as children's pool,

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Value for Money Attractive currency exchange rates make South Africa a lucrative long haul holiday destination. That's not all - South Africa is a shopper's paradise!Over 50% of all gold reserves are found in South Africa and visitors can take advantage of the array of excellent jewellery shops in Johannesburg. With gold and diamonds being among South Africa's most-famed resources, buying ornaments and gemstones is often high on the international visitor's shopping list. Great tax discounts can be found at the airport and in shopping malls. If it is designer goods that one wants, they will find exactly what their heart desires with easily accessible options of South Africa's hottest fashion talent like Rich Mnisi, AKJP, Maria McCloy and Pichulik Africa. International labels and designer goods can be found in the world-class shopping malls across South Africa.

Vegetarian and Indian food When visiting South Africa, Indian families have a superb range of options when it comes to food. South Africa boasts cuisines and flavors from all over the world, including many Indian restaurants. The country prides itself on the exceptional quality of fruit and vegetables, which are exported across the world. So while South Africa is justifiably famous for its own cuisine and fresh produce, restaurants across the nation respect the sentiments of visitors especially from India; menus boast of a wide variety of delicious and nourishing cuisine, delivering an enjoyable and fulfilling culinary experience for, vegetarian, vegan and Jain visitors. Vegetarian and Halaal food is available at most South African eateries, from pavement cafes to 5-star restaurants as well at mainstream restaurant.

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TRADE NEWS Russia Visa Application Centres Global DMC Network by JTB launched in 4 cities in India focuses on India with roadshow

Residents of India can now apply for visas to Russia at VFS Global Visa Application Centres opened for the Embassy of the Russian Federation. With Russia emerging as a popular destination – approximately 55,000 travellers visit Russia from India each year – the application process through the new centres will prove to be smoother and more streamlined. The centre in New Delhi was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Nikolay Rishatovich Kudashev, A m b a s s a d o r E x t ra o rd i n a r y a n d Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to the Republic of India,

in a ceremony held on 17 December 2018. The key features of the centre include:  Convenient and centrally-accessed location  Premium Lounge for personalised and comfortable service  Dedicated website for easy access t o i n fo r m a t i o n i n c l u d i n g v i s a categories, requirements, checklist and applicable fees  100% secure handling of passports, documents and personal information  Door-step delivery of passports  VFS Global has been operating visa processing services for the Government of Russia since 2009, and today serves the client government in 22 countries, apart from India.

New Delhi - 21 Jan, 2019 Bangalore - 23 Jan, 2019 Mumbai - 24 Jan, 2019 The Global DMC Network by JTB Group focuses on the Indian market by organising a multi-city roadshow in January 2019. The host cities will be New Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai respectively on January 21, 23 and 24. The purpose hereof is to introduce the Group's services to Indian travel agencies and help them to plan longhaul trips for their potential customers. At each roadshow, over 200 agents will be invited to participate in sessions with six DMCs from Asia Pacific, Europe, Japan and Korea: Tour East, Tumlare Destination Management, Kuoni Global Travel Services, Europamundo Vacaciones, JTB Global Marketing & Travel, Inc., and LOTTE JTB.

This roadshow comes at a time where long-haul travel from India is increasing. According to Euromonitor International, in 2017, outbound departures from India reached 17 million, an increase of 1.6 million from the previous year (16,335.8). More travellers are visiting further destinations, with Thailand, the US, Singapore and France at the top. “With this gradual increase of long-haul travel, India has become a key source market for the world,” stated Abrar Uppal, senior manager for the Global DMC Network by JTB Group. “Now is the prime time to show the soon-to-be travellers what opportunities we can offer, giving them the choice and ease of mind when deciding where to travel.”

Sikkim Pakyong Airport is an Engineering Marvel at 4500 feet

The northeast state of Sikkim now has an airport “Pakyong Airport”. The airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about two km above Pakyong village at 4,500 feet above sea level. The airport was inaugurated by the Hon'ble Prime Minister in September, 2018. The new Pakyong Airport will promote tourism and connect the region widely. This will also open up the opportunities

for the Sikkimese people and bring in an era of economic development. This airport also marks as Sikkim's first and India's 100th airport by Airports Authority of India. The airport is build at an estimated cost of Rs. 553 Crores. The area of terminal building of the airport is 3200 sqm with a peak hour handling capacity of 100 passengers. The Airport has been developed to handle ATR 72-500 type of aircraft

operations. It is the first e v e r Greenfield airport in Northeast India which will be one of India's five highest-altitude airports, located at a height of 1,399 m or 4,590 feet. The building has been perceived as a single spacious volume, through which passengers can easily flow from road to the aircraft. The building interior emanates a sense of calm, uncluttered spaces that offer a place for passengers to relax, away from the stress of their long journeys. An internal zen garden with a sitting Buddha statue adorns at one end of the passenger concourse. The glass envelop of the terminal opens up the interiors visually towards the panoramic scenic site of the mighty Himalayas. The terminal building has

acquired a vibrant character as its glass envelope reflects the landscape imagery. The terminal building of the airport is equipped with all modern passenger facilities, consisting of pre-engineered structure with glass & steel envelop having profile sheet roofing on steel truss. Sustainable design in engineering services including public health, electrical, BMS, fire detection & fighting, landscaping & interior design has facilitated a comprehensive & holistic design adding value to the building. The interiors of the building depict local handicrafts, murals & tourist destinations.

Rs 2,500/- only Offer Valid till - 01 March, 2019 *Condition Apply

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS Tourism Malaysia announces Roadshow in Mumbai & Bhubaneshwar Tourism Malaysia Mumbai Office announced to host 2-city roadshow in Mumbai on 9th January, 2019 at St Regis Hotel & Bhubaneshwar on 14th January, 2019 at Pal Heights Hotel. A team of 18 product suppliers from Malaysia will be participating in the roadshow in Mumbai, & Bhubaneshwar. The roadshow will aim to showcase the lattest happening and the delegates will be sharing attractive packages with amazing discounts and incentives to the travel fraternity in Mumbai and Bhubaneshwar. Mr Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Director, Tourism Malaysia Mumbai said, “We are h a p py to a n n o u n c e o u r 2 - c i t y roadhshow in Mumbai & Bhubaneshwar. This will drive the interaction on B2B connect and will

boost Indian footfalls in Malaysia. Malaysia is a bio-diversity country with rich tradition & culture. Our natural environment surrounded with rich flora & fauna, pristine beaches, theme parks, adventure activities, nightlife are very appealing for the any Indian tourist. Luxury enjoyed at affordable price is what Malaysia is and will be. There are many new u n ex p l o r e d a t t ra c t i v e destinations which Malaysia will be showcasing at this roadshow.”

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TAT Boosts Up Thai Tourism with Year-End Sales Campaign T h e To u r i s m A u t h o r i t y o f T h a i l a n d ( TAT ) launched its year-end Amazing Thailand G r a n d S a l e promotion with a unique “Passport Privileges” twist, targeting arrivals from short-haul markets offering big s a v i n g s a n d privileges on a wide range of popular services and goods at participating venues including department stores, restaurants, hotels, hospitals, spas and various shops, exclusively for tourists from Thailand’s neighboring countries. TAT G o v e r n o r, M r. Y u t h a s a k Supasorn reveals that Amazing Thailand Grand Sale “Passport Privileges” is intended to promote Thailand as a shopping, medical and leisure destination to those tourists from ASEAN, East Asia and South Asia. “ TAT has been working with our partners both public and private sectors to offer “Passport Privileges” to the tourists. The new initiative runs from 15 November 2018 until 15 January 2019, which

is an ideal time to visit and spend enjoyable moment in Thailand during festive season.” The special campaign “Passport Privileges” is packed with promotions in various provinces, including in Bangkok, Phuket, Tak, Chiang Mai and Surin - as well as in Nong Khai and Udon Thani to offer special deals and extra discounts ‘On Top’ to the existing promotions once the visitors to Thailand simply present their passport when shopping or using services at service providers taking part in the Amazing Thailand Grand Sale campaign. Check out participating shops, restaurants, hospitals, and special privileges:www.tourismthailand.org/pas sportprivileges

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Experience Winter in... Greece is so much more than just a summer time destination! If you are in the mood for a winter getaway, look no further as the country will leave you spellbound with various possibilities for the perfect holiday. Macedonia, Thrace, Epirus, T h e s s a l y, C e n t ra l G r e e c e , Peloponnese, Western Greece, and well-known islands in the Aegean, the Ionian, and Crete are easily accessible by air, and have a very authentic atmosphere in the wintertime. Here are some of the best places and activities to enjoy in Greece:

Greece Greece

Snow-capped mountain thrill Along with enjoying the view of snow-capped landscape, enjoy the

Avoid the crowds of tourists in winter The advantage of visiting Greece in the winter is that it allows you enough time to admire its ancient landmarks without having a lot of people around. There are more than 100 imposing archaeological sites, numerous monuments, and hundreds of museums that successfully keep track of a historic course that has been both continuous and amazing, over a span of 5000 years. Seasons may change yet the perennial beauty of some destinations remains, only to be enhanced in winter! Kastoria, Ioannina, Metsovo and Karpenisi are typical examples.

Nature’s Embrace Virgin forests, majestic mountains, impressive caves, deep shaded gorges, wetland habitats and other remarkable ecosystems enhance the loveliness of thrill of some sporting activities. The biggest ski resorts in the country are on Parnassos, Kalavryta, Kaimaktsalan, Vasilitsa, Tria-Pente Pigadia, Pelion and Mainalo Mountains that offer unforgettable adventures against an allwhite setting. One must go hiking, horse riding, mountaineering or mountain biking to discover the off road routes, wide network of sign posted trails and numerous cloud–capped peaks that will lead you deep into the heart of Greek nature.

Winter festivities and Greek carnival Christmas decorations adorn the cities and villages, ready to welcome visitors for this special season.. Let your childhood fantasies about Christmas come true in numerous cities around Greece, where events such as long-established festivities, outdoor concerts with bands and children's choirs singing Christmas carols promise you a magical atmosphere. Next up the Greek countryside. You will see the grandeur of Greek nature unfold in the National Parks on Pindus, Parnassos, Vikos, Parnitha, Olympus, Mainalo mountains and the Forest of Dadia, as well as in habitats such as the ones in Lake Kerkini, Prespes, Vegoritida and in Nestos River.

Greek Nightlife Greece is known across the world for offering countless options when it comes to nightlife. The nights last longer here and being in high spirits is a fine start for having a great time. Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras, the country ’s three biggest cities, are leaders when it comes to nightlife in Greece. So, if clubbing is what you’re after, you will definitely find the place that best suits you.

is the New Year celebrations followed by Epiphany on 6th January and then local festival Ragoutsaria celebrated in Kastoria town. The festive season only ends with the grand Apokreas Carnival that usually happens towards the end of February. If you love to eat, drink, meet people then Apokreas, is one of the most exciting times to be in Greece.

Trendy villages full of life Dotting the countryside partly covered in clouds or lying under a cloak of white snow, these villages are a meeting point for those jet-setters who wish to enjoy their trip to the countryside, play winter sports in style and at the same time want to a great nightlife. Arachova in Central Greece and Palaios Agios Athanasios, a picture-perfect traditional village in Macedonia, are the most popular destinations at a stone’s throw from ski resorts.

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AVIATION AirAsia India announces Mumbai as its next Destination

AirAsia India announced that it will be flying to Mumbai starting January 2019. AirAsia I n d i a w i l l c o n n e c t M umbai to Bengaluru. This significant business announcement from AirAsia India in the last quarter of 2018 is a testimony to its commitment to making everyone fly and offer affordable means of flying. AirAsia India recently increased frequency of flights between Bengaluru and Kolkata, operating early morning from 12 Jan 2019. It also started the sale of BengaluruGuwahati flights (via Kolkata) in the

evening, commencing on 15 Jan 2019. Mr. Sunil Bhaskaran, MD & CEO, A i r A s i a I n d i a , s a i d , “ We a r e pleased to make the much awaited announcement of adding Mumbai to our network. This is a great way to end 2018, and in line with our ultimate vision is to focus on revolutionizing air travel in the markets that we operate in. We're also happy to welcome our 20th Airbus A320 aircraft to our fleet.” AirAsia India currently has a fleet of 19 aircraft covering 21 interesting destinations across the country.

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IndiGo announces Kannur as its 67th destination IndiGo has announced Kannur as its 67th destination. Effective January 2019, the low-cost airline will operate daily non-stop return flights from Kannur to Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Hubli. Customers can book tickets on

www.goindigo.in. The introduction allinclusive fares starting from INR 1799. Now the flyer will have more flying options and will also boost tourism stemming from nearby regional destinations including Kasaragod and Wayanad in Kerala, and Coorg in Karnataka.

India's IndiGo and Turkish Airlines Announce Codeshare Agreement IndiGo and Turkish Airlines, announced a codeshare and mutual cooperation agreement. The sagreement will enable both carriers to provide more flexibility of choice to their respective customers to fly on sectors between India, Istanbul and beyond. This is the first codeshare agreement for IndiGo as part of its international expansion strategy. Through this cooperation, Turkish Airlines will be offering new destinations in India as Marketing Carrier on IndiGo operated

flights, while IndiGo customers will be a b l e to re a c h m a ny E u ro p e a n destinations through Turkish Airlines' extensive network. This reciprocal arrangement will allow TK and 6E to provide seamless connections to their customers, besides enabling them to use through check-in and many other facilities. IndiGo will place its code “6E” on 20 points beyond Istanbul operated by Turkish Airlines. Similarly, Turkish Airlines will use its code “TK” on IndiGo operated flights within India.

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Arunachal Pradesh’s ORANGE FESTIVAL OF MUSIC AND ADVENTURE 2018 One of the beautiful state of Northeast Arunachal Pradesh played a host to the O ra n ge Fe st i va l o f M u s i c a n d Adventure (OFAM) 2018. Hon'ble CM Shri Pema Khandu joined Festival Director, Mr. Abu Tayeng and Local MLA Mr. Gum Tayeng. Dambuk, Deputy Commissioner Mr. Mitali Namchoom and Mr. Vikram Malhotra, Marketing Director JK Tyre & Industries Limited

Mahindra, Monster, Coca Cola and Kingfisher. Addressing the event, Shri Pema Khandu said, “It all started with a small spark and today we are witnessing the 5th edition of this one of it's kind adventure and music fest. There is a lot of enthusiasm and energy which sets the tone right for all the music and adventure lovers. We have bands that have come from all over

were among other dignitaries that graced the grand opening the OFAM. The event concluded on a high note with a grand performance by Iron Maidens, in Dambuk. This year Adventure and Music festival grew even bigger with more than 10000+ tourists and 30000+ locals

the country and different parts of the world I thank each one of them for coming together and raising the bar with every passing year. Dambuk as a location has everything a tourist would want and we would like to welcome you to witness this spectacular place”

attending the festival. This year the festival was attended by 28 music bands, including international bands like Thundermother from Sweden. The sponsors for the event were JK Tyres,

The idea behind the festival as mentioned by Mr. Abu Tayeng, OFAM director, is to bring in people from all over the world to explore the wild natural beauty of Arunachal Pradesh

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and experience the local way of life and culture in an untouched destination. He also hoped that the next edition will be bigger and grander than this year both in terms of visitors and participants. He also said, “We plan to take OFAM on an international stage and create a buzz on national circuit as well. The festival attracts visitors not only from India but internationally as well, which showcase its potential. We hope that upcoming editions will receive more attention and fame, thus ensuring a bigger tourists’ inflow in the region and better employment opportunities for locals.” Apart from enthralling music by 28 bands which performed on stage, crowds also witnessed the thrilling JK tyres 4X4 Fury, enjoyed adventure sports which were organized in collaboration with NIMAS and the natural beauty of Dambuk. From local favourites Trance effect to Thundermother from Sweden, bands gave absorbing performances which kept the energy levels high through the evening. Rains battered the venue on occasion, but the crowds braved the weather conditions and made their presence felt. The scenic lower Dibung valley was a perfect setting for adventure lovers to get their fill of adrenaline in this year’s

OFAM. With mighty rivers like the Dirang and Brahmaputra flowing in close vicinity and rainforests covered east Himalayan ranges surrounding the vast orange orchards, adventure activities like zip lining, para gliding, para sailing, white water rafting, dirt cycling, speed boating and elephant rides were the popularly enjoyed activities at this festival. OFAM organisers collaborated with NIMAS, National institute for Mountaineering and Adventure Sports a MoD run institute, for arranging the activities on offer. Zip lines passed over the orange orchards which gave participants birds eye view of the trees below. Rapids of grade 1+K3 and 2+K2 on a 10 km long route kept the adrenaline pumping for the participants of white water rafting. Elephant rides gave a leisurely vibe when compared to other adventure activities. With so many adventure activities, hungry crowds were treated to delicious food and fine music on the day and night stages. Food stalls by the locals served up local delicacies like orange pudding, Rice wine, variety of local beers, egg with ginger, farm fresh orange juice and all time favourite Momos to name a few. Stalls which showcased kiwi fruit and pineapple were also present in the OFAM.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS Zen Cruises collaborates TCEB pushes Chiang Mai into with The Apollo Group an International MICE City

I n d i a ’s f i r s t , p r e m i e r e domestic and international cruise business, Zen Cruises Pvt. Ltd. announced its collaboration with r e n o w n e d American custom cruise hotel operators, The Apollo Group. The Apollo Group brings a rich experience of providing exemplary hotel operations and administrative services for over 68 cruise ships around the world. Mr. Jurgen Bailom, President and CEO, Zen Cruises said, “Zen Cruises has partnered with global experts from the cruise, entertainment, port and marine industry to bring closer home the grandeur and lavishness experienced by Indians onboard foreign ships. With their vast knowledge of serving global cruise industry, our strategic partners will offer quality services to domestic passengers, both in terms of innovation and experience.” Zen Cruises’ maiden cruise will sail in Indian waters in 2019 on a 70,285-ton,

2,000 passenger ship. The ship currently in service under a leading cruise line globally will be renamed ‘Karnika’ post change of ownership and is set for its first domestic sail from Mumbai under the brand name ‘Jalesh Cruises’ in April 2019. The Apollo Group will be spearheading an array of onboard operations ranging from food and beverage, housekeeping, guest services, payrolls, public health, vendor management and revenue collection among others. The company is on course to captivate cruise passengers with a tailor-made offering par excellence and to offer passengers fantastic entertainment, incredible culinary experience and majestic cruise vacation in India and Asia.

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Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), continues to drive its MICE City strategy to raise awareness for Chiang Mai's events. Establishing strategic guidelines to develop Chiang Mai into a complete MICE City in the northern region, TCEB collaborates with local communities and stakeholders to promote post-event tours and travel experiences for corporate travellers. In Chiang Mai, post-event activities showcase local lifestyle, historical and cultural attributes. In addition, TCEB joins hands with active co-operatives in various communities to promote neighbourhood projects as alternative venues for MICE activities to create opportunities for sustainable MICE City. Mr. Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, President of TCEB, said TCEB has

adopted key principles to foster cooperative partnership among the public, private, and community sectors to promote the MICE industry through activities that drive the economy and generate revenues to local communities. Chiang Mai in 2017, welcomed 50,881 international MICE travellers generating 4,700.38 million baht in revenue, and 2,210,000 domestic MICE travellers generating 4,914.53 million baht in revenue. Highlighted events held earlier this year included Chiang Mai Bloom 2018, which welcomed 183,569 visitors and Lanna Expo (253,504 visitors). In terms of venue standards, Chiang Mai has 18 MICE venues and 51 meeting rooms certified by the nation-wide Thailand MICE Venue Standard or TMVS.

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Gangtok

The capital city of Sikkim state, Gangtok is an attractive tourist destination, reflecting an unique ambience which derives its happy blend of tradition and modernity. True to its name meaning ‘hill top’, Gangtok city perches a precipitous mountain ridge, descending down the hillside in steep tiers. Gangtok is a cosmopolitan town which offers the tourist all possible amenities. Its highly organised and beautifully maintained city with a spectacular view. Home to the third highest mountain in the world. Mount Kanchenjunga (Kangchendzonga) beautifully nestled in the heart of the Himalayas. Tucked between Tibet (north), Bhutan (east), Nepal (west) and Darjeeling (south). The town provides the perfect base for travel through the state. Alongside the deeply felt presence of stupas and monasteries. Some of the key places to visit here include Rumtek Monastery, Do-Drul Chorten,

Enchey Monastery, Tashi View Point and the local bazaar, Lal Bazaar. One cannot miss the Tsomgo Lake and the Jhakri Waterfalls, which are the second highest mountain pass in the world. Lamaism is big around the area. Monasteries dharma center are worth visiting. Till date, you can see a 300year-old fir tree that stands witness to a stone throne along with other stones that have the footprints of the head lama. The Dubdi Monastery and Sangachoeling Monastery were later built here. The story goes that the first Chogyal

Phuntsok Namgyal was crowned here as the ruler by the three wise monks in the 17th century. The three wise lamas, Lhatsun Chempo, Sempa Chempo and Righsin Chempo met at Norbugang.

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High mountain passes, clear glacial lakes, adventurous trekking trails, and monasteries in the clouds at the hills of Gangtok makes Gangtok an adventurous destination. For a view of Gangtok and all its surrounding, one can go to Ganesh Tok situated on a ridge at a distance of 7 kms from Gangtok where you can enjoy the panoramic view. The city is mostly dominated by Buddhist culture, it resembles the Bhutanese capital, Thimphu. Apart from a few sights of religious importance and an inspiring view of Khangchendzonga soaring above the western horizon, there isn't much to see in town. The

w i n d i n g s i d e a l l eys h i d e s o m e unexpected gems, and the main street (MG Marg) is pedestrianized and a pleasant place to take a stroll. The Gurudongmar Lake not very big but certainly one of the highest (located at an altitude of 17,100 ft.) and the most beautiful in the world. It is believed that the birds including the ducks do not allow even a single leaf to float on the lake. According to legend, if a leaf drops in the lake, the birds will pick it up. The silence here is mesmerizing to witness. Gangtok is a busy administrative and business centre and presents an interesting mix of cultures and communities. It offers a variety of eateries serving cuisine for all tastes for the travellers. The annual Gangtok Food and Culture festival held in December in one of the important event each year where multi-cultural cuisine, along with music and dance performances are showcased.

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Profile for Safari Plus

Safari Plus 2019 Jan Feb  

Safari Plus – A Tale of Tourism is a bi-monthly travel magazine that covers exclusive travel updates, travel news and trade events. Safari P...

Safari Plus 2019 Jan Feb  

Safari Plus – A Tale of Tourism is a bi-monthly travel magazine that covers exclusive travel updates, travel news and trade events. Safari P...

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