• For tourism businesses, Morrison government is considering of tailored support

    Published on : Monday, January 25, 2021

    For tourism businesses, the Morrison government is thinking of additional tailored support to help the hard-hit ones by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and international border close downs, as domestic tourism is yet to fill the expenditure gap.

    The newly appointed Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Dan Tehan reportedly said in a group interview with various media outlets that he has been engaging “heavily” with the industry “to listen to their concerns and also to get thoughts, ideas and feedback from them as to how the government may be able to assist them while we wait for international tourism to come back online”.

    Tehan’s comments came as he repeated that Australia is improbable to welcome international tourists for the coming 9 to 12 months.

    This signifies that businesses which are typically dependant on such travelers remain “in a state where it is very difficult for them to succeed economically”.

    The comments of Tehan come in contrast to those of Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg. He has said that the government has no plans of extending wage subsidies for the tourism after the JobKeeper scheme winds up in March.

    This argument comes after a tough 2020 for tourism. And, while other hard-hit businesses in hospitality and retails, for example, have succeeded in reopening, the ongoing close down of the international border signifies businesses relying on travel are constantly encountering struggles with uncertainty.

    While speaking to SmartCompany, Tom Youl, a tourism analyst for IBISWorld, have explained that actually, in an average year, domestic tourists account for about 70% of all tourism spend in Australia. As tourists from abroad are more lucrative options on a per-visitor basis, he says that the volume pales in comparison to domestic travelers.

    To top it all, travelers to Australia spent about $31 million in 2019. Australians, by contrast, spent about $57 million overseas. Therefore, if all that money goes towards Aussie tourism instead of abroad, tourism could be in for a $26 million windfall. Regrettably, that’s not how it works.

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  • Space Coast to boost business in 2021

    Published on : Monday, January 25, 2021

    Florida tourism industry experienced its worst days during the pandemic. Businesses paused with sudden lock down decision and hospitality and tourism industry suffered. However, with the passing of 2020, New Year 2021 brought with it new hopes and expectations, and the industry expect growth and prosperity after the pandemic pause. In Brevard County, the director of tourism mentioned that they experienced a loss of about $500 million last year in visitor spending. Now, they’re hoping to make up for the lost time.

    As the industry is taking positive turn this year, Peter Cranis, the Space Coast Office of Tourism executive director mentioned that one of the key tourist attractions, Space Coast that has most number of launches in the world is expected to reconnect with customers and bounce back in business. And now the Coast is ready with a full calendar of launches scheduled, Cranis predicts Brevard could draw hundreds of thousands of visitors. He is also feeling confident about a significant return in cruising and visitors flying into Orlando.

    People are also excited to get back to beach, and they are counting on the revisiting of tourists during spring and summer, Crains added. The Space Coast Office of Tourism is spending $2 million on a summer marketing campaign. That’s more than double what they spent in 2020.

    The Space Coast will have some star power too. Actor Tom Cruise is expected to film one of his next movies at the International Space Station.

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    Tags: Covid-19, florida tourism, space coast, Space Coast tourism, travel and tourism

  • Jamaica boosts COVID testing facility with return of tourismTravel And Tour World

    Published on : Monday, January 25, 2021

    Jamaica minister of tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has revealed that the country has bolstered its COVID-19 testing infrastructure to meet the growing demand for such tests. It has been mentioned that the increase in demand has been driven by new travel requirements in major tourism source markets and the minister has announced that Jamaica is now very ready.

    He informed that the country has developed the infrastructure to secure the quantities of testing agents and/or to enable the viral testing methods that are approved by the relevant authorities. He mentioned that all visitors who come to Jamaica will be able to access approved testing arrangements to enable them to fulfil the requirements of their respective countries for re-entry.

    He added that the task force has done quite a lot of work including taking steps to assess and determine the capacity to respond to the need for testing of all visitors going back to their country and shared that the work is completed. He shared that all the labs are all accredited and resourced and the country has also established two redundancy arrangements located at sites close to both international airports in Montego Bay and Kingston.

    The move follows the recent order by the United States Centres for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), which requires evidence of a negative COVID-19 test result for airline passengers travelling into the United States. Similar requirements were previously introduced by the governments of Canada and the U.K., which require all persons flying to those countries to present negative test results to facilitate entry or to avoid self-quarantine.

    The minister underscored that the improvements to the testing framework was being driven by the special task force he recently developed to spearhead efforts to boost Jamaica’s COVID-19 testing capacity. The group has also created a system which will make the process easier for visitors. Testing facilities are also in place at all of the country’s major hotels and transportation arrangements are in place to facilitate the movement of visitors to the closest testing centre, if one is not available on property.  Visitors will also have the option to pay for the tests prior to their arrival at the facilities.

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    Tags: Covid-19, jamaica, Jamaican tourism

  • 17 Best Things to Do in Denver, Colorado (with Photos)

    The capital and largest city of Colorado, Denver is known as the ‘Mile-High City’ as it is located at the foot of the rearing Rocky Mountains. As such, there is a wealth of wilderness to be explored nearby with picturesque parks and gardens also to be found in town. A lively yet laid back place, Denver lies at the heart of a fast-growing metropolitan area with the city acting as an important economic, political and cultural center for the region.

    As well as being home to interesting historic tourist attractions and many museums, some splendid shopping and nightlife are also among the things to do in Denver. Add in the scenic setting, and more than 300 days of sunshine a year, and it is no wonder that Denver is regularly ranked among the best places to live in the United States.

    17. History Colorado Center

    History Colorado Centerflickr/Jeffrey Beall

    Set in the middle of the city is the History Colorado Center which offers a fascinating look at the history of the American West. Through interesting and interactive exhibits, you’ll learn about how the state was settled and how its pioneering and individualistic spirit came to be.

    Opened in 2012, it boasts a colossal collection, with everything from photographs and prints to age-old artifacts, artworks, and archaeological findings on show. The museum’s delightful displays and dioramas also look at the daily lives of Ancestral Puebloans, as well as Colorado’s many mountains and mines.

    16. The International Church of Cannabis

    The International Church of Cannabis© dreamstime

    A very unique and unusual place to visit in Denver is The International Church of Cannabis, just a short drive to the south of the city center. Elevationists, as the religion’s members are known, use cannabis as a sacrament to accelerate and deepen self-discovery. Their headquarters are located in a lovely old converted Lutheran church.

    Although the century-old church exhibits some exquisite architecture, it is the incredible interior decoration which really makes for a spellbinding and psychedelic sight. Painted by world-famous artist Okuda San Miguel in glorious technicolor, the walls and ceiling are filled with geometric shapes and graffiti-inspired images of people and animals.

    15. Coors Field

    Coors Field© dreamstime

    When in town it is well worth going to watch the Colorado Rockies play a Major League Baseball game at colossal Coors Field. As it has a capacity of over 50,000 people, and a reputation for being a hitter’s park, games at this ballpark are always fun to watch thanks to its electrifying atmosphere.

    First opened in 1995 in downtown Denver, the state-of-the-art stadium boasts fantastic facilities and views of its pitch, with even the far-off Rocky Mountains spied from its higher stands. Besides enjoying the ambience, visitors can also try out their batting skills at its interactive area. On-site there’s also a souvenir store and a microbrewery which sells craft beers from the Coors Brewery.

    14. 16th Street Mall

    16th Street Mall© dreamstime

    Stretching over two kilometers in length is 16th Street Mall, lined by more than 300 locally-owned shops and chain stores. Home to countless excellent restaurants and entertainment venues, it’s a very popular place to visit for locals and tourists alike.

    Dotted with pretty flower beds, park benches, and tall trees, the massive transit mall was opened in 1982. To get around, catch the free shuttle bus permitted on its pedestrian-only streets. In addition to dining and shopping ‘til your heart’s content, you can also watch the many superb street performers.

    13. Denver Performing Arts Complex

    Denver Performing Arts Complex© dreamstime

    An incredible place to visit, the Denver Performing Arts Complex is home to not one, not two but 10 world-class performance spaces! It is the place to head to watch ballet, opera, or a play, with the massive complex covering four blocks of the city center.

    Often referred to locally as ‘the plex’, the sprawling site certainly has something for everyone to enjoy, from classical and contemporary dance to choirs, concerts, and comedy acts. The Denver Performing Arts Complex also hosts classes and workshops during the year.

    12. Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum

    Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum© dreamstime

    Just 15 minutes’ drive to the east of downtown is the wonderful Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum. Housed in a huge hangar you can find dozens of gleaming aircraft and space vehicles, with other arresting artifacts and exhibitions also on display.

    Once an Air Force training base, it was turned into a museum in 1994 to preserve the history of its operations. Besides many military planes, it also has captivating civilian and space crafts to peruse. Plus interesting interactive exhibits about the history of aviation and space exploration.

    11. Union Station

    Union Station© dreamstime

    Much more than just Denver’s main transportation hub, the historic Union Station is teeming with life, and is well worth visiting, even if you aren’t planning on traveling.

    First opened in 1881, before burning down a decade later, the restored railway station is remarkably well-preserved with its fabulous Beaux-arts facade topped by an iconic ‘travel by train’ sign.

    Inside is just as stunning. The massive main hall is sumptuously decorated with leather couches and lanterns, and lined with swanky restaurants and bars, cosy cafes, and boutiques.

    10. Larimer Square

    Larimer Square© dreamstime

    The first designated local historic district in Denver, Larimer Square is lined by lovely old buildings which house countless art galleries, shops and restaurants. The square was the first site to be settled in the city with the former pioneer camp slowly turning into the main business area over the decades.

    A century and a half later, Larimer Square remains the heart and soul of the city and has lots to see and do. Besides its bountiful bars and boutiques, it also has arresting architecture with some great dining and entertainment to be had in the evenings.

    9. Washington Park

    Washington Park© dreamstime

    Washington Park attracts locals and tourists with its appealing ambience and an array of outdoor activities on offer. Sprawled over a huge area, its meticulously landscaped lawns, lakes and flower gardens are just a short distance to the south of the city center.

    Established in 1899, the park has paths to stroll, picnic areas and playing fields, as well as a recreation center and tennis courts. You’ll also find historic homes hugging the edges of the park which exhibit very attractive architecture and brickwork.

    8. Colorado State Capitol

    Colorado State Capitol© dreamstime

    Perched atop a small hill in the center of the city is the Colorado State Capitol which certainly makes for a spellbinding sight. Boasting a grand exterior and glittering golden dome, the state’s seat of government can be found at the east end of Civic Center Park.

    Mostly made of materials sourced from Colorado, it is modeled on the United States Capitol with the beautiful building completed in 1901.

    Inside the cavernous capitol is coated in marble with portraits and stained glass windows lining the halls and chambers. Besides learning about its history in a small but informative museum, visitors can also enjoy fantastic views out over the city and the Rockies from its viewing platform.

    7. Denver Zoo

    Denver Zoo© dreamstime

    A family-friendly place to visit, the world-class Denver Zoo is home to more than 4,000 animals. In spacious enclosures that mimic their natural habitats, you can find everything, from lions and tigers to gorillas and grizzly bears. There are interesting, educational exhibits wherever you look.

    Since opening in 1896, the zoo has expanded considerably and now covers a large part of City Park. Wandering around places such as Elephant Passage, Predator Ridge, and Primate Panorama is a treat as you can see the animals up close and personal.

    Through displays and demonstrations, you’ll learn about these remarkable residents and how they normally live in the wild.

    6. Molly Brown House Museum

    Molly Brown House Museumflickr/Steven Martin

    Set just a stone’s throw from the Colorado State Capitol is the Molly Brown House Museum. This museum offers an interesting insight into the life and times of this incredible woman. Despite having been a philanthropist, theater performer and progressive activist, Margaret Brown is now most famous for having survived the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

    Her former home now acts as a museum and houses excellent exhibits and artifacts on her life and achievements, plus the era of Colorado history in which she lived. Almost as impressive as her work in the women’s suffrage movement and experiences aboard the Titanic is the breathtaking building itself. Wonderfully well-preserved, it dates back to 1887 and showcases some stunning Queen Anne-style architecture.

    5. Denver Art Museum

    Denver Art Museum© dreamstime

    Lying just a few blocks away is another of the city’s standout sights; the extraordinary Denver Art Museum. Boasting a collection of some 70,000 or so astonishing artworks, it is a must-visit.

    Founded back in 1893, the museum’s modern building exhibits a delightfully different and daring design, and its galleries include everything, from African and Asian art to Native American and Oceanic paintings, photos, and prints.

    Set over several buildings are innovative and interactive installations with renowned works by famed artists, such as Vincent van Gogh, Auguste Renoir, and Winslow Homer on display.

    4. Denver Museum of Nature & Science

    Denver Museum of Nature & Science© dreamstime

    A very educational place to visit when in town is the delightful Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Located at the eastern end of City Park, it has an array of exhibits and activities to enjoy. These on the natural history of the state, as well as that of the Earth and universe too.

    Perusing its permanent exhibitions is a treat as they look at everything, from the fauna and flora of the Rocky Mountains to dinosaurs, Egyptian mummies, and robots. The museum also has a planetarium and IMAX theater, with classes, lectures and workshops held throughout the year.

    3. Mount Evans Scenic Byway

    Mount Evans Scenic Byway© dreamstime

    Winding its way through the Rocky Mountains is the majestic Mount Evans Scenic Byway, fittingly known as the ‘road into the sky’. The highest paved road in the whole of North America, it takes you up to the heady height of 4,310 meters, passing stupendous scenery and jaw-dropping viewpoints on the way.

    Starting to the west of the city, the beautiful byway stretches 45 kilometers in length and remarkably gains over 2,000 meters in elevation. As such, it is an absolute delight to drive along and has lovely lakes and trails for you to stop off at along the route. While there are a plethora of phenomenal views to be enjoyed, the best of all is to be found at its endpoint which lies just below the lofty summit of Mount Evans.

    2. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater

    Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater© dreamstime

    One of the most renowned tourist attractions in Denver, the Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, is found just 20 minutes’ drive to the southwest of the city center. Besides its stunning sandstone rock formations, it is also famed for its outstanding outdoor amphitheater. This boasts excellent acoustics and an intoxicating ambience which attracts big-name artists.

    Set between two hulking 120 meter-high sandstone rocks, the natural amphitheater has long been a world-class venue with everyone from, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix to John Denver, U2 and Neil Young having performed there.

    In addition to watching a concert or basking in the breathtaking views out over Denver, visitors can also go hiking amidst the red rock formations or stop by the site’s Colorado Music Hall of Fame.

    1. Denver Botanic Gardens

    Denver Botanic Gardens© dreamstime

    Home to a myriad of plants and flowers, trees and shrubs, the Denver Botanic Gardens are worth a visit when in town. One of the largest and loveliest botanical gardens in the States, it sprawls over a huge part of Cheesman Park, with other serene and scenic sections to be found at both Chatfield and Mount Goliath.

    Since first opening in 1951, it has expanded considerably and now includes flora from as far away as Africa, Asia, and Australia. In total it has over 50 peaceful and picturesque gardens to wander around. Exotic and rare orchids lie alongside sparkling waterfalls, and there are pretty pavilions and a glorious Japanese garden.

    With its numerous art installations, outdoor concerts in the summer months, and a magical Christmas lights show to enjoy in winter, the Denver Botanic Gardens are a year-round attraction.

  • Seychelles now ready to welcome vaccinated travellers

    Published on : Monday, January 25, 2021

    Seychelles government now open for tourism but with limited entry. They are gearing up to open tourism but allow only those who have taken both the doses of Covid-19 vaccine and have a negative report from a RT-PCR test done 72 hours prior to the journey, shall be allowed to enter, according to an official statement on Wednesday.

    On January 14, 2021, long after the pause Seychelles government announced that will soon open up the country for tourism in a two-step approach: the first phase is about allowing passengers 14 days after taking both the doses of vaccine as well as with Covid negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey. The second phase will be from mid-March — by the time the Seychelles government expects to vaccinate significant section of its population — when non-vaccinated persons would be able to enter the country with just a Covid-negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, said the statement by the country’s tourism promotion board.

    It has been also made official that with the focus on vaccine availability, it has been forecasted that 25 per cent of its population is likely to be vaccinated by mid-March and this will encourage tourism in the second phase, and boost business.

    The country has thus adapted to some easy travelling norms and new regulations will help in maintaining tourism business while following social distancing and other covid protection norms. Seychelles is currently open to Indian visitors — who have not been vaccinated — through private jet transfers only, the statement noted. The non-vaccinated Indians can currently travel to Seychelles island on a private jet and with a Covid negative report of a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, it explained.

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    Tags: Coronavirus, Covid-19, Seychelles tourism, travel and tourism, Vaccine news

  • Industry optimistic despite decline in South Dakota tourism

    Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2021

    A decline in visitors and tourism income broke a 10-year streak of industry growth last year, the Department of Tourism reported Thursday, although the state fared better than others during the pandemic.

    The number of visitors to South Dakota dropped by 13 per cent in 2020 to 12.6 million, according to an annual study by Tourism Economics.

    Nevertheless, the industry’s annual two-day conference in Pierre was marked with optimism with many companies saying things were not as bad as they could have been.

    Some attendees credited Gov. Kristi Noem’s decision to forgo many coronavirus restrictions while marketing the state as “open for business,” saying it could result in even better visitor numbers this year.

    “The hard work that you did during the darkest days of 2020 will help bring folks back to our state to find the freedom that they’ve been longing to experience for nearly a year,” Noem told the crowd at an awards ceremony Thursday.

    Visitors to South Dakota spent $3.4 billion, a decline of 18 per cent from 2019. The Department of Tourism said that wasn’t as bad as many other spots across the country, which saw a 45 per cent downturn. Visitor spending contributed $2.6 billion, making up 4.7 per cent of the state’s economy.

    Epidemiologists blamed massive tourist events such as the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally for seeding virus infections across the Midwest. The state also suffered through a surge of virus infections that started in late August and peaked in November, with some of the worst rates in the country.

    Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen said his department followed the governor’s lead and preached personal responsibility to mitigate the spread of infections.

    “The industry took that personal responsibility and the fact that we were open to heart,” Hagen said. “It was their responsibility to keep those visitors safe when they came.”

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    Tags: South Dakota Tourism

  • 12 Best Things to do in Phoenix, Arizona (with Photos)

    Both the capital and largest city in Arizona, Phoenix lies at the heart of a massive metropolitan area known as the Valley of the Sun. As it is set in the sun-scorched Sonoran Desert, it is blessed with year-round warm weather makings it a great place to enjoy outdoor activities. In addition to the broad variety of golf courses in the area, other things to do in Phoenix include some great hiking, mountain biking and rock climbing amid the splendid scenery of its numerous parks and mountains.

    Acting as an economic and cultural center for not just the state but the whole of the Southwest, the sprawling city has lots of excellent art galleries and magnificent museums to check out. Besides this, it also boasts an exquisite culinary scene to delve into with a wealth of superb restaurants and bars. Home to everything from gorgeous gardens and interesting historic tourist attractions to major sports teams and lively nightlife, Phoenix certainly has a lot to offer.

    12. Wrigley Mansion

    Wrigley Mansion© dreamstime

    Set just a short drive to the northeast of the city center is the wonderful Wrigley Mansion which lies atop of a prominent knoll overlooking Phoenix. Built between 1929 and 1931 by the chewing-gum magnate William Wrigley Jr, the mansion exhibits astounding architecture with terrific tours taking you around all of its sumptuously decorated rooms.

    Besides showcasing some splendid Spanish Colonial style architecture, the marvelous mansion is particularly known for its exquisite tile work. While exploring all of its elegant rooms that number more than twenty in total, you’ll learn all about the history of the beautiful building and the famous families that lived here. Now a private club, Wrigley Mansion hosts lots of meetings and weddings at its fine-dining restaurant and bar with phenomenal views to be enjoyed from its outdoor veranda.

    11. Goldfield Ghost Town

    Goldfield Ghost Town© dreamstime

    Lying on the eastern outskirts of Phoenix is the Goldfield Ghost Town which is set at the foot of the soaring Superstition Mountains. This popular tourist attraction was once a thriving mining town. Today, visitors can enjoy tours of the mine and town alongside gunfights, ziplines and a ride on the town’s narrow gauge railroad.

    Founded in 1893 when gold was discovered in the nearby mountains, the town’s population slowly dwindled and died as the shining seams ran out. Nowadays, the reconstructed town is a very fun and family friendly place with its corral and county jail, saloons and shacks taking you right back to the times of the Wild West. Besides strolling around its sizeable site, you can also pan for gold, try out its shooting range and learn a bit about the history of the ghost town at its small museum.

    10. South Mountain Park

    South Mountain Park© dreamstime

    One of the largest urban parks in not just the States but the world, the sprawling South Mountain Park is located just to the south of the city center. Very mountainous, it encompasses three rearing ranges with their scenic slopes boasting an incredible array of outdoor activities for you to enjoy.

    Protected and preserved as part of a park since 1924, its colossal confines are home to lots of native desert vegetation with it being particularly known for its large lizard population of chuckwallas. In total, it has eighty kilometers of tantalizing trails for you to hike, mountain bike or horseback ride in and among its spellbinding scenery. A very popular place to visit is Dobbins Lookout which exhibits the highest point in the park from where visitors can take in breath-taking views of all of Phoenix.

    9. Papago Park

    Papago Park© dreamstime

    Yet more of the city’s delightful desert landscapes can be found in the pretty and peaceful Papago Park which is also home to lots of enticing attractions and recreational opportunities. Part of both Phoenix and Tempe, it includes everything from fishing lakes and golf courses to picturesque paths, picnic areas and playing fields as well as the Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Zoo.

    Dotted with distinctive red rock formations, the hilly desert park is a treat to hike or bike around with the huge Hole in the Rock and beautiful Big Butte counting among its finest features. Hidden away amidst its cacti-dotted domain are lovely lakes and state-of-the-art sports facilities for you to stop off at. In addition, one of its standout sights is Hunt’s Tomb – a small white pyramid in which Arizona’s first governor is buried.

    8. Japanese Friendship Garden

    Japanese Friendship Garden© dreamstime

    The gorgeous Japanese Friendship Garden lies just to the north of Downtown Phoenix, and it is a very scenic and serene space to stroll around. Centered on a charming koi pond are pretty paths and plants for you to wander past as well as tiny streams, stone lanterns and a traditional teahouse.

    The tranquil garden was opened to the public in 1996 after nearly a decade spent designing and perfecting its layout. In fact, it was a joint venture by Phoenix and Himeji, its sister city in Japan. Besides basking in its beauty, you can also attend one of the many Japanese cultural events that regularly take place in the quiet and peaceful garden. These range from tea ceremonies and tai chi classes to wabi sabi pottery workshops and ikebana art demonstrations.

    7. Lost Dutchman State Park

    Lost Dutchman State Park© dreamstime

    Set right at the foot of the stunning Superstition Mountains is the Lost Dutchman State Park which is very popular among both nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Named after a legendary lost gold mine, it has lots of terrific trails and splendid Sonoran Desert scenery for you to explore. You’ll find the Goldfield Ghost Town right beside it.

    Established in 1977 by the state as a recreation area, the park has cosy cabins and campsites for visitors to stay in as well as parking and picnic areas to make use of. Rearing above its scenic confines is the majestic mountain range that just begs to be explored. Many of its mountain bike paths and hiking trails wind their way in and among the lush wilderness before slowly snaking their way up the steep slopes of the Superstitions.

    6. Roosevelt Row District

    Roosevelt Row District© dreamstime

    What was once a dilapidated, decaying and even dangerous district just a few short decades ago is now one of the most dynamic areas in downtown. Home to lots of incredible art galleries, local restaurants and boutiques, the revitalized Roosevelt Row now lies at the center of the city’s thriving arts and culture scene.

    Thanks to its creative character and pedestrian-friendly nature, the district is a treat to explore with marvelous murals and innovative artists’ studios wherever you look. On top of all its superb shops and restaurants, the area also hosts lots of fun festivals and cultural events as well as a huge art market on the first Friday of every month. With a lively yet laidback feel to it, the vibrant Roosevelt Row District is not to be missed when in Phoenix.

    5. Heard Museum

    Heard Museum© dreamstime

    Located just a short drive to the north of the city center is the humongous Heard Museum which boasts a captivating collection of Native American artworks, artifacts and archaeological findings. While the main focus is on indigenous art from the American Southwest, its award-winning exhibits also look at everything from their history and heritage to their culture and livelihoods.

    Since being founded all the way back in 1929, its colossal collection has continued to grow, and it now includes more than 40,000 items. In its gorgeous galleries, visitors can peruse beautiful beadwork and basketry with textiles and traditional arts also being on display. Of particular interest is its huge collection of historic Hopi kachinas – small spirit dolls – and its splendid seven metre-long mural. In addition to this, the museum hosts several cultural events and festivals over the course of the year which feature Native American artists and performers.

    4. Camelback Mountain

    Camelback Mountain© dreamstime

    One of the most renowned and recognized landmarks in the region, Camelback Mountain lies to the northeast of the city in between Phoenix and Paradise Valley. The mountain gets its due to its uncanny resemblance to the head and hump of a kneeling camel. The massive mountain has many outstanding outdoor activities for you to enjoy as well as phenomenal panoramas from both its steep slopes and soaring summit.

    Rising up to 825 meters in height, its rugged reaches and red rock formations are lots of fun to explore and are protected and preserved as part of a recreation area. Besides basking in its beauty or bouldering around its base, visitors can hike along its trails and climb within Echo Canyon. Although climbing up to the top of Camelback Mountain is a challenge, it is well worth it for the fantastic views on offer over both Phoenix and Scottsdale.

    3. Scottsdale Old Town

    Scottsdale Old Town© dreamstime

    Part of the Greater Phoenix Area, Scottsdale is home to a lovely Old Town that is full of fun things for you to see and do. As the city bills itself as ‘The West’s Most Western Town’, many of its shops and restaurants are cowboy themed with excellent art galleries and exquisite museums also dotted here and there.

    As the area dates back all the way to the 1920s, several interesting historic sights and beautiful old buildings can be found scattered around its streets. Most of its space, however, is taken up with either souvenir shops or Wild West-themed saloons and restaurants. In addition, a number of chic boutiques and swanky nightclubs are also on offer. Lively yet laidback, Scottsdale Old Town certainly has a lot going for it, and it is very popular with both locals and tourists alike.

    2. Musical Instrument Museum

    Musical Instrument Museum© dreamstime

    Set just twenty minutes’ drive to the north of the city center is the magnificent Musical Instrument Museum which is one of the biggest and best museums of its kind. It has lots of fascinating exhibits on the history and heritage of music to enjoy with its colossal collection remarkably including over 15,000 musical instruments from almost 200 countries and territories.

    Since opening in 2010, it has been a firm favorite among visitors to Phoenix, as its grand galleries are crammed with impressive instruments from around the globe. While wandering around the museum you can see and listen to everything from Chinese sanxians and Indian surbahars to Indonesian boat lutes and Nepalese phet banams. In addition to banging drums and gongs in its Experience Gallery, there are lots of photos, prints and performance outfits from around the world for you to peruse.

    1. Desert Botanical Garden

    Desert Botanical Garden© dreamstime

    One of the most popular, peaceful and picturesque places to visit in Phoenix is the delightful Desert Botanical Garden which lies at the north end of Papago Park. Now home to over 50,000 plants, the gorgeous garden has a plethora of pretty paths to explore which take you through lots of arid yet attractive desert landscapes and nature from around the world.

    Founded way back in 1939 to protect fragile desert ecosystems, the beautiful botanical garden has since grown in scope and now includes flowers, plants and shrubs from as far away as Australia and South America. With many wildflowers, cacti and interesting art installations on show, the Desert Botanical Garden is definitely well-worth checking out when in Phoenix.

  • The habitat of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary under major threat

    Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2021

    The habitat of Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary, Thattekad, Kerala, is currently facing a major challenge from grazing, fuel-wood collection and invasive species, as per the recent evaluation report.

    Human-wildlife conflict, particularly involving wild boar and birds, has developed a detrimental effect about the sanctuary among the local villagers. There are human habitations in almost one-third of the sanctuary, which alarm serious concerns to the management, as per the report prepared by the Union Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change and Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun.

    In this protected area, the pressure of tourism is high and it at times disturbs sensitive species like the Ceylon frogmouth.

    The report mentions that the presence of tourism infrastructure, like homestays, within the protected area has become a matter of concern.

    The bird sanctuary in the foothills of the Western Ghats is the home of a large number of mammalian, reptilian, amphibian, and fish species, including endemic ones. The wide array of 234 bird species was recorded in the sanctuary. The report evaluated the sanctuary as very good in regard to management effectiveness, with a score of 77.5%.

    Of the protected area, the panel suggested the ‘rationalisation of boundaries’ and wanted the ‘inclusion of private lands in the sanctuary’ to be reviewed.

    Adequate mechanisms shall be put in place to keep an eye on the rare and endangered species, as well as threatened ones and the special habitats and unique species at the sanctuary.

    Stringent steps shall be introduced to lessen human-wildlife conflicts. Availability of water in aquatic habitats shall be made sure for the wetland-dependent wildlife, the report suggested. Also, the panel called for technically sound anti-poaching, patrolling, and perambulation activities and their linkage with the GPS-based tracking system. The possibility of obtaining CSR funds shall be explored, it proposed.

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    Tags: Salim Ali Bird

  • To boost tourism, Chamoli is all set to permit angling

    Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2021

    Going a step further to give a major boost up to tourism, the authorities of Chamoli district in Uttarakhand have finally allowed angling at 32 locations in five rivers namely – Alaknanda, Nandakini, Nigole, Pindar and Ramganga.

    The consent for these locations is being issued to self-help groups along with Mahila Mangal Dal and other social organizations. This is permitted for an annual fee of Rs 5,000. The angling would be allowed only for “catch and free,” in which are permitted to catch the fish and at the same time has to release it in the river.

    Chamoli district in Uttarakhand is well-known for trout fish and the recent decision of the authority to permit angling is likely to pull greater number of tourists, as expressed by the officials.

    To quote Jagdamba Raj, the additional director of fishery department, told TOI, “Though the project was planned for 2020, it could not be executed due to Covid-19.”

    He emphasized the fact that last year, at Devlibaga, a month-long training camp for the youth was organized. Here, locals were imparted training on angling and informed them about the technical details.

    “Our aim is to help the locals find self-employment,” added the official.
    A committee comprising senior district officers would select the name of the permit holders through a lottery system.

    For foreign nationals, the rates for angling would be Rs. 2,200; Rs. 150 would be for the Indian tourists and Rs. 20 for the locals.

    “The angling will only be on a catch and free basis, where people will have to release the fish after catching it. If they want they can click photographs,” Raj said.

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    Tags: Chamoli, Uttarakhand

  • Finally, Seychelles opens its door for international visitors

    Published on : Saturday, January 23, 2021

    Ultimately, Seychelles has opened its doors for the visitors. The island nation is all prepared to welcome international visitors with open arms. However, this welcome is only those who are vaccinated.

    Visitors must produce themselves as ‘vaccinated’. This means that those who have taken both the doses of COVD-19 vaccine, and also can produce a negative report from a RT-PCR test done not more than 72 hours prior to the journey can enter the island.

    Seychelles will be reopening for tourism in a two-step approach, as per government orders. The island will allow those who have taken both the doses of vaccine and also carrying a COVID negative from a test done 72 hours prior to the journey, in the first phase of this move.

    In the second phase of this move which will start from mid-March, it is hoped that the government of Seychelles would have vaccinated a major section of its population by that time. It is anticipated that during this phase, unvaccinated visitors would probably be permitted to enter the island country with just a COVID-negative report from a test done 72 hours prior to the visit.

    According to Tourism Promotion Board statement, if they go by the current numbers, it is probably that by mid-March, 25 per cent of its population would be vaccinated when the second phase will be rolled out.

    Also, the statement has emphasized that Seychelles at present is opened to Indian visitors, who have not been vaccinated, but via private jet transfers only.

    Nonetheless, those arriving in Seychelles will have to adhere to the existing protocols related to health, such as maintaining adequate social distance, wearing face masks, which will remain unchanged all the time as per the travel advisory issued by the government. All tourism operators will have to follow the existing COVID-19 standard operating procedures and protocol as well.

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    Tags: international visitors, Seychelles