• Tourist footfalls return to Valley with Gulmarg hotels booked tillApril end

    Published on : Wednesday, February 24, 2021

    It seems times are changing and the good days are back again. Tourists are returning to the militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir. The Valley’s famed ski resort of Gulmarg is sold out, as all hotels are booked till the end of April.

    With heavy snowfall this year, the tourist resort of Gulmarg at an altitude of 8,000 feet has been a major attraction this winter and witnessed 100 per cent occupancy on Christmas and New Year eve.

    Mushtaq Shah, spokesman of Gulmarg Hoteliers Club, said all hotels are booked. “Over 900 hotel rooms including J&K Tourism Department huts in Gulmarg are booked till April-end. All classes of tourists including high-spending tourists and budget tourists are coming to Gulmarg,” he said.

    Gulmarg was always a four-season destination but in the last few years, it witnessed lesser footfall in the winters. According to Shah, after the Khelo India Winter Games in Gulmarg last year, the national skiers got first-hand information about the place and its beauty. “It sent a positive message and players and people realised that Gulmarg has got the infrastructure that is available in other parts of the world.” He said since people can’t visit foreign countries due to Covid-19, Indian travellers are coming to Gulmarg in bigger numbers.

    The second edition of Khelo India National Winter Games will be held in Gulmarg from February 26 to March 2 and hoteliers are hopeful it will be an additional boost for the tourism sector. “It sends a message that Kashmir is a safe tourist destination. And it had always been a cheaper option compared to other parts of the world,” said another hotelier.

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    Tags: Gulmarg, jammu and kashmir, Tourist footfalls return

  • Uzbekistan hoping to welcome international tourist after pandemic pause

    Published on : Monday, February 22, 2021

    Uzbekistan has forever depended on tourism and travel services for its economic growth. Nestled along the Silk road and with abundance of cultural heritage as well as historical monument, Uzbekistan experienced a constant surge in international tourist visit, but recently owing to pandemic and associated norms of lockdown and travel restriction, the tourism business suffered and so has the economy of the state. But now with the relaxation in travel regulations, the government is hopeful of the return of international tourists to the land of mystery and cultural heritage monuments.

    The country this week introduced a ten-day visa free regime for tourists from China including its special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao, as well as Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Oman starting from March 1. Travellers willing to enter the land should provide a return air ticket or ticket to a third country.

    Uzbekistan has also planned to open its largest gold-mining fields to foreign tourists, in a bid to develop geo-tourism in the resource-rich Central Asian nation. Kholida Ablaeva, a tour guide with 20 years of experience from the ancient city of Samarkand, has been waiting for the reopening of borders to allow foreign tourists to return to her hometown as they did before COVID-19.

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    Tags: Covid-19, international tourist, pandemic recovery, travel and tourism, Uzbekistan Tourism

  • Maldives recorded over 100,000 tourist arrivals in 2021

    Published on : Friday, February 19, 2021

    The Maldives has recorded over 100,000 tourist arrivals to the Indian Ocean destination in 2021, during the same month it has launched the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in the country.

    On 17 February 2021, a total of 147,744 tourist arrivals were recorded in the Maldives, and according to the Ministry of Tourism, 29,591 of these arrivals took place between 1 – 10 February. At present, the top source market for tourist arrivals is Russia, followed by India. Other top markets include France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Romania, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

    During the same month, on 1 February 2021, the Maldives commenced the administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed were two of the first to receive doses of vaccine, along with other government officials, and frontline workers. The vaccine was administered at a special ceremony held at the Malé Social Center, launching the COVID-19 vaccinations in the Maldives. Vaccines will initially be administered in Malé City, Addu City and Kulhudhuffushi.

    President Ibrahim Solih explained the government aims to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations to all citizens and residents of the Maldives in the coming months and emphasised the importance of individual responsibility and caution even during this time of renewed hope.

    As of 10 February 2021, 20,161 people have been vaccinated in the Maldives, with the process ongoing vigilantly. The Ministry of Tourism also launched an initiative to vaccinate workers in the tourism sector to create an even safer scenario for the industry. The Minister of Tourism, Dr Abdulla Mausoom, stated that vaccination arrangements will be made in resorts for the convenience of resort employees and added that vaccination teams will travel to bigger resorts in the coming months.

    The initiation of the vaccination drive aims to bring hope to the local population, as well as ensure the safety of holidaymakers in order to drive a surge in tourism to the destination, alongside the current health and safety measures already in place.

    Currently, there are over 140 resorts and over 330 guesthouses in operation in the Maldives, along with over 135 liveaboards and 11 hotels. There are 27 airlines connecting the Maldives to the rest of the world at this time. Whilst there is no mandatory quarantine for arrivals, all tourists are required to fill an online health declaration form within 24 hours prior to departure and submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test result, conducted a maximum of 96 hours prior to departure to the Maldives.

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    Tags: maldives, Tourism news

  • In and around Khajuraho, a new tourist circuit is being set up

    Published on : Monday, February 8, 2021

    In and around Khajuraho, a new tourist circuit is being set up. It will include Panna diamond mines, along with the ancient forts, adjacent to the region of this World Heritage Site.

    For this town, a master plan is being prepared, after Khajuraho was decided on by the Central government as one of the iconic tourist sites.

    The Indian Ministry of Tourism has recognized 17 sites in 12 clusters for development as ‘Iconic Tourism Sites’ including Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri, Ajanta and Ellora, Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar, Colva (Goa), Amer Fort, Somnath & Dholavira (Gujarat), Khajuraho, Hampi (Ka rnataka), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Kaziranga in Assam, Kumarakom in Kerala and Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar.

    While talking with the Times of India, the principal secretary tourism, Sheo Shekhar Shukla said, “In an overall development of the area, a tourist circuit comprising culture, nature and heritage will be showcased.”

    The wildlife in Panna national park and Nauradehi sanctuary, the diamond mines of Panna will be a part of this tourist circuit as well.

    To quote him, “The grandeur of Dhubela fort, Kalinjir and Ajaygath forts would be added to attract the tourists. In between, Orchha is already attracting lakhs of national and international tourists.”

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    Tags: Khajuraho