President Ram Nath Kovind on Wednesday said that the northeastern region is the natural gateway for India to southeast Asia and beyond.
Addressing the valedictory function of the week-long North East Festival here, he said that with over 5,300 km of international borders, the region has significant strategic value.
"With the launch of the Look East Policy, the security-centric approach towards neighbours in the east gave way to a prioritising of economic issues for benefiting from the common potential for economic growth across the region. In 2014, the LEP was upgraded to the Act East Policy which brought about a paradigm shift and marked a significant change in the potential role of the region," he said.
The North East Festival was organised by the Union Ministry of Development of North Easten Region as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
Kovind said that he was impressed by their spirit of "Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi"! The northeast region was second to none when it came to joining the struggle for freedom, he added.
The President said that when our nation won Independence, the northeastern region was vastly different from what it is today.
"Initially, this region had suffered hugely because of partition of India, as it found itself suddenly cut off from major centres of communications, education and trade and commerce such as Dhaka and Kolkata."
He noted that the only corridor connecting the northeast and the rest of the country was a narrow strip of land in the north West Bengal, making it challenging to support developmental initiatives in the region.
Stressing that the region has immense inherent strengths, the President said that what it offers in terms of tourism, horticulture, handloom and sports is often unique. He said that efforts are needed now to place the northeastern states on par with the industrially advanced states so that more jobs are created here.
Recognising this need, the government is working with the states to improve their Ease of Doing Business parameters and to facilitate the flow of private investments into the northeast, Kovind said.
The President said that this region is part of the Himalaya and Indo-Burma bio-diversity hotspots - the two of 25 such hotspots in the world.
Assam Governor Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal among others were present in the function, held at the Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has approved five Srinagar-Sharjah flights per week on a regular basis, officials said on Friday.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said that regular flight service between Srinagar and Sharjah will help boost trade and tourism in the region.
Pertinently, the direct air link between the Valley and the UAE was revived after 11 years in October last year, and the facility has immense potential to strengthen J&K's ties with the Gulf region, creating market linkages and enabling direct export of J&K's agriculture, horticulture and handicraft products.
The UT administration has taken several steps to ensure that air traffic to the Jammu and Srinagar airports grows unhindered in the future.
The Jammu airport recently achieved a milestone by recording the highest ever footfall of 1.54 lakh passengers in March on 1,346 flights.
Similarly, more than 5,85,653 tourists have visited the Kashmir Valley between January and April 27, which is five times more than last year's figures of 1.26 lakh during the same period.
The global tourism industry is expected to create almost 126 million jobs worldwide within 10 years, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) said in a report released on Thursday in the Philippine capital.
The WTTC's latest Economic Impact Report (EIR) says the travel and tourism sector will be a driving force of the global economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Xinhua news agency.
The report forecasts that the travel and tourism sector's GDP will grow at an average rate of 5.8 per cent annually between 2022 and 2032, outstripping the growth rate for the global economy, to reach $14.6 trillion, equivalent to 11.3 per cent of the total global economy.
WTTC President and CEO Julia Simpson said at the Global Tourism Summit in Manila that "one in three of every new job created will be related to the sector".
The report predicts that the travel and tourism sector across Asia and the Pacific region will rebound significantly and is estimated to create almost 77 million new jobs over the next decade.
At the same time, the sector's contribution to regional gross domestic product (GDP) is forecast to grow at an average annual rate of 8.5 per cent between 2022 and 2032, faster than the region's overall economic growth.
The report also shows that global travel and tourism GDP could reach pre-pandemic levels by 2023, just 0.1 per cent below 2019.
"This will be matched by a boost in travel and tourism employment, which is expected to approach 2019 levels in 2023, only 2.7 per cent below," Simpson added.
According to the WTTC, the global tourism sector started recovering in 2021 when its contribution to GDP climbed by 21.7 per cent year on year to reach more than $5.8 trillion.
The 1955 model Mercedes-Benz 180 T bearing the registration number CAN 42 has always been the pride of the erstwhile Travancore royal family, but very soon it will have a new owner in billionaire M.A. Yusuff Ali.
Sree Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma, the former Maharaja of Travancore who passed away in 2013, had promised Ali that this iconic vehicle, which was the envy of many including its manufacturer Mercedes Benz who had approached the royal family that it would be glad to take it and compensate them, but it was politely denied by the Maharaja.
The vehicle by now has covered a staggering 23 lakh miles and according to vehicle buffs and those who have seen it, "it's in mint condition" and is presently with the late Maharaja's son Padmanabha Varma and the Uthradom Thirunal Marthanda Varma Foundation.
Bought for a then princely sum of Rs 12,000, its present value according to those conversant with vehicles, is priceless. This car will now be parked by its new owner at a stone's throw from the Palace, where Ali has built a new home.
India is one of the few countries that has something to offer adventurers of all types. When it comes to adventure excursions in India, there's something for everyone, from the majestic Himalayas to the vast Thar desert, the Rann of Kutch, the seashore, and the islands of Andaman and Lakshadweep. Trekking, hang-gliding, bungee jumping, scuba diving, hot-air ballooning, white river rafting, and snow skiing are just a few of the exhilarating adventure activities available.
Adventure sports are becoming increasingly popular, and some locations have become hubs for these activities, earning them the title of county adventure destinations. If you want to feel thrilled, here is the list of the 8 best adventure sports places in India:
Bungy Jumping in Rishikesh and Goa
Rishikesh has become one of the best places to experience the bliss of weightlessness, with the highest bungy jumping platform, Jumpin Heights. That's your own official ticket to getting high - figuratively speaking! Enjoy this adventure sports with your companions while relaxing in the Ganges' clean water! You can experience bungy jumping with Jumpin Heights, which has a record of 1,00,000 jumps. Goa is also growing as one of the best places for bungy jumping in India. Here also you can plan your bungy jumping with Jumpin Heights.
Giant Swing in Rishikesh
Adapted from the Canyon swing in New Zealand, this is a once in a lifetime experience. The highest spot is in Rishikesh, from a height of 83 meters, where one is fitted with a chest and seat harness. Due to the different processes of the Jump from the Bungy, the Giant Swing in India allows you to enjoy double the freefall of the Bungy, with considerably more speed, and almost as much fear.
River Rafting in Uttarakhand
India's most exciting adventure destination is Uttarakhand's valleys. The tremendous Himalayas of Garhwal are one of the state's many adventure attractions. The Tons River runs through Garhwal, making it the greatest place to go river rafting. The Tons valley is located in the Jaunsar Bawar region, and the river gives numerous rafting opportunities.
Trekking in Sikkim
Sikkim attracts hillside lovers from all around the world, particularly trekkers, thanks to Mount Kanchenjunga, the world's third-highest peak. Most trekkers prefer solo hiking in Sikkim because it allows them to relax and enjoy the scenery. There are numerous treks in Sikkim to choose from, but Damthang to Tendong, Darap Village, Hillay to Varsey, and Ravangla to Maenam Hill Top are among the most popular short treks in the state.
Skiing in Gulmarg
Gulmarg skiing is suitable for both beginners and experienced skiers. Gulmarg's snow-covered hills and terrains are breathtaking. Consider Gulmarg as one of the top adventure destinations in India, with classes for amateurs and equipment available for everyone. Prepare to have the time of your life on this trip!
Caving in Meghalaya
Meghalaya, known as the "Land of Clouds," is always on the minds of travellers for a reason. 'Caving,' which means 'exploring the wild cave systems,' may or may not be a new phrase for you. This 5- to 10-day caving experience in Meghalaya takes you through those caverns available, ranging in difficulty from easy to medium. You'll need someone to help you with caving gear and equipment. In addition, he will give a professional tour guide to assist you in navigating the caves.
Waterfalls, narrow corridors, flooded passages, and species such as small fish, crabs, beetles, and bats can all be found depending on the cave you're in. The longest cave in Meghalaya, and also one of the longest in the world, is Krem Liat Prah.
Waterfall Rappelling in Shillong
Shillong, with several adventure sports, deserves to be considered one of India's greatest adventure destinations. And going water rafting at Elephant Falls in Shillong is a fantastic way to spend your weekend and clear your thoughts. This activity, which is among the most popular things to do in Shillong with friends in the winter, cannot be overlooked. The rappelling begins at the bottom of the 40-foot fall and goes all the way to the top.
Adventure awaits! So, what exactly are you looking for? Choose from one of India's top adventure sports destinations, and live your life. These exciting activities in India will stimulate your interest and fulfil all of your trip fantasies. So, be brave and try these things to sate your wanderlust!
Glee Kashmir, a brand that aims to provide digital space to kashmiri manufacturers and exporters without aiming for profit as business in snow falls down in the area and shops are closed for days.
The idea of Glee Kashmir popped to Ms Prashanti Tiwari who was on travel trip to Kashmir and in interaction to various business people witnessed the challenge of sale during tough times.
The brand focuses on lifestyle products such as precious, semi-precious gem stones, kahmiri traditional and modern jewellery, phiran, woolen cap, blazer, leather socks, fur bags , stole, saffron cream and scrub, wooden tray of deodar wood, jewellery box and dry fruits from the valley of kashmir.
You can have a look at the Instagram handle: @gleekashmir
The Nautilus Maldives, a highly tailored bohemian hideaway and private island resort, has collaborated with Ananda in The Himalayas, one of India's top ranked destination spa and wellness retreat, to create a first-of-its-kind wellbeing experience that is customised, opulent, and genuinely one-of-a-kind.
This collaboration, will offer the finest of both worlds: the confluence of the beautiful Himalayas and the broad Indian Ocean, where the luxury of space and time becomes boundless. Two locations where you may re-energize, revitalise, and experience nature at its finest.
Ananda is known for its traditional ayurveda, yoga, meditation, and Vedanta with transformational wellness programmes led by notable specialists in these fields, and is set in the serene Himalayan foothills.
Yoga at Hawa Mahal and Meditation
Set against the stunning background of the Baa Atoll in the Maldives, the Nautilus is known as the most personalised private island experience, and its "anytime, anywhere, as you please" style of hospitality invites guests to come as they are.
. As part of the daily schedule at the Solasta Spa overwater yoga pavilion, guests at The Nautilus will be able to experience signature Ananda Meditation and Breathwork practises as part of the hotel's extensive spa offerings. The Ananda Dhyana meditation and breathwork series is specifically designed for guests at The Nautilus to recharge themselves by improving clarity of thought and achieving a heightened sense of balance.
. From January to March 2022, guests at The Nautilus will be able to sample a selection of signature Ananda gourmet wellness cuisine as part of The Nautilus' culinary offerings. Ananda's signature wellness cuisine incorporates key Ayurvedic principles, such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products, and the avoidance of added or artificial salts, colours, flavours, or preservatives.
. At the same time, Ananda guests can enjoy signature dishes from The Nautilus' three gourmet restaurants: Zeytoun, which focuses on intriguing infusions of Mediterranean and Arabic cuisine; Ocaso, which celebrates simplicity with Japanese and Latin-American creations; and Thyme, which specialises in island-inspired tropical cuisine.
. In addition, a one-of-a-kind multi-day Ananda Wellness Retreat at The Nautilus is already planned for April 2022. From April 7 to 11, 2022, Ananda experts will be in residence at The Nautilus, conducting daily classes, workshops, and guided sessions in yoga, meditation, and presenting Ananda's gourmet wellness cuisine.
A dish served at Zeytoun at The Nautilus
"With recent events and changed life circumstances, our guests' health awareness and sustainable lifestyle are becoming increasingly important." As a result, we are delighted to have found such a strong partner in the field of holistic wellbeing and to further enhance our guests' wellness journey with Ananda's strong expertise," says Mohamed Ashraf, General Manager of The Nautilus Maldives.
"The Ananda concept is a journey to discover one's inner self, aided by ancient wellness practises and retreats to places of solace where tranquil nature and nurturing care create long-lasting transformations." The combination of Ananda's wellness expertise and bespoke luxury from The Nautilus across two magical destinations presents a one-of-a-kind and immersive opportunity for our global patrons," says Mahesh Natarajan, Chief Operating Officer, Ananda in the Himalayas.
After selecting a new buyer for Air India, the Central government has accelerated the process of handing out luxury hotels belonging to the ITDC on a long-term lease of around 40 to 60 years, industry insiders said.
The details of the plan have been kept under the wraps even as an inter-ministerial panel has completed the consultation process on the issue. As per industry sources, a draft note has been circulated on the matter and the likely lessee will be selected soon based on a bidding process.
However, it is not known if all the Ashok Group of Hotels which are 100 per cent owned by the India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) will be leased via a single bidding process.
At present, ITDC has a network of three Ashok Group of Hotels and one joint venture hotel, amongst other properties. Nevertheless, it is certain, said industry insiders, that The Ashok, New Delhi will be the first one off the blocks. The hotel is amongst assets of the ITDC which are slated to be leased-out under the National Monetisation Pipeline.
It is widely speculated that the new lessee will be allowed to convert a part of the property by introducing service apartments as well as a new and enlarged retail space amongst other facilities.
A landmark property, The Ashok is spread over a 25-acre area next to the diplomatic enclave of Chanakyapuri in Lutyens' Delhi. It was Prime Minister Jawarahlal Nehru, who ordered the construction of the hotel to host a UNESCO conference in 1956.
Interestingly, several royals of erstwhile princely states at that time played a part in the development of the project with land donations coming from Prince Regent of Jammu and Kashmir, Karan Singh amongst others.
Heathrow airport has warned that air travel may not recover to pre-Covid levels until 2026 despite improving passenger numbers in the past three months, as it reported that losses since the start of the pandemic have reached £3.4bn, The Guardian reported.
The airport said international travel could be "on the cusp of a recovery" but it faced a "long road ahead", the report said.
Heathrow reported its first quarter of passenger growth since the start of the pandemic as the loosening of restrictions begins to unleash pent-up demand.
Heathrow reported a loss of just over £1bn for the nine months to the end of September, compared with a loss of £786m in the same months last year. The company warned in its results announcement that traffic may not recover fully for up to five years, the report added.
John Holland-Kaye, the Heathrow chief executive, said the UK was "on the cusp of a recovery which will unleash pent-up demand, create new quality jobs and see Britain's trade roar back to life... But it risks a hard landing unless secured for the long haul."
Passenger numbers in the three months to the end of September recovered to 28 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, while cargo climbed to 90 per cent of its levels in the equivalent period in 2019.
Despite the increase in recent months, Heathrow's losses have grown over the year as a whole. Passenger numbers for the first nine months reached 10.2 million, compared with 19 million for the same period last year, the report said.
Ayodhya, Aug 22 (IANS) Ayodhya, which is all set to be catapulted onto the world tourist map, will soon have a high-speed train between Delhi and Ayodhya.
The superfast train will cut the travel time to just three hours between Delhi and the holy city.
Anoop Kumar Agarwal, executive director of National High-Speed Rail Corporation, visited Ayodhya last week to finalise the site for the railway station.
He said that there is a "plan to directly connect the city of Lord Ram with the national capital".
An aerial survey has been done and the plan has also been approved by the Centre.
A 130km railway track will be laid connecting Ayodhya to Lucknow, which will be part of the 941.5km high-speed railway corridor linking Delhi to Varanasi via Agra-Lucknow-Allahabad. A portion of the high-speed train railway corridor may go underground in Lucknow and Agra, the official said.
"National High-Speed Rail Corporation will begin work as soon as we receive a no-objection certificate from the AAI. It will take seven years for completion of the project," he added.
Guwahati/Itanagar, Aug 19 (IANS) With private airline Flybig launching its operations on the new route connecting Assam's Guwahati with Arunachal Pradeshs Tezu on Thursday, air connectivity powered by the Regional Connectivity Scheme -- UDAN -- expanded further in the hilly northeastern region, officials said.
According to Airport Authority of India (AAI) officials, Flybig on Thursday started direct flight services from Guwahati's Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport to Tezu in eastern Arunachal Pradesh's Lohit district.
A water cannon salute was accorded to the first flight at the newly developed Tezu airport, where a new terminal building spread across an area measuring 4,200 sq mt, a runway, and a new Air Traffic Control tower is being developed at a cost of Rs 140 crore.
India's scheduled commuter airline Flybig operates flights to Indore, Bhopal, Raipur, Kolkata, and five airports in northeast India -- Guwahati, Rupsi, Dibrugrah, Pasighat and Agartala -- along with the newly-added Tezu. It also offers charter services from Delhi to Shillong.
Thursday's flagging off function was attended by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu, the state's Aviation and Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo, and AAI's Regional Executive Director Ravi Kant, among others.
Ravi Kant said that the AAI has always been pivotal in connecting the remote and small places through air transportation, and the expansion of air connectivity in the northeastern states would boost tourism and trade in the region.
The ATR-72 type aircraft of the FlyBig would operate on the Guwahati-Tezu-Guwahati route every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.
A FlyBig statement said that commemorating India's 75th Independence Day, the airline is offering a special fare of Rs 75 for Army officers, their immediate family members and senior citizens, honouring their exemplary service to the nation.
"In order to reinforce its network, the airline is adding two new aircraft to its fleet in September and another two in October. The new planes would be stationed at Guwahati and Indore hub," the statement said.
An AAI official said that the RCS-UDAN scheme would offer flight fares lower than the normal rates.
The scheme was launched by the Union Civil Aviation Ministry in October 2016 to stimulate regional air connectivity and make air travel affordable to the common people.
Currently, there are 15 airports in the northeast region -- Guwahati, Silchar, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Tezpur, Lilalabari and Rupsi (Assam), Tezu and Pasighat (Arunachal Pradesh), Agartala (Tripura), Imphal (Manipur), Shillong (Meghalaya), Dimapur (Nagaland), Lengpui (Mizoram) and Pakyong (Sikkim).
The AAI at a cost of Rs 650 crore is also developing the Hollongi airport near Arunachal capital Itanagar, to boost air connectivity in the mountainous areas.