Whereabouts | Travel News

Assam launches draft tourism policy ‘Awesome Assam’

New Delhi August 5, 2016: The state is set to take a big leap into the money-spinning world of tourism. It has come up with a draft tourism policy which includes 'Awesome Assam', a campaign to boost tourism in all sectors wildlife, spirituality, tea, golf, adventure, leisure, monsoon, film, and so on.

The policy proposes the creation of a framework to transform tourism into a major economic sector of the state and increase tourist inflow two to three folds in the next five years. In 2014, around 4,50,000 domestic and 20,000 foreign tourists visited the state.

With an eye on the vast market in Southeast Asia, the draft proposes full utilization of the opportunities for tourism expansion opened up by the Trans-Asian Highway, via Myanmar and Thailand, to Singapore, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. This will 'open the floodgates for tourists from these countries'. As per the proposed policy 'a direct flight on the Tokyo-Seoul-Beijing-Guwahati route will bring loads of tourists from Japan, South Korea and China.

To promote film tourism, the draft proposes financial grants for Bollywood directors to the tune of Rs one crore per film if more than 50 percent of it is shot in the state. If the film is based on Assam's culture, with tourism and heritage as its central themes, an additional Rs 25 lakh will be given. Another Rs 10 lakh will be granted if the post-production work is also done in the state.

Kerala focuses on new initiatives for tourism

New Delhi July 28th, 2016: The Government of Kerala has rolled out several initiatives with the aim to further boost the State’s tourism equity said Nandakumar K P, Deputy Director, Kerala Tourism. He was speaking at the outset of Tradeshow organised for travel agents and tour operators in New Delhi recently.

Foreign tourist arrivals in Kerala during the year 2015 was 9, 77,479 an increase of 5.86 percent over the previous year’s figure of 9, 23,366. Domestic tourist footfalls during the same period was 1, 24, 65,571 recorded an increase of 6.59 percent over the previous year’s figure 1, 16, 95,411. Foreign exchange earnings for the year 2015 were Rs. 6,949.88 Crores, registering an increase of 8.61 percent over the previous year. Total tourism revenue (direct and indirect) during 2015 was Rs. 26,689.63 Crores, showing an increase of 7.25 percent over the previous year’s figure.

Kerala Tourism is focusing on the new initiatives taken by the department for more growth. Here are some of the recent (and planned) initiatives. Deputy Director of Kerala Tourism Nandakumar K P elaborated more on this.

Project Muziris: This was rolled out last year in order to enhance the travel experience and add to Kerala’s array of attractions. The project is intentioned to reinstate the historical and cultural significance of the legendary port of Muziris, situated in central Kerala. “Project Muziris constitutes a series of 27 museums spread across the heritage region, between them showcasing maritime trade, lifestyle, barter system and handicrafts. Some of these museums are interactive in nature,” added Nandakumar.

Spice Route: Another amazing initiative in the offing is the Spice Route Revival Project. The historic Spice Route linked the south western coast of India with Europe. Kerala's initiative to revive and promote the two-millennia-old spice route through tourism has received a boost with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) pledging support to the venture.

Kochi Muziris Biennale: Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi. Indian and international artists exhibit their work across a variety of mediums including film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art. Through the celebration of contemporary art from around the world, The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the historic cosmopolitan legacy of the modern metropolis of Kochi and its glorious predecessor, the ancient port of Muziris. This year’s exhibition begins on December 12, 2016 and continues until March 29, 2017.

ECO-Adventure: Kerala Tourism will be launching a unique nature-based adventure holidays programme  ECO-Adventure. The objective is to use key tourism genres – Wildlife, Hill Stations, Beaches, Backwaters, etc. and leverage the adventure activity possibilities they offer. The ‘activities’ canvas would extend to Trekking, Camping, Rock Climbing, Jungle/ Wildlife Safaris, Bird Watching, Cycling, Kayaking, Canoeing and Paragliding.

New Brand Campaign: With tourists always looking for something new, a sound strategy going forward is to promote the State’s lesser-explored and virgin destinations. Accordingly, a new brand campaign has been developed and will soon be launched under the aegis of Kerala Tourism. Promoting the unseen experience of God’s Own Country, the trans-media campaign primarily targets high-potential markets such as Europe, Asia, Middle East, North and North East of India.

Karnataka Tourism appoints Tourist Guides and Tourist Mitra

Bengaluru, June 20th 2016: The Department of Tourism, Government of Karnataka, issued Guide Licence and ID cards to new ‘Tourist Guides’. The new ‘Tourist Guides’, who have completed the Comprehensive Guide Training programme at various universities, will be available at various tourist destinations in the state to provide information to tourists. They play a very important role in promoting the destination and thereby, act as the ambassadors of the state and country.

The Department of Tourism tied up with five universities across the state to provide comprehensive guide training programme. The 111 students completed the training programme successfully and were handed over the guide licence and ID card on the occasion.

Under this training programme the selected candidates are taught about tourist places, with good communication skill and friendly behaviour. Apart from history of the places, students are also trained in soft skills and any one foreign language like French, Russian and German for seamless communication with respective foreign tourists.


On the occasion, the second and third batches of ‘Tourist Mitra’, consisting of 298 home guards were also inducted. 84 female Tourist Mitras were part of this induction ceremony. In the second batch a total of 174 Home Guards out of which 66 female home guards were trained and in the third batch 123 home guards out of which 18 female home guards were trained under this programme.

‘Tourist Mitra’ is a programme by the Department of Tourism and the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) along with the Home Department, Government of Karnataka. The first batch of 174 ‘Tourist Mitras’, covering 13 districts were deputed in November 2015 at selected tourist destinations; a total of 472 tourist friendly home guards are deputed to provide proper safety and security to the visiting tourists.
The 174 Tourist Mitras trained in the second phase are deployed in the following 12 districts: Belagavi, Kalburgi, Koppal, Dharwad, Chamrajnagar, Gadag, Chikkaballapura, Kolar, Tumkur, Davanagere, Ramanagar and Chickmagalur. The third batch of Tourist Mitras will be deployed in the remaining 5 districts.

Dr Venu V is the new Tourism Secretary in Kerala

New Delhi May 30, 2016: Dr Venu V, IAS has been appointed as the Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism Government of Kerala. A Kerala cadre IAS, Dr Venu was Tourism Secretary in the State between 2006 and 2011. By bringing back an expert officer in the department, the new government has made its intention for tourism in the State clear. The election manifesto of the Left Front has unequivocally stated its target to double tourist numbers in the next five years. Known for his progressive ideas, Dr Venu was behind the Kerala Tourism’s popular Rural and Responsible Tourism initiatives, which received global acclaim in recent times.

U V Jose takes over as the Director of Kerala Tourism

New Delhi May 26, 2016: U. V. Jose is a Civil Engineer with MBA and a Master’s Degree in Regional Planning from the School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi and has done the Executive Development Institute in Tourism (EDIT) course at the University of Hawaii, USA.

He also holds the additional charge of the Director of Department of Social Justice, Kerala. Prior to this he was serving as District Collector of Kottayam. He has also served as the Director of Kerala Institute of Tourism & Travel Studies, Director of Grand Kerala Shopping Festival and Director of Kerala State Urban Development project.

He has over 15 years of experience in tourism planning and development and has led the Planning and Development Division of the Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala for about 10 years as Planning officer and Additional Director (Planning and Projects). Through innovative development strategies he has contributed significantly in positioning Kerala as a leading tourist destination in the country.

He has been one of the major forces behind the conceptualisation and implementation of Rural Tourism and Responsible Tourism initiatives in Kerala and framing the new tourism policy for the state. Jose was one of the panelists for two panel discussions in the World Responsible Day Celebration held at London on 8th November 2011 on ‘Role of Government in Making Tourism More Sustainable’ and ‘Making Destinations More Sustainable’.

Another feather in his cap was the phenomenal success of the novel venture, Suchitwa Kottayam (Clean Kottayam) that he launched during his tenure as the Kottayam Collector. This programme was widely received as it was the first of its kind that witnessed widespread public participation. The initiative addressed the biggest issue Kottayam faced at the time by dealing with waste management at all levels.

Goa’s Old Central Jail Aguada, set to be a tourist attraction soon

New Delhi May 20, 2016: Central Jail Aguada, Goa’s erstwhile and largest prison, whose cells stand on the site that once formed the square-shaped citadel of the hilltop Fort Aguada, is all set for a major transformation. Since May 30, 2015, this prison no longer houses inmates who have now been shifted to the new jail at Colvale.

Nonetheless Central Jail, Aguada, will not stand forgotten as it will soon join Dhagshai Jail, Himachal Pradesh and the Cellular Jail, Andaman’s as a Jail Museum. While Dhagshai Jail, Himachal Pradesh and the Cellular Jail, Andaman’s are dated back to the British era, the Central Jail, Aguada dates to the Portuguese rule.

The Goa Tourism Development Corporation’s mega project to convert the old Central Jail, Aguada into a Museum is taking solid ground and the spade work has already begun. The Corporation has involved both the Goa Heritage Action Group (GHAG) and Goa’s freedom fighters in this project as the Aguada Jail Museum project intends reviving and restoring history, heritage and will encompass it all as an attractive location for tourists visiting Goa.

A joint meeting and site inspection was carried out on April 28 and May 7 respectively, where project plans were placed across the table and GTDC solicited views and suggestions from GHAG and the freedom fighters. GHAG’s Prajal Sakhardande and Jack Sukhija , while freedom fighters Nagesh Karmali and Libia Lobo Sardesai made valuable suggestions during the interactions with GTDC officials and the team of engineers and consultants.

The Master Plan for developing Aguada Jail at Sinquerim into a tourist destination includes creating activity zones, viewing galleries, amenity zones, tourist information centers, improvement of temple and chapel areas, improving the prison cells, prison corridors, walls, pathways, seating, water fountains, illumination of the jail campus, café, improvement of the aquifier duct area and a lot more.

Nilesh Cabral, Chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation said, “The old Central Jail at Aguada, Sinquerim is very well known not only as a prison but for its history and heritage. Now a vacant structure, GTDC has requested the government to make it a tourist spot and the Corporation has started working on a project that will preserve the heritage structure and showcase Goa’s freedom struggle and be a true tribute to the heroic deeds and glorious sacrifices of all those who took part in Goa’s Liberation.”

Andhra Pradesh eyes Rs. 20,000 Cr investments in tourism

WH Desk

New Delhi, April 5, 2016: The sunrise state of Andhra Pradesh, offering a plethora of enchanting yet unexplored tourist destinations, in its efforts to fuel the engine of growth in the tourism sector eyes investments worth Rs. 20,000 Cr by 2029.
The state has set a target of Rs. 10, 000 Cr investments by 2020. A shelf of district and theme based projects worth Rs. 36,000 have already been prepared and initiated. The year 2015-16 witnessed the tourism sector track investments worth Rs.12, 000 crores from approximately 160 projects generating an employment potential of about 35,000. Projects worth Rs.1, 500 crores have already been grounded. This momentum in investments is further going to pick up in the year 2016-17. In year 2015, the State has seen a jump in the tourist footfalls to the tune of 30%, increasing from 93 million in 2014 to 122 million in 2015.

In a bid to match investor expectations with the state’s resoluteness of intent, the Government of Andhra Pradesh in its award winning Andhra Pradesh Tourism Policy 2015-20 has announced an array of incentives to investors for taking up tourism infrastructure projects and services such as a fixed land rental of 2 percent of basic market value for investors, reduction in VAT slabs to 5 percent for hotels and resorts, and a 3 year tax holiday on luxury and entertainment tax among others. The state also beholds investment opportunities for tour operations and travel agencies to further augment tourist inflow to the state.

“I strongly believe that Andhra Pradesh’s tourism sector has a lot of potential for investments and I am confident that it will emerge as one of the biggest growth engines, driving our state's economy. The State will extend Red Carpet++ Model for investors,” said Y. S. Chowdary Union Minister of State, Science and Technology & Earth Sciences while commenting on the tourism potential of the state.

Speaking on the same lines, Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Principal Secretary to Government, Tourism & Culture said, “The state is working towards creating 6 tourist hubs – Visakhapatnam; Rajahmundry-Konaseema-Kakinada; Vijayawada-Amaravati; Tirupati; Ananthapuramu-Puttaparthi and Srisailam.” “With an investment of Rs. 12,000 crores already tracked, development of a sturdy tourism infrastructure is what will give further fillip to the sector.” he further added.

Among its various other plans to give an impetus to tourism in the state, the government is providing best tourism packages with option of multi-modal transportation for a tourist and is setting up an Indian Culinary Institute at Tirupati in addition to Hospitality Management Institute at Tirupati and Kakinada. To promote MICE tourism in the state, the government plans to develop Mega Convention Centres in Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Vijayawada.

The government has also taken several progressive steps towards creating world class infrastructure such as further augmenting the rail and road network, adding more national highways etc. along with a 1,000 km long beach corridor.
Andhra Pradesh has very recently laid the foundation for Amaravati – its futuristic capital. Amaravati will be integrated through an extensive network of ports, roads, airports and inland waterways aimed at turning the state into a well-connected economic hub. The city is poised as an attractive hospitality investment destination and given the average inventory of branded rooms by other well-developed state capitals, Amaravati has the potential to emerge as an attractive tourist and hospitality destination in the near future.

Blessed with a long coastline of 974 km and 35,000 sq. km of forests with tiger reserves, wildlife and bird sanctuaries, hill stations etc., Andhra Pradesh has huge tourism potential for investors’ right from setting up of aqua based theme parks, amusement parks, cruises to eco-tourism and leisure tourism. While the state intends to unlock further value from Temple tourism creation of a Buddhist Circuit is another budding avenue being pursued which is expected to attract both domestic and international tourists alike.
Presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals makes a strong pitch for medical tourism. The government has also given fillip to various rural tourism schemes with an aim to showcase the rural core competence in art, craft, handloom, textiles and the natural environment.

Kerala's Muziris Heritage Project wins PATA accolade

Kerala Tourism bagged this year’s Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Awards for its Muziris Heritage Project in the 'Heritage & Culture’ category. The award, sponsored by the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), was bestowed on the Muziris Heritage Project for its conservational aspect, uniqueness and impact on local community. The awards will be presented on September 8 at PATA Travel Mart at Bangalore. "This award is recognition of the Muziris project, aimed at restoring the historical and cultural significance of the ancient town that stretches across North Paravur in Ernakulam to Kodungalloor in Thrissur. The flagship project of government of Kerala is one of the biggest heritage conservation projects of modern India,” informed A P Anilkumar, Minster for Tourism, Kerala.

Heritage Arc

Uttar Pradesh has nurtured human thoughts and human endeavor in equal measures through the ages. With rich mythological origins the centuries behind us have shaped this land defining what we know as 'The Heritage Arc'. 'The Heritage Arc' runs across the heart of Uttar Pradesh, covering three very distinct regions Agra, Lucknow and Varanasi. The Heritage Arc effortlessly traverses great epochs of Indian history, heritage, art, culture, myriad cuisine and spiritual traditions.

UP Tourism takes a gigantic steps, announces UPTM 2015

UP Travel Mart to woo top foreign tour operators and Indian sellers UPTM To be held in Lucknow on February 22-24 next year. O P Singh, Minister of Tourism, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, formally launched the Uttar Pradesh Travel Mart (UPTM) 2015 to be held in Lucknow from February 22-24, 2015.

The maiden edition of UPTM is being organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in partnership with Government of Uttar Pradesh to promote tourism in a substantial way for the State of Uttar Pradesh.

The inaugural will be held on February 22, 2015 and the Exhibition and B2B meetings will be held on February 23- 24, 2015 at the Indira Gandhi Pratishthan, Gomti Nagar, Lucknow

GTDC launches Clean Goa Beautiful Goa' campaign

Goa Tourism has taken up the task of cleaning the beaches through manual means to have clean and hygienic beaches which will help improve tourism potential in the state.

The contract began taking shape early this month and today Goa’s Honorable Chief Minister; Manohar Parrikar launched Goa Tourism’s ‘Clean Goa Beautiful Goa’ campaign on Miramar Beach, Panjim, Goa in the presence of Minister of Tourism, Dilip Parulekar; Principal Secretary, Tourism, Government of Goa, R. K Srivastava IAS; Chairman, GTDC, Nilesh Cabral and Director, Department of Tourism, Ameya Abhyankar IAS.

Speaking on the occasion, ManoharParrikar, Chief Minister, Goa  said, “The contractors will have to ensure performance and successfully comply with all the terms specified in the contract. Quarterly meetings will be held and the contractors’ performance will be reviewed based on the reports submitted by them. We want to make Goa a garbage free State and request the participation of every citizen to make this successful.”