Visa on arrival for India - New Delhi: India intends to extend visa on arrival facility to #tourists from 40 more countries, including the US, the UK, Canada, Brazil, Australia, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, a move which will make the country a more tourist friendly destination and promote foreign exchange earnings.
The Planning Commission has called a high-level meeting of different ministries and National Security Advisor on Monday to deliberate on the feasibility of the move.
"We have called a meeting on October 7 to discuss the possibility of extending tourist visa for 40 more countries as this could help in garnering more foreign exchange and containing the current account deficit," Planning Minister Rajeev Shukla told PTI.
The current account deficit is the difference between inflow and outflow of foreign exchange. During 2012-13, the CAD was at all-time high of 4.8 per cent of GDP or USD 88.2 billion. Government proposes to bring it down to USD 70 billion or 3.8 per cent of the GDP.
According to the Minster, Commission's Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and senior officials from concerned ministries like tourism, external affairs, home affairs are expected to attend the meeting. National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon will also participate in the discussions.
Mr Shukla said, "#TourismMinistry has raised the issue of #touristvisa regime as impediment in the growth of #foreignvisitors in the country which ultimately results in lesser foreign exchange earnings."
According to the minister, India's visa regime has deflected foreign tourists from the US, Canada and Europe to Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal.
The other countries for which this facility can be extended include Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Poland, Norway, Ireland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Israel, Mauritius, Czech Republic, Oman, Argentina and Kazakhstan.
In 2012, India received 6.58 million #foreigntourists, up 4.3 per cent over the previous year. India's foreign exchange earnings in 2012 from tourists were USD 17.74 billion, showing an increase of 7.1 per cent year on year.
India's share in the #internationaltourist receipts in the year 2012 was 0.64 per cent with overall ranking of 41. The country's share in international receipts in the year 2012 was 1.65 per cent with overall rank of 16.
#Foreignexchange earning from #tourism during January to August 2013 were USD 12.025 billion with a growth of 6.7 per cent, as compared to USD 11.273 billion year on year.
Under the #visaonarrival system, #India has agreement with different countries, including #Japan, #Finland, #Singapore, #Indonesia, #Luxembourg, #NewZealand, #Cambodia, #Vietnam, #Philippines, #Laos and #Myanmar.
#NewZealander #Hillary and his Nepali guide #Tenzing made it to the 29,035-foot (#8,850-metre) summit of the world's #highest #mountain on May 29, 1953 as part of a British expedition, which put Nepal on the map as a #destination for #adventuretourism.
A government panel has recommended that two unnamed mountains be called #HillaryPeak and #TenzingPeak, said Ang Tshering Sherpa, a former president of the #NepalMountaineeringAssociation.
"This is to honour their contribution to mountaineering in #Nepal," Sherpa, who headed the panel, told Reuters.
The two peaks – Hillary's at 25,200ft and Tenzing's at 25,971ft – have never been climbed and are expected to be opened to foreigners in the spring season that starts in March, he said.
Officials hope the peaks will attract more climbers and help boost tourism in Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 #highestmountains. #Tourism now accounts for about 4 per cent of the country's economy and employs thousands of people.
Hillary died in 2008 at age 88 and Tenzing died in 1986 at age 72. Climbers in their time lacked the specialised equipment taken for granted today and the heavy oxygen tanks the two men carried made mountaineering more challenging than it is now.
About 4,000 #climbers have made it to the summit of Everest since 1953, among them an 80-year-old Japanese man, an American teenager and a blind person. Two Nepali sherpas have reached the top a record 21 times each.
But harsh weather, avalanches and treacherous terrain are constant dangers. More than 240 climbers have died on both sides of #Everest, which can also be scaled from China.
A small airport Hillary built in the 1960s at Lukla, the gateway to Everest, has already been named after him and Tenzing. The remote airstrip clings to a hillside, several days' walk from the base camp, and is described by mountaineers as a thrilling kick-off to an attempt on the mountain's south face.
Besides conservation work, Hillary helped build schools, hospitals, water supply schemes and trails in the Everest region that is home to the ethnic sherpas without whose help climbers would find it difficult to make it to the top.
Two peaks in west Nepal could be named after famed French climbers #MauriceHerzog and #LouisLachenal, said Sherpa. In 1950, #Herzog and #Lachenal became the first to reach the summit of a 26,246-ft peak – Mount #Annapurna.
About 165 peaks of up to 26,245ft are likely to be opened to climbers from next year, Sherpa said.
Just 326 of the more than 1,300 peaks in Nepal are now open to foreign climbers. The fees they pay are a major source of income for the cash-strapped government. #adventuretravel #nepaltourism #mounteverest
#AirAsia India, which was planning to launch its operations by October-November this year, will not start before January 2014. The new rules implemented by #DGCA in August stipulate that #airlines have to apply for permit at least 90 days before launch. Moreover, the regulator has to evaluate and inspect documents and hold five review meetings with the applicant within the 90-day period, the report added. Furthermore, obtaining the operating license might get delayed further due to a delay in its security clearance. #airlinesnews #airlinesindia
As per the Ministry of Tourism of India - #Visa on Arrival (#VoA) scheme registered a 22.6% growth in July 2013 (with 1154 visas being issued) over July 2012. Similar growth was registered during June (22.9%), May (37%), April (23.5%), March (63%), February (54.6%) over the same months in 2012. #ministryoftourism #india #tourism #indiatourism
The government has decided to operate, manage and develop 20 airports across the country, including Chennai and Kolkata, through public-private partnerships (PPP).
While Requests for Qualification (RFQs) for Chennai and Lucknow have already been issued, RFQs for Kolkata, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Guwahati are in the process and will be out this week, aviation minister Ajit Singh said addressing the state aviation ministers conference here on Tuesday.
Aviation ministry officials said 100 towns and cities had been identified for creating "basic airport infrastructure", with work to start soon in 20 of them.
Singh also appealed to state governments to slash value added tax (VAT) on jet fuel to 4%. Currently, VAT on jet fuel ranges from 4% to 30% and constitutes almost upto half of an airline's operating costs. #airport #tourism #travel
A star treatment for tourists, in Gujarat:
#AmitabhBachchan, #NarendraModi have successfully sold the story of the State as a tourism destination.
SPOTLIGHT ON CULTURE
Not just people from other States but even Gujaratis were, for the first time, realising the history and heritage of Gujarat. His ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ campaign has grown #tourism in the State by 14 per cent — double the national average. Between 2010-11 and 2012-13, the State Government’s tourism budget also increased from Rs 183 crore to Rs 340 crore, mainly to create better infrastructure and promote various initiatives.
LUXURY ON WHEELS
On the lines of the famous #PalaceonWheels, a #luxurytrain called the Royal Orient Train, launched in 1994-95 as a joint venture between Indian Railways and Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Ltd (TCGL), has been a major attraction between Gujarat and Rajasthan.
TCGL has created eight tourist hubs equipped with modern infrastructure, facilities and services. Gujarat now has an international airport at Ahmedabad and eight domestic airports.
Gujarat boasts of some 540 places of tourist attraction and has double this number of hotels and rest-houses to suit every budget.
Besides, the State Government is also trying to promote the ‘home-stay’ model wherein registered families can have tourists staying at their homes as paying guests. This gives the tourist a first-hand experience of how #hospitable Gujarat really is. #tourism #gujarattourism