20 Best News About Indian Tourisum

1. Over 770 Per Cent Increase in E-Tourist Visa Arrivals
New Delhi: A total of 21,476 tourists arrived in the country this July on e-Tourist Visa as compared to 2,462 during the same month last year, registering a quantum jump of 772.3 per cent.
Tourism Ministry attributed the high growth to introduction of e-Tourist Visa for 77 countries as against coverage of earlier visa-on-arrival scheme for 12 countries.
Currently e-Tourist Visa facility is available for citizens of 77 countries including US, Germany, France and Russia arriving at nine airports in India.
According to Tourism Ministry data, there were a total of 1,47,690 tourists arrived on e-Tourist Visa during January- July this year as compared to 14,415 during corresponding period last year, a growth of 924.6 per cent.
The percentage shares of top 10 source countries availing e-Tourist Visa facility during July were USA (33.67 per cent) followed by Australia (7.74 per cent), France (7.13 per cent), Germany (6.80 per cent), UAE (6.71 per cent), Canada (6.30 per cent), Republic of Korea (5.57 per cent), Mexico (2.80 per cent), Japan (2.38 per cent) and Russian Federation (2.29 per cent).
2. Railways Launch E-Booking Service for Wheelchairs in Delhi
New Delhi: Passengers can now book wheelchairs online as Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has launched the service for free at New Delhi station.
The wheelchair facility is for the benefit of old, sick and differently-abled people, who can pre-book wheelchairs while booking their tickets online, IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director AK Manocha said.
"We have started the service on a pilot basis at the New Delhi station which can be replicated at other stations also," he added.
At present, there are nine wheelchairs available for booking as part of e-wheelchair service. Such a wheelchair can be hired for a maximum time of one hour. Those availing the facility need to deposit their I-cards such as voter ID card, Aadhaar card or PAN among others with a deposit fee of Rs. 500, which will be returned after the wheelchair is given back.
The facility will also be dispensed from IRCTC's Tourism Facilitation Centre located at platform no.16 of New Delhi station.
There is no age limit for booking of wheelchairs. Any passenger having confirmed reservation ticket can book the wheelchair on IRCTC website.
3. Rohtang Pass May Become World's Highest Tourist Place With CNG Buses
Shimla: Rohtang Pass is likely to become the world's highest mountain destination to run CNG buses at a height of 13,050 feet with the Himachal Pradesh government successfully completing two trial runs in this regard.
"Two trial runs of medium-size CNG buses to Rohtang were successful and now the matter would be taken to the Cabinet," State Transport Minister GS Bali said today.
"The government would urge the GAIL authorities to open a CNG station in Kullu-Manali area and elsewhere for regular supply of CNG. It will seek NGT's support for getting funds from the Centre and also approach the pollution board and CNG authorities for the same," he added.
The cost of plying CNG buses to Rohtang Pass is as much as Rs. 250 crore. The government would ask for immediate release of Rs. 100 crore to start operations. The two trial runs had cost Rs. 25 lakhs, he said.
Bali said that TATA Company has also been asked to undertake a search and technical study for this purpose.
The service would be operational only for six months as the area remains snowbound during the winters and the issue of economic viability would be crucial, Bali added.
Bali would meet Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari on August 6 and 7 to discuss the issue and plans to include areas like Shimla and Dharamshala under it.
4. Indian Railways to Install Over 4600 Water Vending Machines at Stations
Taking forward the Railways plan to provide clean drinking water at stations in low cost, Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is installing more than 4500 vending machines in the first phase across the country.
To begin with, the IRCTC plans to install 4,615 water vending machines (WVMs) in the first phase at various stations in the National Capital Region including Agra and Jhansi divisions besides the divisions of Lucknow and Varanasi among others.
Passengers can avail the water at affordable rates which will be Rs. 1 per glass, Rs. 3 for half a litre, Rs. 5 for one litre and Rs. 20 for a can from these vending machines, IRCTC Chairman and Managing Director AK Manocha said.
The move aims to benefit passengers at all stations and is a follow-up action to the 2015-16 railway budget that proposed provision of clean drinking water at low cost by installing water vending machines (WVM) at railway stations across the country.
We are using latest technology in the vending machines to minimise wastage of water, Mr Manocha said.
5. E-tickets for Lucknow's heritage sites soon
Lucknow: Online tickets will now be made available for historical monuments and buildings here to improve facilities for tourists in the Uttar Pradesh capital city, an official said Thursday.
The facility, which is being arranged for by the Hussainabad Trust, will begin Feb 14.
Historically important sites such as Satkhanda, Clock Tower, Bada Imambada, Chota Imambada, Picture Gallery, Shahi Talaab and Shahnazaf Imambada which are looked after the Trust will now have both online and onsite ticketing facilities, officials said.

District Magistrate Rajshekhar said the forms for e-tickets will have a passport-sized photograph taken from a personal webcam which would be uploaded on the ticketing server.
The operations are being outsourced to a private company for the first few months after which the Trust would take over.
A combo ticket pack enabling tourists to visit all heritage buildings with one ticket is also being considered and would be announced soon, an official said.
6. Wi-Fi service to be provided at Heritage Sites across India
Archaeological Survey of India has identified 25 Adarsh Monuments (centrally protected monuments), to provide Wi-Fi facility, which would be available free of cost for the first 30 minutes and thereafter it is chargeable on additional usage. List of 25 monuments are as follows, Rang Ghar, Sibsagar in Assam; Vaishali- Kolhua in Bihar; Humayun’s Tomb, Qutb Complex, Red Fort in NCT Delhi; Rani-ki-Vav, Patan in Gujarat; Rock-cut Temples, Masroor in Himachal Pradesh; Leh Palace, Leh, Sun Temple at Martand in Jammu & Kashmir; Ruins at Hampi, Bellary, Group of Monuments at Pattadakal in Karnataka; Elephanta Caves, Mumbai, Fort at Daultabad in Maharashtra; Monuments at Mandu, Group of temples at Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh; Sun Temple, Konark in Odisha; Kumbhalgarh Fort, Kelwada in Rajasthan; Shore Temple, Mahabalipuram, Brihadeshwar Temple, Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu; Taj Mahal, Agra, Group of Monuments at Fatehpur Sikri, Ancient Site at Sravasti, Excavated Site Sarnath, Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh; Group of Temples at Jageshwar in Uttarakhand; Hazardwari Palace, Murshidabad in West Bengal.
7. Modi brings in 'achche din' for tourism
The latest data of the tourism ministry showed 4.21 lakh foreign tourists came to India in May as against 3.84 lakh tourists who visited India during the same period last year.
The scorching summer affecting most parts of India seems to have had no bearing on the tourism industry. Rather, the tourism sector got a boost at around the same time that the new NDA government took charge.
8. Vietnam visa centre could open in India
The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) revealed that the new office will be operated by Kuoni‘s visa specialists VFS Global. While details of the centre, including the location, have not been confirmed, VNAT said will discuss plans with the Vietnamese Embassy in India.
VNAT director-general, Nguyen Van Tuan, who met with VFS Global in Beijing last week, said that India is one of the most important markets of Vietnam’s tourism industry. In recent years, VNAT has organised series of promotional activities in India, and the tourism board will participate in PATA Travel Mart in Bengaluru next month.
It is also planning to conduct an event in Mumbai to promote tourism to Vietnam, which could include input from VFS Global.
Goa government is completing the land acquisition for the second international airport at Mopa in North Goa. According to Swapnil Naik, Director of Tourism, Government of Goa, the state government has already acquired nearly 30,000 sq. meters of land and an additional 50,000 sq. meters will be acquired by June 2010 for the Greenfield airport which will be Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) venture on Build Operate and Transfer (BoT) model. Naik further informed that International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) conducted a feasibility study on the site of the proposed new airport and has given its approval for the same.
The state government, which received a nod from Union cabinet in 2000, recently received the ‘go ahead' from the central government for the second airport. The state government will roll out global tenders for PPP next month and will finalize the private player by year-end. The second international airport is slated to commence operations within three years of appointing a private partner. Following the Union Cabinet's approval for the second airport in Goa, there have been opposition from various local factions regarding the location of setting up the new airport and also to the closure of the existing airport at Dabolim. On account of the opposition for the latter, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) had drafted a request to Union Cabinet to allow the existing airport at Dabolim to continue operations after the introduction of the new airport at Mopa. If the cabinet approves the request Goa will have two international airports posts 2014.
“After being in dispute for quiet some time, the Mopa international airport has finally got sanctioned and will hopefully start operations by 2014. The new airport will ease the increasing traffic at the existing airport in Dabolim. The new airport will enhance easy access to the state for both international and domestic travellers and will further benefit the tourism industry,” added Naik.
Malaysia will once again offer transit travellers from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh a chance to visit the country without the need for a visa.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the Government, had decided to reinstate from July 1 the “transit without visa” offer to travellers from the four countries after considering the advantage it would offer in terms of attracting more tourists from the region.
He added Malaysia previously offered a similar privilege to travellers from the Indian sub-continent but it was later revoked. “The Home Ministry has suggested some methods that will avoid abuse of the facility.
“We will discuss them with our local airline companies as we will need their cooperation for the offer to work,” he told a press conference after chairing the Cabinet Committee on Tourism meeting here yesterday. He said the details of how the offer would work and conditions would be announced soon.
It is understood that Malaysia is targeting an additional 8,000 to 10,000 visitors this year through the move that will only be offered to travellers with tickets for connecting flights.
Muhyiddin said the committee also agreed yesterday to the Tourism Ministry's proposal to increase accessibility to the country and had asked local airlines like Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia and AirAsia-X to seek more landing rights abroad. He added the committee had asked for promotions to attract tourists from the Middle East during the fasting month of Ramadan.
The committee also endorsed the proposal to add parks and gardens in Malaysia to the list of tourism sites and asked the ministry to work with the Housing and Local Government Ministry to look into upgrading them.
Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen later told reporters that parks and gardens were not listed as tourist attractions even though there were many travellers who loved visiting such places.
After losing tourists from Western Europe, Goa is now banking on travellers from Russia and Poland to revive the sagging tourism industry in the state.
Travel Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG) has said the scene was disappointing on the Western Europe tourist front, but the loss is, to some extent, compensated by Russians' attraction towards the state.
Also, arrivals from Poland went up, giving a fillip to the foreign exchange earning sector reeling under the impact of a global economic slowdown and the Mumbai terror attacks.
"Around 2,000 Polish tourists arrived in the state, which was a new feature this season," says Ernest Dias, a TTAG official The tourism industry was expecting a 25 to 30 per cent drop in tourist arrivals from English-speaking countries. But arrival of 40,000-odd Russians made up for the loss.
Gujarat’s skies will become one of the busiest in the country in the next couple of months with at least two airlines starting operations to connect various cities of the state. Eight flights daily will connect Bhuj, Rajkot and Jamnagar to Ahmedabad and Surat, making it the only state in the country with such connectivity.
While Luan Airways, a start-up regional airline from Guwahati, would be based in Surat, Ventura Airlines is in the process of starting operations soon.
“Luan would connect Surat with Bhuj, Rajkot and Bhavnagar initially , while Ventura would connect Ahmedabad with Jamnagar, Bhavnagar , Bhuj and Surat,” Gujarat tourism and civil aviation secretary Vipul Mittra told the Media. Luan has obtained requisite permissions from the central agencies and is to start flying in two months.
The aircraft will be 80-seater or less. To start with, Luan will place two aircraft at Surat, a 19-seater Beechcraft to connect the diamond city with Bhavnagar and Rajkot and a 50-seater aircraft for other destinations.
New flights would cut travel time drastically, especially between cities like Surat and Rajkot, and Ahmedabad and Jamnagar. Use of smaller aircraft and no-frills services would help airlines run their business, a government official said.
Gujarat’s civil aviation department has set up a special purpose vehicle called Gujarat Civil Aviation Company to develop private airstrips to fly small planes between tourism centres for quick movement of tourists. The government resolution formalising the formation of the company was issued on Tuesday.
The department has also put in place a new civil aviation policy, which aims at improving connectivity, airstrips and helipads across Gujarat . The state has 12 main airstrips, and several smaller ones, a government official said. There are seven helipads in the state.
The government is all set to issue regular passports in three days and tatkal ones the same day. As part of the Passport Seva Project, foreign minister S M Krishna will inaugurate four Passport Seva Kendras which will make this possible in Karnataka on Friday.
Government sources said 77 such centres will come up across the country by the end of this financial year. These centres will ensure issuance of tatkal passports to applicants within hours.
The Passport Seva Project aims to issue passports in three days as against the current 45 days. A parliamentary panel had earlier this month blamed the external affairs ministry for failing to meet the deadline for the project. It was supposed to be first launched in July last year.
The contract for implementing the Rs 1,000 crore project was given to TCS in October 2008. Passport Seva Project, based on a public-private partnership model, aims to provide passport-related services to citizens in a speedy, convenient and transparent manner.
In the new system, soon after the application is submitted, the verification list will be forwarded to the district police chief.
The same day, it will be segregated station wise and will be forwarded to the respective police stations.
Turkey has introduced Visa-on-Arrival facility for Indian visitors. Indian arriving in Istanbul can avail Visa-on-Arrival by paying a nominal fee of 15 Euro or USD 20. The Visa will be valid for 30 days. The facility will also be available to travellers holding the UK, US and Schengen Visa.
About 55,000 Indians visited Turkey in 2009. While this year, Turkish Tourism expects around 25 per cent improvement in visitor numbers. In order to create awareness about Turkish destinations and products, Turkish Tourism has already launched a major marketing campaign in India with the punch line – ‘Turkey is Ready’.
15. Taj Mahal makes to world’s top 5 travel hotspots in new list
The Taj Mahal has made it to the top five of a prestigious new list of the world’s best tourist attractions.
Lonely Planet’s “Ultimate Travelist” ranks the historic mausoleum built in Agra by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan as the fifth most attractive travel hotspot in the world and describes it as a “magnificent Mughal masterpiece”.
According to the list, the architectural perfection is reached beginning with “acres of shimmering white marble. Add a few thousand semi-precious stones, carved and inlaid in intricate Islamic patterns. Take a sublime setting by a sacred river, in jewel-like formal gardens. Apply a little perfect symmetry, and tie up the whole package in an outlandish story of timeless love. And there you have the Taj Mahal”.
It notes that there’s no other building in India that so perfectly encapsulates the attitudes and atmosphere of its era.
The Temples of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Cambodia, tops the list as a complex of more than 1,000 temples, shrines and tombs which attracts more than 2 million visitors annually.
The Great Barrier Reef in Australia comes in at number two, the Inca city of Machu Picchu in Peru at number three, and the Great Wall of China at four.
Travel writers and Lonely Planet staff were invited to submit ideas before voting on their favourites.
Voters were asked to consider which sights enthused, inspired, and excited them the most.
The one UK entry was the British Museum, which came in 15th on the wish list.
To celebrate the release of the new book, some of the world’s finest sand sculptors will recreate five sights from around the world on Peter’s Hill near St. Paul’s Cathedral in central London later this week.
16. Government extends e-Tourist Visa scheme to 36 more countries and 7 more airports from August 15, 2015
The Government of India has launched e Tourist Visa on November 27, 2014. The scheme has been extended to 77 countries at nine airports designated for providing e-Tourist visa service till now.
The Centre is now going to extend this facility to 36 more countries from August 15, 2015.
the total count of countries under the scheme will go upto 113 (One hundred Thirteen). Simultaneously, the Centre is going to add 7 more Indian airports as designated airports for entry on e-Tourist Visa from August 15, 2015 the total number of designated airports will become 16.
Since the launch of the scheme on November 27, 2014, more than 2,00,000 (Two lac) e-TVs have been issued till now. It is expected that this substantial addition of countries and airports will give big boost to tourism industry in the country.
17. Ministry of Tourism to give Rs. 600 Crore for Tourism Development activities in Bihar
As a part of the package of Rs.1.25 lakh Crore announced by Prime Minister on August 18, 2015 for Bihar, Ministry of Tourism pledges Rs 600 Crore for various tourism development activities in the State of Bihar Keeping in view the vast tourism potential of the State of Bihar, the Ministry of Tourism decides to consider seven tourism circuits, namely, Vaishali and Bodhgaya development along with other places in Buddhist Circuit including Vikramshila (Rs 200 Crore); Sultanganj to Deoghar project (Rs 50 Crore); Patna Sahib (Rs 50 Crore); Mahatma Gandhi Circuit (Rs 50 Crore); Ramayana Circuit (Rs 100 Crore); Jain Circuit including Champapuri & Pawapuri (Rs 50 Crore); Circuit for Mandar Hills and Ang Kshetra (Rs 50 Crore).
Their development would be carried out through appropriate circuits/cities identified by the Ministry of Tourism under plan schemes of Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD.
In addition to above, based on the findings of the study conducted by the Ministry to assess the potential of Indian Institute of Tourism & Travel Management (IITTM) Chapter in Bihar, Ministry of Tourism announces in-principle approval of a Centre of IITTM in Bihar with budgetary provision of Rs 50 Crore.
18. 20 eco-tourism sites to be developed in Himachal: Forest Minister
To promote tourism activities and provide ample self-employment opportunities to the youth, the State Government has taken a decision to develop 20 more eco-tourism sites in different parts of the State.
Forest Minister of Himachal Pradesh Thakur Singh Bharmouri disclosed here that the eco-tourism society had already invited expression of interest for developing these sites and after finalization of the sites, the matter would be taken with the Government of India for diversion of land. He said the interested parties had been asked to submit a report regarding conservation of environment and promotion of ecology, maintaining the natural grandeur, forest conservation, waste disposal and their participation in the eco tourism.
Mr Bharmouri said that the Congress Government had formulated the Eco-Tourism Policy- 2005 and going ahead with this policy the State Government had decided to develop more eco tourism sites. Keeping in view the forest conservation, the decision had been taken to conduct Socio-Environment Impact Study of those sites which were already in operation.
He said that the priority of the government was to provide employment to Himachali youth through these sites. Efforts were on to exploit the forest wealth of the State for promotion of tourism sector at a larger scale.
He added that since eco-tourism had been declared as non-forest activity by the Union Government, hence Forest Conservation Act, 1980 would be applicable on all eco tourism projects.
The Minister said that under the directions of Government of India, the Forest Department had been asked to submit detailed report about the five sites allocated earlier in the State.
19. Tourism ministry to start 'Know Your India' drive
Union Minister of Culture and Tourism Mahesh Sharma Tuesday said the government wants youth and children to see hidden gems across India before they head abroad for holidaying and for this it plans to launch ‘Bharat Ko Jaano’ (Know Your India) drive soon.
"India is an unexplored treasure hunt, so if energies are channelised in the right direction, we will have more Indians waiting to explore the unknown destinations in India," said Sharma during an informal interaction with media.
"How many of you have visited Delhi zoo?" asked Sharma.
"We feel trips to domestic places that add knowledge about our history and culture will benefit if introduced in school curriculum," he added.
However, he was quick to add that the proposal is in a preliminary stage.
When he was asked how the culture ministry plans to ensure the safety of monuments that are still neglected irrespective of being taken care of by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), Sharma said: "We have heard that ASI is not working up to the mark and we believe it."
"But we hope to tackle this issue, along with many others swiftly and surely," he added.
After training tourist guides and cab drivers, the tourism ministry has set its sights on training immigration officers for a more tourist-friendly approach.
Immigration officers are the first people foreign travellers meet when they land in the country and their experience is not always pleasant. In the run-up to Commonwealth Games, all that is set to change.
Tourism minister Kumari Selja has written to home minister P Chidambaram urging that officers be given training for a more "tourist-friendly approach". The ministry has also suggested that officers be given a uniform and separate counters for domestic and foreign tourists for quicker clearances.
In most airports worldwide, officials at passport check and immigration counters have a uniform. The tourism ministry has offered to design and pay for the uniforms.
The letter also suggested separate counters for domestic and foreign tourists to ensure quicker clearances. "This will ensure not just faster clearance but avoid overcrowding of counters. There has been a demand for setting up of a separate immigration counter for Indian nationals arriving at major international airports in India for easy facilitation," a source said.
The tourism ministry, in coordination with the Bureau of Immigration, has already conducted a two-day programme to bring about a "behavioural and attitudinal change" in officials while dealing with foreign tourists. The training programme was conducted by the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management in September 2009 which was attended by 127 officials. The ministry wants to extend this to all officers at the Delhi international airport and other airports as well.
With Commonwealth Games scheduled in October, the tourism ministry has been pushing for a more tourist-friendly approach by service providers including cab drivers, tourist guides, tourist police and others who will be in touch with tourists during their visit. 21. Goa to Receive Tourists' Chartered Flights From Latvia
Panaji: During the forthcoming tourist season, Goa will receive chartered flights of tourists from Latvia, an officially release said in Panaji today.
"The first chartered flight carrying tourists from Latvia will land in Goa on December 10, 2015. In all, there are likely to be six chartered flights from Riga this season, with 180 passengers in each inbound flight," according to a press note released by the Russian Information Centre in Goa.
"Chartered flights from Latvia's capital Riga would be the opening of a new potential market. Chartered flights from Riga to Goa will ferry tourists from Latvia, Lithania as well as Estonia, which have a combined population of 10 million," the press note stated.
"All three countries were part of the former USSR and emerged as independent countries in 1991 after the fall of the USSR. They are now part of Europe with Euro as its currency.
The fact that tourists from these countries speak both Russian and English is a healthy sign for Goa's tourism industry stakeholders," the press note stated.
"The reason why the fresh chartered flight service from Latvia is significant is because it could mean a shot in the arm for Goa's tourism business, which could face a slight decline in foreign tourist arrivals due to the financial crisis in Russia," the press note stated. Goa receives around five lakh foreign tourists annually.
22. Water Sports to be Initiated at 19 Locations in Andhra Pradesh
Hyderabad: 19 locations across the state of Andhra Pradesh will be equipped to provide water and adventure sports, beaches, backwaters and theme parks with an investment of about Rs. 21 crore, a top state government official said in Hyderabad today.
Provisional registrations have been issued to develop the locations.
Chief Secretary IYR Krishna Rao, who held a meeting with the officers of Tourism Department to review on the proposed projects under PPP mode in Hyderabad yesterday, said that operator preparations are underway to start the operations.
Scuba diving, water skiing, banana boat ride, pedal boating etc, will be covered under water sports. Water sports at Visakhapatnam Mangammavaripet will be operational within three months, the Chief Secretary said.
Grounding process has been initiated for water sports, amphibious vehicles, river cruises, beach and backwater sports, sea planes, hotels, resorts and wayside amenities, he said, adding that provisional registration process for amphibious vehicles, river cruises, beach and backwater resorts was under process.
Proposals are under circulation with INCAP, Finance and Law Department for taking up under Swiss challenge method to develop and to operate IMAX cineplexes at Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada and Tirupati, Rao said.
For sound and light and laser shows, leading agencies in the country are empanelled and feasibility reports under preparation for each location, he said.
The Chief Secretary said that Government of Andhra Pradesh is focusing to organise mega tourism events like shopping festival, Budha Jayanthi, Flemingo Festival etc, by making the state as tourism hub.
Leading global and Indian corporations have expressed strong desire to take partnership with AP government and as a first step MoU also signed towards execution of tourism infrastructure in the state. Department has taken up promotion and marketing in tourism in a big way, Mr Rao added Principal Secretary Tourism N K Prasad and others attended the meeting.