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Eyeing Indian travellers, Qatar opens tourism office in Mumbai

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QATAR Tourism Authority, Photo Credit: The Peninsula Qatar

Mumbai, May 3 (IANS) Eyeing a chunk of tourists from India, the world’s second largest outbound tourists market, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has opened an office here on Thursday.

QTA’s Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer Rashed AlQurese said the decision was taken in view of the rapid growth of India’s outbound tourism market in recent years, coupled with QTA’s intensified efforts to diversify and grow visitor source.

“The steps taken to make accessing Qatar easier are particularly targeted at visitors seeking to experience our country’s luxury hospitality and unique cultural offerings, all while benefiting from the convenience of relatively short flights,” AlQurese told media persons.

The QTA has about a dozen offices worldwide including in Moscow, Britain, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, the US, China, Russia, the Gulf Cooperation Council markets and South East Asia, he added.

According to a United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimate, India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020.

Similarly, the market for travel and tourism in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 7.23 per cent during the period 2016-2021.

QTA’s office here will oversee a wide range of promotional initiatives, including workshops, sales visits, travel agents destination training, partnerships with tour operators, familiarisation trips, media campaigns and other innovative activities to boost Qatar as a leisure and business tourism destination.

After Qatar waived entry visas for Indians last year, it has become an increasingly accessible destination for Indian travellers, with more than 110,000 visitors in the first quarter of 2018.

The Qatar Airways has 100 weekly direct flights connecting the capital Doha to thirteen major cities across India and 67 flights from India to Qatar by major airlines like Air India Express, Indigo Airlines and Jet Airways.

Indian nationals can enter Qatar visa-free, for 30 days’ stay, which can be extended by another similar period.

IANS

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Realm of Sultans- Oman

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Oman

The Sultanate of Oman, considered as a hidden jewel at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. Oman offers an excellent combination of heritage and modern life. Omani’s are very hospitable people and during travelling through the country, locals may invite you to have coffee and dates at their houses, an offer that never to be refused. From mountains and deep gorges to water-filled wadis (valley of a stream) and endless beaches and some of the stunning desert landscapes, diverse beauty of Oman can be sight throughout the country.

Oman received independence from Britain in 1951, following independence the country brought them under the leadership of Sultan Said bin Taimur, however not until his son His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin said ascended to the throne in 1970 that Oman entered a modern renaissance evolving into the contemporary and forward facing country it is today. It is His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said’s foresight that has helped Oman to secure prosperity and ensure that the country remains one of the safest countries in the world.

Oman’s population is just around 4 million people, Oman is an Islamic country that with an acceptance of other religions and cultures, allows anyone to practice their faith freely without any prejudice. Oman has seen the rapid transformation to modern society since 1970 and has never lost sight of its roots. Traditional Omani culture is embedded in nearly every aspect of daily life, from clothing and food to arts and craft and the hospitality the Locals show the visitors. The unique Omani culture and heritage continue today in many of the same ways it has seen for hundreds of years.

Muscat means Anchorage – Stunning modern capital of Oman offering a combination of old and new. Mountains and deserts surround Muscat while sea and fishing today remains an important industry. Muscat is also a busy port city. Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is an architectural masterpiece with 50 meters dome and beautiful Persian carpet, the mosque can accommodate 20,000 people. Muscat’s old Muttrah (administratively a district) quarter, this known for its labyrinthine souk and bustling fish market and famous Corniche waterfront promenade. One can also catch the glimpse of the Sultan’s residence, a colourful Al Alam Palace built in the contemporary Islamic style. Muscat offers several museums exhibiting Omani culture and crafts. The Royal Opera House presents international performances. Shatti and Ourum are popular beaches that offer great experiences to beach admirers. Lagoon and Reefs at Bandar Jissah and Bandar Khayran are located close to Muscat, which is popular for diving.

Muscat offers abundance choices for visitors from world-class shows to fine dining at one of the many restaurants scattered across the capital or shopping for traditional souvenirs at Muttrah Souq to museums and art galleries showcasing Omani traditions and art. Even when the summer temperatures are at its peak in the rest part of Oman, Dhofar and mountaintops of Al Hajar range serve cooler temperatures on their overture.

Jay Kantawala founder of WIYO Travel contemplates that, ”Oman is a relatively unexplored destination and has a lot to offer to the tourist, the country is well- connected from major cities in India with daily direct flights. One can explore Oman for a short break or even for a week to 10 days. Micro-trips can be held here by exuberant travellers”.

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Avoid travelling as Snow may block Himachal roads

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Shimla, Jan 2: Moderate to heavy snowfall may occur across Himachal Pradesh in the next one-two days, the Met Office said on Wednesday.

Residents and tourists have been advised not to venture in the high hills as snapping of road links are high.

The supply of essential commodities and transportation of people may get hampered in remote areas of the state, a government official told IANS.

Hills of Shimla, Kullu, Mandi, Sirmaur, Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts are likely to experience moderate to heavy snowfall from January 4-6, an official of the meteorological office here told IANS.

He said the western disturbances — storm systems originating from Caspian Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region — are likely to remain active in the region till January 9.

Most of the prominent tourist towns like Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Dalhousie and Manali are likely to have light to moderate spells of snowfall, he added.

Kalpa in Kinnaur district saw mild snowfall. It recorded a low of minus 3.4 degree Celsius.

Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district was the coldest place in the state with a low of minus 4.6 degree.

Shimla recorded the minimum temperature at 3.7 degrees Celsius, while it was 0.6 degree in Manali and 2.8 degrees in Dharamsala.

IANS

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Pakistan International Airlines sacks over 50 employees for fake degrees

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Pakistan International Airlines

Karachi, Dec 29 : Pakistan International Airlines has sacked over 50 employees, including pilots and cabin crew, for holding fake degrees, the media reported on Saturday.

A statement by the country’s national carrier said that the employees were fired on the instructions of the Supreme Court in a fake degrees case. Three pilots and 50 crew staff were sacked, Geo News reported.

Chief Justice Saqib Nisar had taken notice of alleged appointment of pilots holding fake qualifications in January this year.

A two-member bench headed by the Chief Justice had issued a deadline of December 28 to the Civil Aviation Authority for completing the verifications of the degrees of pilots.

IANS

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