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Tourism prime focus besides IT in Andaman & Nicobar Islands

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Port Blair and Around
Port Blair and Around, Photo Source www.andamans.gov.in

Port Blair, Nov 22: With tourist footfall going up by 23 per cent in the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago, the authorities have decided to heavily invest in the sector as well as in information technology (IT) to ensure holistic development of the islands, stakeholders say.

“Tourism and It would be our prime focus. At least four lakh tourists come to the islands every year and stay for four days on an average. The amount of money tourists would spend on amenities like drinking water, food and lodging, would be a major boost for the island’s economy if the number keeps on increasing,” local MP Bishnupada Ray told a select group of visiting mediapersons in this capital of the Union territory.

“Development is needed as it is a secluded place, far from the mainland. However, with proper connectivity and infrastructure, the amount of natural resources and potential the Andamans have, can feed all of India,” he added.

According to the Andaman and Nicobar administration, the number of tourists increased by 23 per cent from around 3.25 lakh in 2015 to over 400,000 in 2016.

“The administration does not levy any tax on the tourists. With the boom in tourism, the revenue that would come from the food and hospitality sectors would certainly benefit the region’s economy,” Chief Secretary Anindo Majumdar told IANS.

“According to our estimate, from the tourism sector alone, the government would earn revenues of nearly Rs 400-500 crore ($61-77 million) every year,” he said.

The archipelago, endowed with picturesque landscapes, sterling beaches and nature’s generous gifts, is eyeing a sustained flow of high-end tourists.

“Promotion of tourism, including high-end tourism, in a sustainable manner is one of the developmental priorities of the administration,” Majumdar said.

The islands — nearly 1,300 kilometres west of the Indian mainland in the Bay of Bengal — are a tourists’ paradise. The Union territory comprises 608 emerald islands with exotic names, out of which only 31 are inhabited. It overall enjoys a whopping 94 percent of forest cover.

One can laze around the enticing beaches at Havelock Island, or Ross and Smith — the twin islands joined by a bewitching sandbar. Sea-bathing and sun-basking at the Corbyn’s Cove beach helps one to unwind and de-stress while the Hilltop Gallows on Viper Island and Port Blair’s Cellular Jail are sure to overwhelm visitors with a sense of patriotism as the clock ticks back to the days of India’s freedom struggle.

The majority of tourists visit Port Blair, Ross and Havelock, which are home to various adventure sports like scuba diving, snorkeling and sea-walking.

Havelock, probably the most coveted tourist destination for its famous Radhanagar and Laxmanpur sea beaches, stands tall among all the islands, that are far less accessible for the majority of tourists.

Ray said massive infrastructural development has taken wings for the expansion of National Highway 4 that would connect north, middle and south Andamans.

Also the civilian and army airports are being upgraded and the number of flights from the mainland as well as within the islands would significantly increase in the near future under the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) flight scheme.

Conceding that building heavy industries in the islands was difficult due to its distance from the mainland, Ray said a massive Rs 1,102 crore project for laying an undersea optical fibre cable (OFC) between Chennai and Port Blair will open up new horizons for the IT sector.

“We are also focusing on building the Andamans as an IT hub as the fibre optic is coming from the mainland. All the major islands like Port Blair, Havlock, Long Island, Diglipur, Rangat, Nicobar would get the benefit of internet in the coming days.”

IANS

Lifestyle

A check list before your road trip starts

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Road trip holiday travel

New Delhi, May 18: Before you set out for the adventurous road trip on your holidays, it is imperative to carry certain things to make your life easier. A grooming kit, adequate liquids and insurance are the most important, suggest experts.

Saunak Ghosh, Chief Marketing Officer at OneAssist Consumer Solutions Pvt Ltd, and Akshali Shah, Senior Vice President, Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Parag Milk Foods Ltd, have listed a few must-haves.

* Backpack: When you’re constantly tossing bags in and out of the car, they better be able to handle plenty of abuse. Certain bags available in the market are made in such a way that they sustain in all kind of weathers and situations.

* Personal care kit: It takes extra amount of care to keep yourself well-groomed and hygienic. Always stay hygienic and carry the essential personal care kit on your road trip.

* Hydration: Road trips in summer bring a lot of excitement and a need to keep our bodies energised and hydrated. Summer is the perfect time to try out different hydration drinks. Flavoured milk or buttermilk can be your helpful companions on the journey as it keeps you away from dehydration and gives instant energy, without compromising on the taste.

* Insurance: Insuring your travel is something you would feel is unnecessary but you never know that taking a chance on it might become the biggest mistake committed.

It is also advisable to insure your priced possessions like your phone, laptop, wallet, debit/credit/ATM cards. Usually taking insurance creates an image of a tedious office, hours of wait and long queues. But with protection and assistance services platforms you can do it within no time and insure all your possessions.

* Spare chargers and powerbanks: Always arm yourself with spare chargers and powerbanks for worst case scenarios.

* Emergency and first aid kit: Always have a first aid kit in your car. Also, keep a check on everything which is inside the first aid box and upgrade whenever you see the necessity.

An emergency kit should contain battery booster cables, two light sticks, reflective vest, emergency rain poncho, warning triangle, whistle, tyre pressure gauge and window breaker.

IANS

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Lifestyle

Indians taking more spiritual trips this summer: Study

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varanasi temple

New Delhi, May 17: Spiritually motivated tourism has emerged as one of the most vital components of India’s tourism industry with places like Puri, Varanasi, Tirupati and Shirdi topping the list, says a study conducted by travel marketplace ixigo.

According to the study, more and more Indians are travelling to connect with their religious roots. With a rise in spiritual tourism, popular pilgrimages, such as Varanasi and Puri are witnessing higher hotel bookings than other cities this summer.

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Puri Jagannath Temple

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The Great Ganges Ghats of Varanasi

The study reveals that there has been a month-on-month growth of 60 per cent for Puri, 48 per cent for Varanasi, 34 per cent for Tirupati and 19 per cent growth for Shirdi in the hotel bookings, said a statement.

Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala, Tirupati

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Sai Baba Temple, Shirdi

Travellers plan a short-stay of an average two days during their visit to religious destinations. Also, Indians prefer to keep a low hotel stay budget. Around 82 per cent tourists prefer budget hotels in Varanasi, followed by 78 per cent, 68 per cent and 73 per cent in Shirdi, Tirupati and Puri respectively. Only 32 per cent Indians prefer 4/5 star hotel while visiting Tirupati followed by 27 per cent for Puri.

Commenting on the findings Aloke Bajpai, ixigo CEO and Co-founder said: “Looking at the spike in bookings, it’s safe to say that spiritual travel is now being considered as one of the offbeat travel trends in India. It is fascinating to see that young adults are showing quite a high inclination towards exploring indigenous cultural experiences in our country.”

IANS

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Cities

Himachal Pradesh may get more thundershowers next week

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himachal manali weather thundershower rain
Rains lash Shimla on May 2, 2018. (PC- IANS)

Shimla, May 11: Himachal Pradesh may get more thundershowers next week as the weather bureau here on Friday predicted that western disturbances will be active once again in the region.

“Light to moderate rain and thundershowers are likely to occur at some places in the state between May 14 and 15 with the western disturbances affecting the Western Himalayas,” Manmohan Singh, the meteorological department director, told IANS.

Western disturbances are a storm system originating from the Mediterranean Sea and moving across the Afghanistan-Pakistan region.

Tourist towns of Shimla, Narkanda, Kufri, Kalpa, Kasauli, Chamba, Dharamsala, Palampur and Manali might get rains in the next few days.

“High-altitude areas of Lahaul and Spiti, Chamba, Kullu and Kinnaur districts may experience moderate snow,” a Met official said.

There has been no rain or snowfall across the state in the past 24 hours since Thursday.

Shimla recorded a low of 15.5 degrees Celsius, a rise from Thursday’s 12.5 degrees, while it was 3.3 degrees in Keylong, 7.6 degrees in Kalpa, 14.8 degrees in Dharamsala and 15.5 degrees in Dalhousie.

A day earlier, the state capital here saw a high of 23.5 degrees Celsius.

IANS

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