Sunday October 22, 2017
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European tourism is hit hard after terror attacks in Brussels and Paris

Thomas Cook (Britain’s best-known tour operator) said in his analysis this is the biggest fall in our travel industry in last 17 years

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Tourists in Paris, Image credits : wsj.com
  • 320 dead- Terrorist attack at the Brussels’ airport 2016
  • 224 dead- Bombing of Russian Jetliner flying from Egypt in November 2015
  • 130 dead- Paris killings in November 2015

Spates of terror attacks and air crashes have started to show the effect on Europe’s travel industry. After terror incidents, tourism officials generally brace themselves for such sudden drops. In a matter of weeks, things come back to normal.  But this time, things are starting to look different.

Starting with Egypt-Air Flight 804 disappearance from the radar to the Paris attacks, bookings started to decline significantly. Carolyn McCall (chief executive of British budget airline) said: “We have seen more external factors affecting us than we have seen at any other time.”

Another statement came from Michael O’Leary (CEO of Ryanair Holdings PLC, Europe’s biggest budget carrier) that “the pace of bookings—an early sign of passenger sentiment—again started slowing after the Egypt-Air tragedy.” He didn’t provide figures, though. Terrorist groups such as Islamic State have mainly targeted Europe in their master plans. Several of them happened in the year 2015 and in the present year of 2016.

The major attacks have inculcated fear among tourists. Thomas Cook (Britain’s best-known tour operator) said in his analysis this is the biggest fall in our travel industry in last 17 years. Turkey is Cook’s second biggest market. There have been a series of attacks in Turkey which has greatly affected the market.

Statistics of terror attacks, Image credits : wsg.com
Statistics of terror attacks, Image credits : wsg.com

Ryanair and EasyJet (Europe’s biggest carriers) were forced to cut their prices after the ongoing attacks. Tour operators are not flying to Egyptian resorts that have lately become a ghost town. Over there bookings have declined by a third.

However, bookings in Spain have increased up to 27%, with Portugal up to 30% and Italy up to 12%. There has been a corresponding effect on prices in Europe. David Hope (GfK’s business group director) said: “Prices are going up and up and up.” But he says this is only healthy for tour operators if they can provide enough rooms to meet demand. Cook’s rival, Tui (owner of Thomson) has fared better because it focuses on Spain and relies less on Turkey.

Robin Byde (a broker at Cantor Fitzgerald) says: “Between EasyJet and Ryanair, they have more than 20% of European short-haul traffic. They are price-makers as well as price-takers, so you have to take it with a pinch of salt when they talk about pressures driving down prices.”  The biggest influence on air fares is that on fuels. Airline companies buy their fuel in 2-year advance, so they are getting the benefit of the falling oil price enabling them plenty of scopes to cut down fares.

McCall reiterates that travelling is an important part of everyday life. Demands will bounce back after these shocks. So from a consumer’s point of view this indeed a very good time to fly.

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-by Pritam

Pritam is pursuing engineering and is an intern at NewsGram. Twitter handle: @pritam_gogreen

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Syrian Militia: End Is Near for Islamic State in Raqqa

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Syria ISIS
Smoke rises near the stadium where the Islamic State militants are holed up after an airstrike by coalition forces at the frontline, in Raqqa, Syria. voa

Islamic State is on the verge of defeat in Syria’s Raqqa and the city may finally be cleared of the jihadists Saturday or Sunday, the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia told Reuters Saturday.

The U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State said around 100 of the jihadist group’s fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and had been “removed from the city,” but it still expected difficult fighting “in the days ahead.”

It did not say how the fighters had been removed or where the fighters had been taken.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said remaining Islamic State fighters were being transported out of Raqqa by bus under a deal between Islamic State, the U.S.-led coalition and the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG. There was no immediate comment on that report from the coalition or the SDF.

Fighting since June

Civilians who escaped from Islamic State
Civilians who escaped from Islamic State militants rest at a mosque in Raqqa, Syria. voa

The SDF, backed by coalition airstrikes and special forces, has been battling since June to oust Islamic State from Raqqa city, formerly its de facto capital in Syria and a base of operations where it planned attacks against the West.

The final defeat of Islamic State at Raqqa will be a major milestone in efforts to roll back the group’s self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, where earlier this year the group was driven from the city of Mosul.

“The battles are continuing in Raqqa city. Daesh (Islamic State) is on the verge of being finished. Today or tomorrow the city may be liberated,” YPG spokesman Nouri Mahmoud told Reuters by telephone.

In emailed comments to Reuters, coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon said about 100 Islamic State fighters had surrendered in Raqqa in the last 24 hours and were “removed from the city,” without giving further details.

“We still expect difficult fighting in the days ahead and will not set a time for when we think (Islamic State) will be completely defeated in Raqqa,” he said, adding that around 85 percent of Raqqa had been liberated as of Oct. 13.

Some civilians escape

Around 1,500 civilians had been able to safely make it to SDF lines within the last week, he added.

Omar Alloush, a member of a civilian council set up to run Raqqa, told Reuters late Friday that efforts were under way to secure the release of civilians and “a possible way to expel terrorist elements from Raqqa province,” without giving further details.

An activist group that reports on Raqqa, Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, said on its Facebook page Saturday that dozens of buses had entered Raqqa city overnight, having traveled from the northern Raqqa countryside.

The Observatory said Syrian Islamic State fighters and their families had left the city, and buses had arrived to evacuate remaining foreign fighters and their families. It did not say where they would be taken.

During the more than six-year Syrian war, the arrival of buses in a conflict zone has often signaled an evacuation of combatants and civilians.

The campaign against Islamic State in Syria is now focused on its last major foothold in the country, the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which neighbors Iraq.
Islamic State is facing separate offensives in Deir el-Zour by the SDF on one hand, and Syrian government forces supported by Iranian-backed militia and Russian airstrikes on the other. (VOA)

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Seven Best Places To Visit In October In India

Seven destinations you cannot miss this Autumn.

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Best places to visit in October
India

Autumn is one of the most pleasant seasons. With the atmosphere being a little breezy and trees shedding their leaves, the view around you is picturesque. And, it would be really boring if you miss out on a vacation in this wonderful weather. After all, we must never pull ourselves away from packing our bags and go on vacations to interesting places. Below are seven best places to visit in October in India:

7 Best Places To Visit In October In India:

  1. Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh

Best holiday destinations in October
Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh

The sunrise in Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh is one of the most beautiful in India. The weather in this destination at this time is just how you want it to be. It is the only hill station of Madhya Pradesh, and indeed one of the most popular in India. From Parasailing activities to site seeing, you can do a lot in this lovely place! This definitely needs to be added to your bucket list.

2. Kutch, Gujarat

Best places to visit in October
Common Crane bird at Kutch

Indeed one of the most beautiful and tempting places to visit in the month of October is Kutch. The white sand will have a cool and pleasant temperature. The place is full of nature and its beautiful creations. From deserts, oasis and architecture, to wildlife and delicious food, this place is heaven on Earth. The place’s heritage and beauty make it one of the best places to visit in October.

3. Hampi, Karnataka

Best places to visit in October
Hampi, Karnataka

Hampi once was known for its magnificent architectural beauty. Much of it has now been ruined and vandalized. The city still, remains to be a quick and joyful getaway for this pleasant season. Especially if you live in Bengaluru, you should not be giving this thought a second consideration.

Also Read: Taj Lake Palace: Floating Palace in Udaipur is the Ultimate Destination for a Romantic Break 

4. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Best places to visit in October
Rishikesh, Uttarakhand

Divine has to be the perfect word to describe the beauty of this place. The beauty of Ganges along with the serene view of the mountains, there is nothing more which one wants in their vacation. Living in Rishikesh would be living in peace. If your friends have tagged along with you, then Rishikesh can be an adventurous trip as well. Activities like river rafting, trekking and boating are popular in this area.

5. Darjeeling, West Bengal

best places to visit in october
Darjeeling, West Bengal

Darjeeling in West Bengal is called the ‘Queen of hills’, and with October being the ideal season for enjoying the beauty of Hills, we should rename it to ‘Queen of October’.  Colonial architecture, hills, rock gardens, shopping complexes and Monasteries- these places make Darjeeling an all-in-one tourist destination.

6. Nainital, Uttarakhand

Best places to visit in October
Nainital, Uttarakhand

One of the best hill stations of India, and indeed one of the best places to visit in October. Nainital’s weather, trees, farms, lakes, mountains and temples are completely breathtaking. Eating a plate of Maggi along with your family in this lovely tourist destination will make your trip more memorable.

7. Jodhpur, Rajasthan

Best places to visit in October
Jodhpur. Rajasthan

Rajasthan is India’s most beautiful state, and Jodhpur is the most beautiful city. Lakes, temples, palaces and every mark of royalty, is visible in this state. The city’s beauty, culture and heritage attract a lot of tourists every year and in every season, and hence makes it one of the best places to visit in October. So why should one miss the chance to spend his/her beautiful October away from Jodhpur?

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5 Apps Which Make Millennials Spend Money Wisely!

These finance apps may help the millennials in managing their expenses in a better way.

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Millennials
Apps which can help Millennials save money

Millennials are leading their lives in the “tech age”, where they have their own set of generation problems. Inflation has been a common problem of all the generations, but Millennials altogether have a different approach to life. The young adults of today are much more carefree. Their expenses are not just limited to home, family and food. From going on regular vacations to spending money in hip restaurants, they want it all. Keeping all these factors in mind, it becomes necessary to set meager budgets for all the planned luxuries and at the same time increase your savings as well. This may sound difficult, but the digital era has made it easier. Below are five finance apps which would manage your expenses!

  1. Cash Envelopes! 

Keeping a strong will is tough if you always find money in your wallet. This is a world-wide problem. The solution for it is to decide your budget for various expenses and keep them inside envelopes. An excellent savings app, Mvelopes, has expertly executed this idea with the help of technology. This way, if anyone savings envelope gets vacant, you can either wait for it to refill or take money from other cash envelopes. These envelopes will get connected to maximum four bank accounts.

2. ‘Balance’ Your Way

An app called Balance is at the rescue of millennials. It helps to manage money effectively so that one can save a good amount. It has recommendations on habits of expenditures in the form of ‘recipes’. The app streamlines the documentation processes in investments; thus, making an individual aware of the risks linked to it.

3. Keep a track on money spent

Sometimes, we may just get reckless and spend our cash without keeping in mind the expenses. To control this behavior is of utmost importance. An app called Money View would help you maintain a record of all the payments you made. It also tracks the dates of your bill and never lets you miss a payment deadline.

Also ReadBe Job Ready in Lesser Time Now! Must Dos for Men

4. Sharing budget

Setting a good budget will better your spending habits. And, the Google Budget app helps you to understand better spending habits. It is quite like Mvelopes, except that it also facilitates sharing these budgets with close relatives. This app taps all types of payments, users are making from the connected account.

5. Tracking Your Overall Financial Position

Since Millennials grew up in the generation when technology witnessed a boom, they are expected to handle their bank accounts digitally without much panic or mulling.Mint app keeps track of your expenses, cash and income inflows. This leads to constant reminders in your mind about how much money you should or should not spend. An integrated amount of your savings also helps you in making better and bigger future decisions.

by Megha Acharya of NewsGram.