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Winters not so cold for tourism industry

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By-Kavita Bajeli Datta

Heli-skiing in Auli, paragliding in Manali, Bunjee jumping in Rishikesh, trekking in mighty Himalayan range, ice climbing in Garhwal and many more adventurous sports that winter offers us.

The harsh winter is no more a hinderance to a great holiday.

Winters is a time when tourism industry comes alive, offering a wide range of activities for an adventure enthusiast.

Film editor, Sandeep Singh, is awestruck by the snow-capped landscape and cold winds exhilarating. For this travel junkie, winter is best suited to pack bags and set off to a new destination.

Buy winter jackets at Amazon: http://amzn.to/2f9b1A3

“I love travelling during the winter. I take off to the mountains. The biting cold seems to open up all my senses and makes them sharper,” said Singh, an avid traveler.

“Be it para-gliding, trekking or bunjee jumping, I do it all. My wife and friends are game for it. Winter certainly is the best time for such adventure.”

Winter travelers are by no means rare species anymore. Be it Leh or Patnitop or Gulmarg, travelers find their way.

With all the adventure sports, travelling in winters has become more thrilling and exciting. This might be the reason why men along with their families are attracted to snow filled mountains.

The travel industry is exploiting the season with attractive packages.

“A winter break has become almost as mandatory for Indians as vacationing in the summer. In fact, Indians have started exploring not only domestic but also, international destinations during the shorter winter break,” Sharat Dhall, president of Yatra.com said.

The popular travel portal claimed that its bookings raised 132 percent more than the previous winter season.

Ranjeet Oak, Chief Business Officer-Holidays of MakeMyTrip.com added: “Winter tourism as a concept has picked up in India.

“With the growing popularity of adventure tourism in India, winter snow sports have become a hot tourist attraction. Gulmarg (Kashmir) is considered one of the best skiing destinations in the world.”

Interesting packages like “Alluring Gangtok” (starting from Rs.10,650) to “Manali Super Saver” (starting from Rs.5,999) and “Hilly Escapades in Himachal” (starting from Rs.10,900) are offered by Yatra.com to allure travelers.

The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) acknowledges that winter is the best season for the tourism industry’s growth.

Assocham secretary general D S Rawat told that winters were ideally the best season across India.

As per Assocham estimates, over 15 lakh domestic and foreign travelers have visited winter attractions across India(December-February).

Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh captivated the most number of tourists.

Adventure travel is the biggest attraction among couples.

Hari Nair, founder and CEO of Holiday IQ, said 52 percent of adventure travel business goes to couple-travelers. Families comprise 21 percent and only nine percent are single tourists.

The top 10 winter activities included trekking, wildlife safaris, paragliding, skiing, rock climbing, jet skiing, river rafting and surfing, he added.

So get ready because winters have a lot in the bag for you! (IANS) (Image source: happytrips.com)(Kavita Bajeli-Datt can be contacted at kavita.bajeli@gmail.com)

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5 adventure sports in Dubai you can not miss

To miss out on these adventure and thrilling sports is loss. Give yourself a relaxing and life thrilling experience in Dubai by indulging in these adventure sports.

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Adventure sports in Dubai
Dubai, a place where you can experience all adventure sports (Pexels)

With the shimmering lights of the Burj Khalifa and the famous Pam Jumeriah Island Dubai has been lately attracting a lot of people around the world. Not only these but also a number of extreme sports in Dubai is creating as sensation of chill and thrill among the people. Dubai has never failed to win over many hearts through its mesmerizing architectural buildings which gets lit as the sun sets by. A land with the towering skyscrapers, warm seas and endless deserts you will never have enough of this place.

Dubai offers you a list of various adventure sports to bring out the fears within you. So bring out the daredevil in you as you try some of the most satisfying activities in Dubai. Each location in Dubai has something special for you. Feel the thrill and pump up the adrenaline as you try out the exhilarating dune bashing. Try bungee jumping from the highest feet like you have never imagined before. This time make your summer the most exciting and memorable one with these amazing activities.

Here are 5 adventure sports that will give you an adrenaline rush to your spines.

  1. Skydiving
unotours.com

Dubai has been one of the best destination place not only for me but for everyone for adventure sports. Skydiving in Dubai is famous as it covers the beautiful Dubai skyline as you dive through the sky. It’s the ultimate adrenaline rush. This activity can be done all year round. Feel the thrill of the wind speeding through your entire body. With all the necessary training and safety instructions given by a qualified and professional instructor before you take your flight, and with all the equipment provided this experience leaves you breathless but smiling from ear to ear. Skydive Dubai is located near the luxurious man-made island, The Palm Jumeirah, and the Dubai Marina.

  1. Sea Kayaking
Time Out Dubai

With access to relatively gentle waters all year round, kayaking is a burgeoning sport that’s captured the imagination of the UAE’s fun-seekers. With regularly organized trips, great scenic spots and no lack of fellow enthusiasts, kayaking can get you into shape in a fun and friendly way. There are essentially three kinds of kayaks; the closed deck, the ‘sit-on-top’ and the inflatable. The sport uses a lot of upper body muscles, so it’s great for anyone looking to gain strength in that area. Single capacity kayaks range from around Dhs2,500 to Dhs4,000.

  1. Bungee Jumping
Emirates 24|7

When in Dubai, bungee jumping is one of adventure sport activity you cannot miss out on. You can try out your adventure skills in several locations in Dubai and some of them are at the Gravity Zone, it specializes in adventure activities like this. Bungee jumps are also popular in Dubai Kartdrome in Motor City. The place has attracted for 500 jumpers since its inception in 2012. You can experience a jump of over 50 meters and you need to ensure you are not above 120 kg for this activity. Bungee Jumping is located at Gravity Zone and Motor City. Single jump can be availed at 339 AED and a Tandem Jump will be priced at 499 AED depending on the location of the activity.

  1. Scuba Diving
Dubai City Info

Scuba diving in Dubai gives you the opportunity to explore the underwater life of the sea animals in the Arabian Gulf. Rich in bio-diversity, it is a home to several species of fishes and is a paradise for underwater photographers. Several hotels, as well as tour agencies, have scuba diving packages for scuba diving novices and professionals too. Explore the lagoon’s stunning underwater world, home to 65,000 marine habitats. A view where you get to see live rays, sharks, and shoals of exotic fish as you drift around the phony ruins. As Dubai has no natural diving location, the Gulf is the only diving location used by many companies and schools. Approximate price for scuba diving ranges from 150 AED to 200 AED depending on the level applied for from advanced to beginners.

  1. Zip Lining
Time Out Dubai

Dubai has the world record in the longest zip lining activity. It is 1800 feet above the Dubai fountains, which takes 40 seconds to complete a zip line, at a speed of 60-70kmph. You must be at least 10 years of age and 130cm tall if you want to take part in it. It starts from Emaar Boulevard, a 90-metre long residential building and ends on the top of the Dubai Mall. You come across various iconic structures and breathtaking views of the city as you fly by.

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Can India Emerge As The Global Seat of Spiritual Tourism?

A walk into the lanes of India will expose you to the religious multiplicity of the country. And people from all faiths and walks of life are now flocking to the country to be a part of this mystical experience

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spiritual tourism
Religion comprises a major binding attribute in India. Pixabay

New Delhi, September 25, 2017 : A walk into the lanes of India will expose you to the religious multiplicity of the country. In every two blocks, you are certain to discover idolization of God, in almost all conceivable forms – a temple, a church, a mosque or a Gurudwara.  And people from all faiths and walks of life are now flocking to the country to be a part of this mystical experience.

India : A Confluence of Diverse Cultures and Religions

One is bound of find millions of devotees from the southern part of India taking pilgrimage to religious centres in the north like Amarnath, Ayodhya, and Haridwar, while an equal number of north Indian’s visit holy shrines of Madurai, Rameshwaram and Tirupati down South.

Bodh Gaya in Bihar is the Mecca for Buddhists from around the world and witnesses multitudes of local and foreign travelers every year.

Along with Buddhist and Hindu shrines, India is also home to the Golden temple that hosts the entire Sikh diaspora, along with prominent places of interest for Christians and Muslims like the 15th century Goan cathedrals from the Portuguese era and the world-celebrated dargah of Moinudeen Chisti of Ajmer Shariff in Rajasthan.

Thus, thousands of national and international devotees travel across the country in a conquest of spiritual bliss.

Religion comprises a major binding attribute in India. Being the birthplace of four of the dominant religions practiced around the globe and the platform for the evolution and subsequent spread of Buddhist philosophies, India has now emerged as one of the greatest attractions for religious and spiritual tourism.

spiritual tourism
India has emerged as one of the greatest attractions for religious and spiritual tourism. Pixabay

There is no doubt that Indians, irrespective of their faiths, thrive on religion. Additionally, there’s a natural curiosity in the Western world about different religious and spiritual history. It would not be wrong to say that we’re all looking for something; whether it is cultural exchange or religious or spiritual growth. This quest for answers about a larger understanding of life leads people on the path of spirituality. So is evident from the large troops of international tourists in traditional saffron kurtis and rudraksh rosary flocking the temples of Vrindavan and Varanasi, keeping up with the practices and rituals performed by equally enthusiastic locals.

5 Reasons Why Travelers Increasingly Choose India for A Spiritual Voyage

  1. Wide confluence of cultures

In India, one is bound to find an assortment of people from all parts of the world, belonging to different faiths, cultures and traditions, treading on a common spiritual path of ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam’ which means the entire world is one family.

  1. Broadening your perspective

With meditation sessions in the morning and the evening, and comprehensive treks during the day, spiritual tourists can unravel and explore India’s rich culture and spiritual history. The spiritual tours present one with ample time to meditate and reflect on our own actions, while at the same time become one with nature and enjoy the tranquility in the surroundings.

  1. Remarkable rituals

As you visit the different spiritual centres of India, you are faced with exquisite Indian rituals that offer great learning experiences to the seekers of spiritual wisdom. The rituals bring to light the unity within the diverse traditions and cultures of India.

  1. Intriguing history

The multiple spiritual destinations of India present a range of historical relevance. Places like Haridwar, Varanasi, Madhurai, and Puri among others – every city offers its own intriguing tales, mythologies and legends to learn from.

  1. Highly educating

From the mighty Himalayas to the scores of temples, churches, mosques and shrines – the spiritual retreats to different parts of India are immensely educational, each offering lessons on harmony, and spiritual clarity and maturity.

God resides in every nook and corner of India. Thus, with the consideration of innovation saturating into every sector, it was not long before the $40 billion religion and spirituality realm became a flourishing business domain.

Advancing Spiritual Tourism in India

Advancement in technology created a thriving space in India for start-ups that operate with a specific purpose to make everything available to people within the comforts of their home- be it booking tickets or ordering food.

In this age of technology, mobile apps for e-darshan (e-worship) have been popular for a long while. However, these right-at-your-doorstep services still fail to largely replace the charm and faith reposed in the practice of visiting various spiritual places in person.

This is where spiritual tourism comes into play – A lucrative business that aids travel agents in making bucks by designing elaborate and exclusive tour packages.

According to a report published in Economic Times, it was revealed that over 53% people were interested to opt for a pilgrimage if the package was provided by a recognized tour operator.

ALSO READ BBC Plans to Showcase Documentaries on Hinduism, will Explore Faith and Ethical Issues

“Indians are increasingly seeking a pre-organized, pre-planned and comfortable spiritual experience” -Vishal Suri, managing director SOTC travel, the first travel service provider to provide 40 specially-curated itineraries to map 60 different religious attractions in India.

This trend of religious and spiritual tourism has also been observed by international hotel chains like Hyatt hotels and resorts and the Hilton group, that are now undertaking projects to map spiritual destinations as they come on global radar.

Reflecting on the persisting movement, the Central government is also undertaking measures to bring India to the centre of theology. This will be reflected in the ‘Incredible India 2.0 campaign’– the government’s marketing initiative to promote India as an ideal destination for global spiritual audiences.

The ‘Incredible India 2.0 campaign’, set to be launched formally on September 27 to mark the World Tourism Day, aims to highlight India’s spirituality and wellness traditions.

Rishikesh, for instance, along with offering ‘adhyatm’ (self study) to the tourists will also allow them to enroll for traditional wellness programmes. Similarly, Kerala will also establish itself as the seat of ancient ayurvedic healing systems, along with promotions of its natural beauty and ornamental temples.

The global tourism industry has been witnessing a revolution for over 30 years now. Terms such as eco tourism, responsible tourism, and even volun-tourism have become common trends and become a part of common usage now.

The emerging trend of spiritual tourism is largely being cited as the fastest growing sector in the whole tourism business.

According to statistics by the National Tour Association, faith-based travel comprises a $100 billion worldwide industry, with religious destinations hosting about 330 million visitors annually.

Spiritual tourism is a trend spiraling upwards, so much so that it is increasingly being taken up not just by state tourism authorities but also governments and even the United Nations!

The UNWTO, United Nations’ agency responsible for global tourism-recognized the growing importance of spiritual tourism as it convened the 1st International Conference on Spiritual Tourism for Sustainable Development in Vietnam.

Setbacks for Spiritual Tourism in India

While India hosts the holy shrines of a variety of faiths and religions, the picture is not as rosy as it appears.

The major religious destinations in India are infamous for lack of hygiene, money-mongering, lack of basic infrastructure for food, medicine, accommodation, transport, and road, etc. These entire factors together hinder the states from exercising the ultimate potential of the religious and spiritual destinations.

This can only be achieved if special emphasis is placed on the development of infrastructure, awareness, education, and training.

ALSO READ These 5 Ancient Temples are Believed to be the Oldest in India

Also called upon are efforts on behalf of the state and Centre governments to indulge in aggressive PR and branding exercise, reaching out to travelers and make these destinations more travel-friendly.

With both of these agendas on the mind of the government, the tourism landscape can be expected to undergo radicalization.

What remains to be seen is if India, the land where people from all across the world are seen to participate in spiritual tourism, for getting inner peace and attaining moksha, emerges as the seat of spiritual tourism.

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Travel and Tourism Fair in Kolkata aims at Exploiting Huge Travel and Tourism Potential in the Country

The three-day long fair would provide a platform to 400 vendors from 28 states and 13 countries

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Travel and tourism Fair
Travel and tourism Fair, Kolkata. wikimedia
  • The fair has experienced a growth of 10 percent in terms of number of participants and revenue, compared to last year
  • Kolkata serves as a strategically important gateway for the industry, considering the increasing importance of Outbound and Inbound potential in the East and Southeast Asia
  • Pavilions have been set up by six foreign countries in TTF Kolkata at the level of their National Tourism Organisations

Kolkata, July 7, 2017: Travel and Tourism Fair in Kolkata is one of the leading travel trade shows in the country. The fair that aims at exploiting the huge travel and tourism potential in Eastern India started off on July 7.

The three-day long fair would provide a platform to 400 vendors from 28 states and 13 countries. The fair has experienced a growth of 10 per cent in terms of the number of participants and revenue, compared to last year, West Bengal Tourism Secretary Manish Jain told the reporters after the inauguration of the fair.

West Bengal Tourism Minister Goutam Deb was not present on the occasion, but welcoming all participants, he said in a message, “With tourism being a priority sector in the state, West Bengal is looking forward to TTF Kolkata, which I hope will have the presence of many national and international tourism stakeholders. This will surely help in promoting tourism in the region.”

According to Sanjiv Agarwal, Chairman and CEO of the organizers Fairfest Media Ltd, Kolkata serves as a strategically important gateway for the industry, considering the increasing importance of Outbound and Inbound potential in the East and Southeast Asia.
TTF Kolkata has kept up a steady growth and has been signaling positive sentiments in the travel trade, despite the headwinds due to demonetization and uncertainties of the GST regime from July 1, 2017, he added.

He also mentioned that Kolkata, which often grabs the spot of the third wealthiest city in India after Mumbai and Delhi, has had a unique tradition of taking domestic and outbound trips in large numbers especially during the puja holidays.

According to PTI reports, 24 States are taking part in the TTF Kolkata with their official pavilions. The biggest state pavilions included West Bengal as the Host State, while Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh were Partner States. The list of feature states includes Kerala, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Andaman and Nicobar, Delhi and Jharkhand.

A large number of participants from Haryana, Odisha, Punjab, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh will be present at the fair as well.

Pavillions have been set up by six foreign countries in TTF Kolkata at the level of their National Tourism Organisations.

For the very first time, SRI LANKA Tourism is participating in the fair with a huge pavilion, with more than a dozen of hotels and operators from the country.

Other foreign countries like Bangladsh, China, Macao, Nepal and Thailand are participating at the level of their National Tourism Organisations.

Additionally, the TTF has feathers added by private sector participants from Bhutan, Canada, Japan, Myanmar, UAE and USA this year as well.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang