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South Africa to attract Indian tourists to boost tourism industry

Indians likely to travel African countries more after ease in Visa regulations

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Durban, South Africa Image: Wikimedia Commons
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South Africa has identified India as a key focus market for boosting tourism and it will shortly launch an aggressive campaign to attract tourists from there.

South African Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom announced this at the INDABA tourism fair here. He said that the country had received more than 80,000 Indian tourists last year and his ministry planned to dedicate to India a significant part of its advertising budget of nearly $8 million this year, with the objective of boosting significantly the arrivals from India.

“India has a huge potential and our challenge is to see what is needed in order for this market to grow and for us to get a fair share of the huge pool of Indian travellers,” Hanekom told this correspondent.

Indian in Africa Image : Wikimedia Commons
Indian in Africa
Image : Wikimedia Commons

He said Indian travellers felt at home in South Africa as they had a very large population of people of Indian origin, especially in Durban.

“Mahatma Gandhi had also lived here in Durban. Here, just like in India, we have different cultures and different religions living in harmony with one another,” he added.

INDABA, which means gathering in Zulu, has positioned itself as the largest tourism fair in the African continent and attracts participation from all African countries which come to display their new products and services, as tourism is an essential sector for creating employment as well as economic growth in the least developed continent in the world.

“The safari experience is certainly one of the key selling point of Africa. We don’t have the Taj Mahal or some of the incredible sites that you have in India, but here in South Africa, you can be guaranteed to see the Big 5 (Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Buffaloes and Leopards) in just one, single safari,” Hanekom said.

Tourism to South Africa and other African countries was severely hit by fears arising from the fresh outbreak of Ebola epidemic in West African nations of Liberia, Sierre Leone and Guinea. The market has begun to show signs of recovery, now that the outbreak has subsided.

The minister said that tourists’ fears were misplaced about contracting the virus in South Africa. “In fact, Europeans were much closer to where Ebola was happening than we were in South Africa,” Hanekom said.

Apart from a subsiding Ebola, Hanekom placed his hopes on boosting arrivals from India on the ease of visa regulations for Indians visiting South Africa. Earlier, the visa regulations were strict and it would take up to three weeks for getting permission to travel. In April this year, after Hanekom’s visit to India, the norms have been eased and visas should be easier and quicker to obtain for Indians.

“The problem is that our consulate and embassies were having difficulties in answering and handling the visa demands during the peak travel season in India and it often took up to three weeks for delivering visas. That is simply too long. I am convinced that if we manage to make the visa easier we can double the numbers in a couple of years,” Hanekom explained.

For many Indians, the country is also perceived as an elite and expensive destination just like European countries, but in recent months a weakening Rand has allowed more Indians to visit and spend more.

Another peculiarity of the Indian travellers is that they like to visit several countries on a trip. While in Europe and North America it is simpler due to visa-free travel between nations, it is still a challenge in Africa.

This point was a focus of discussions at the INDABA this year and various African countries have begun looking at how to facilitate such seamless travel in Africa. Hanekom admitted that security and instability issues in some African nations remained an important barrier to visa-free travel within the continent.

The minister also allayed fears of travellers that that some areas in South Africa were unsafe.

Hanneli Slabber, country manager of South Africa Tourism in India, said: “I guess you have to beware of pickpockets anywhere in the world. Indians visiting South Africa enjoy adventure and activities and they buy triple the amount of activities than those from other nations. Indian women are actually leading in terms of numbers and they like the country and feel safe.”

Bukhara Indian Restaurant, Stellenbosch, Africa Image: Wikimedia Commons
Bukhara Indian Restaurant, Stellenbosch, Africa
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Slabber said that now a lot of vegetarian options, including vegan and Jain food, are available in the country and there were several Indian restaurants. “Our cuisine is influenced by Indian curries as well and a lot of South Africans, not necessarily of Indian origin, can cook good Indian cuisine,” he added.

Indian cuisine in South Africa Source: Wikimedia Commons
South Africans selling Samosas and spring rolls
Source: Wikimedia Commons

However, in a blow to tourism from India, the national carrier, South African Airways, facing a shortage of aircraft, has stopped the only direct flights from India (Mumbai) to South Africa, forcing Indian tourists to go for alternatives like Emirates or Qatar with one-stop flights.(IANS)

 

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Here’s A List of Top 5 Gadgets of India in 2018

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Rs 57,900 is packed with rich features -- both for the workaholic and the lazy soul

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Top 5 gadgets that grabbed eyeballs in India in 2018. (IANS)

From high-end tablets to powerful cameras, the year 2018 saw some cool gadgets arriving in India. Here are the top 5 picks from the lot.

1. Apple Watch Series 4

Call it guardian of your health. If you are constantly worried about an elderly person in your family suffering a fall in the bathroom or in the garden, the Apple Watch Series 4 is what you need.

The device houses a feature called “Fall Detection” that will alert emergency contacts saved in your iPhone in case you meet with a hard fall.

The new Watch has an electrical heart sensor with two new features — low heart rate notifications and faster heart rate reading. The moment you get furious, Watch Series 4 sends you an immediate notification about your heart rate going through the roof, requiring you to cool down.

In the US, Apple Watch Series 4 will now help users take an electrocardiogram (ECG) right from their wrist and check irregular heart rhythms (hope these features come to India soon).

Apple Watch Series 4 is now available in India — the GPS+Cellular variant starts from Rs 49,900 and GPS-only model from Rs 40,900.

Apple Watch
Apple watch series 4.

2. Samsung Galaxy Tab S4

Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 for Rs 57,900 is packed with rich features — both for the workaholic and the lazy soul.

The 2-in-1 comes equipped with Samsung “DeX” (docking station) and S Pen, making it a perfect device for those who are always on the go and seek entertainment on the side.

The redesigned S Pen offers services like navigate, translate and organise notes — and even to send personalised texts via Samsung “Live Message”.

The device has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, runs Android 8.1 Oreo, has 4GB RAM in two 64GB and 256GB internal memory with microSD variants. There is a 13MP rear and 8MP front camera.

If you are a Samsung smartphone user, especially Note 9, and want the same experience on a bigger display, Galaxy Tab S4 is your default choice. Invest in a Book Cover Keyboard to give the tab a laptop-like form factor.

3. OnePlus 6T

Undoubtedly the flagship killer of the year in the Rs 30,000 – Rs 40,000 segment.

The company’s latest addition packs in all the goodness of OnePlus 6 along with meaningful upgrades such as the much-anticipated under-display fingerprint sensor, a smaller waterdrop-style notch and a bigger battery.

The 6T is OnePlus’ costliest smartphone so far with a price tag of Rs 37,999 (for the 6GB RAM and 128GB internal storage base variant). It is also available in a configuration of 8GB RAM+128GB storage and 8GB RAM+256GB storage for Rs 41,999 and Rs 45,999, respectively.

OnePlus has brought a slew of meaningful upgrades to the 6T and the phone definitely looks and feels better this time. Topped with a bigger battery and some hardware improvements, OnePlus 6T makes for a highly desirable smartphone in the premium category.

4. Amazon Echo Plus (2nd Gen)

The Rs 14,999 All-New Echo Plus (2nd Gen) with a smarter Alexa comes with a built-in smart hub that helps you set up compatible Zigbee-enabled smart home devices directly, just using your voice.

Just ask Alexa to discover your devices and begin controlling compatible lights, plugs, locks, thermostats, sensors and in-wall switches.

With seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, Echo Plus will hear you from all directions.

One feature that is worth mentioning is the equaliser (EQ) feature that allows users to personalise sounds by adjusting the bass, mid-range and treble.

Just ask Alexa to increase or decrease a specific band like “turn up the bass” or “decrease the treble” and she does it for you.

The second-generation Echo Plus with a far more intelligent Alexa is a real upgrade if you have experienced the first generation Echo.

Google , US, Alexa
With seven microphones, beam-forming technology and noise cancellation, Echo Plus will hear you from all directions. Pixabay

5. Canon EOS R

The first full-frame mirrorless camera from Japanese camera maker Canon, the 30.3MP EOS R is the show stopper.

With the new EOS R, four types of RF mount adapters have been introduced to complete the EOS R ecosystem.

The EOS R features an electronic viewfinder. The camera is equipped with features like advanced Dual pixel CMOS AF, Digic 8 imaging processor, High density AF points positions, Multi-function slider bar, Flexible AE Mode and High speed data communication RF mount.

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The RF lens mount is a balance of optical, mechanical and electronic engineering excellence, enabling innovative full-frame lens designs, faster auto focus and high-speed communication between the camera and lens.

The 54mm diameter RF mount is what makes EOS R unique with its short back-focus of 20mm and 12-pin contact points for enhanced communication between the lens and body.

The camera costs Rs 189,950 and with the EOS R kit (RF24-105mm f/4L IS USM Lens), the price is Rs 278,945. (IANS)