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South Africa to lure Indian tourists by faster visa process: Minister

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New Delhi: South Africa is keen to employ latest information technology (IT) and other facilities to hasten the visa issuance process to attract more Indian tourists and businesses to the country, a visiting minister has said.

South African Minister of Home Affairs M. Gigaba said his country is keen and ready to cater to more Indian tourists and businesses.

“India is a fast growing economy and South Africa is ready to partner with it. We are ready to serve more Indian businesses and welcome more Indian tourists to South Africa,” the minister told IANS at the South African High Commission here.

“South Africa has the best of infrastructure, best of facilities for business in the whole of Africa. It can cater to Indian businesses which are looking at entering the African continent. The country also has abundant natural resources.”

According to the minister, as a member of the BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), South Africa has provided to Indian businessmen the facility to obtain a 10-year multiple entry visa.

“We have provided the 10-year multiple entry business visas. We are also looking at employing latest IT technologies that can ease the visa facilitation process and allow faster processing of visas for tourists and businessmen,” the minister explained.Rekha-Indian-Tourist-1

The South African minister is in India to meet his counterpart, Rajnath Singh, to discuss bilateral issues and the new visa policy between the two countries.

Currently, India is the third largest market in Asia, and seventh globally, for South Africa. The changes in the new visa policy are expected to have a major effect on tourism and on business growth in both the countries.

“We expect the number of Indian visitors to South Africa to grow. But even if it dips in the first year of the new regulations on visa norms being implemented, it won’t be a major concern. People take time to adjust to the new policy and norms,” the minister said.

“The reason behind the new visa regulations is to have a secure system in which no one is allowed to abuse the South African visa and immigration policies. This is to enhance safety, stop trafficking, and promote trust in travellers when they come to South Africa,” he said.

The minister also pointed out the various security threats emanating out of a loose visa system, like travel on false documents, child trafficking and promotion of illegal trades.

The South African government has come under criticism over its new immigration regulations, which came into effect from October 1, 2014.

The new rules require tourists to appear “in person” during the visa application process in order to obtain a biometric visa.

There is also the requirement for all children under the age of 18, travelling to and from South Africa, to carry the copy of an unabridged birth certificate in addition to their passport and visa. This regulation came into force from June 1, 2015.

Observers say the problem with the new system arose due to the lack of infrastructure to process the new set of data in visa applications.

However, the minister claims that the new infrastructure has been created especially in India, where the number of visa facilitation centres has grown from two to 11, and that more can be added if and when required.

“We will provide more facilities, more staff, and use new technologies to process the applications faster as and when the demand requires. I will be visiting the facilitation centres here in India and see them function,” the minister said.

In 2013, 128,179 Indian tourists visited South Africa, while the number dropped to 117,511 in 2014. (IANS)

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Planning to move Abroad for Higher Education? Here is a list of 5 Most Affordable Destinations to Study Abroad

Here is a list of some of the most affordable destinations to study abroad!

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affordable destinations to study abroad
Choosing to study abroad can be a tough call, and you must consider all factors before you make a decision. Pixabay

Planning to move abroad for higher education?

Access to education is one of the most basic rights of people across the world. However, when it comes to pursuing higher education from international universities, it seems like there are only a few who can afford to study at a destination of your choice.

While the thought of moving abroad and living in a new place with people from different faiths and nationalities can be extremely exciting, there are a few things you must responsibly think about before you take a final decision. The cost of tuition fees, food bills, rent are some of the important aspects to think about and plan before making a call.

Still, living abroad doesn’t come cheap. Wondering about affordable destinations to study abroad? We have got you covered!

 1. GERMANY

With more than 350 universities and institutions offering over 800 courses to make a choice from, Germany makes one of the better and affordable destinations to study abroad. As an emerging education destination, Germany has witnessed an increasing trend of international students with as much as a 14 per cent increase between 2013 and 2015.

Germany is believed to have some of the best academic infrastructures in the world that focus not only on education, but holistic development of the student. The country is also considered to be the one of the top countries to attain specialization in disciplines relating to engineering and technology.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of Germany. Pixabay

While knowing a new language is always a benefit, students need not know German for courses opted in English.

Despite being a nation in central-Europe, the cost of living in Germany is surprisingly low when compared to other European countries. According to data available on the internet, Germany has a lower cost of living than Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

As per information by the German Academic Exchange Service, international students are believed to spend about 725 Euros as part of their daily expenses while local students spend about 864 for their expenses.

Apart from low sustenance costs, German universities have little to no tuition fees which make them an attractive choice as one of the affordable destinations to study abroad.

 2. FINLAND

The Finnish education system has been ranked as one of the best in the world. The country offers a wide variety of courses to choose from and a student can go to Finland as a student for a complete academic degree, an exchange student or as a trainee.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of Finland. Pixabay

Regardless of your nationality, students are exempted from paying tuition fees at Finnish Universities which makes the country a good choice for one of the most affordable destinations to study abroad. However, there are some exceptions in case of a few master’s degrees and programmes.

Since all education costs are born by the Finnish government, students going to the country for Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees do not have any scholarship. However, students joining Finnish universities for doctoral studies and research can avail certain scholarships.

The country has a reputation for a high cost of living in comparison to other countries but Helsinki is suggested as the most affordable city in the region.

 3. NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand has a lot to offer to international students. With cheaper cost of living than nearby places like Australia and reasonable tuition fees, New Zealand has emerged as one of the most affordable destinations to study abroad.

There are 8 universities in New Zealand that comprise a safe and welcoming community and offer high quality of education.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of New Zealand. Pixabay

The country has an extremely flexible education system that can comfortably match the budget of students and offers great value for money. International students can further avail several scholarships that are provided by the New Zealand government, foreign governments, educational institutions, and private sources.

There is no stipulated figure for the annual living expenses incurred by international students as that can vary depending upon the university chosen by every individual student. However, the New Zealand government suggests having up to 15,000 dollars to comfortably cover expenses during the first year of study.

 4. SOUTH AFRICA

South Africa is next on our list of most affordable destinations to study abroad.

Tuition fees in South Africa depend upon your choice of university and the education programme.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of South Africa. Pixabay

Nearly all higher education institutes in South Africa comprise of student support offices that help student find and settle into their chosen programmes and accommodations which are available both, on campus and within close proximity to the university campus.

The cost of living in South Africa is relatively low. As per data on the internet, students can estimate an expense of about 980 USD per month, which will include student’s accommodation, food expenses, bills and travel.

These lower costs mean students need not spend exorbitant prices during their student years, in comparison to expenses in other developed countries.

 5. CANADA

Canada has long been one of the preferred countries by people from all parts of the world, courtesy its warm and welcoming society. The country has fast emerged as a preferred location for international students too.

affordable destinations to study abroad
Flag of Canada. Pixabay

Apart from being extremely peaceful, safe and welcoming, Canada is known worldwide for its high standard of living and low cost of living for students.

Canada is known to have some of the cheapest tuition fees for international students when compared to other English-speaking universities. As per data available on the internet, international students bear an annual expense within the bracket of 20,000 to 30,000 Canadian dollars, which includes their tuition and living expenses.

Students enrolled in any Canadian university and aged between 18 and 25 can avail discounts when purchasing their monthly transport pass. Students need not spend much on food bills, either.

All these factors when combined together make Canada one of the most sought after and affordable destinations to study abroad.

Choosing to study abroad can be a tough call, and you must consider all factors before you make a decision. We wish you all the best!

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala

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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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Adventure activities in Ötztal (Austria) that every adventurist must give a shot

The Beauty and spirited aura of this place is what make tourists from different corners of the world, land here

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Ötztal, Austria
Alpine valley Ötztal, Austria. Pixabay

New Delhi, October 3, 2017: An alpine valley in the western Austrian state of Tyrol, the Ötztal is a well known tourist spot. People from around the globe go to the valley to witness the grace of nature and the adventure activities this place has to offer. The Beauty and spirited aura of this place is what make tourists from different corners of the world, land here.

Let’s take a look at the best adventure activities that this place has to offer:

River Rafting: Feel the stunning waves and give yourself the much desired adrenaline rush, while wearing a helmet, special shoes, and a life vest. Experience water like never before!

Adventure activities in Ötztal
Rafting. Pixabay

Biking and Cycling: The Ötztal with its wonderful terrain, is the most exciting place for passionate bikers and cyclists. Not to forget, The Ötztaler Cycle Marathon is one of the most awaited events for the adventurists.

Adventure activities in Ötztal
Biking. Pixabay

Hiking: If you’re a fan of walking, do not think twice and head to the Ötztal. Alpine footpaths, theme trials, lake hikes and what not?
Dear adventurist, The paradise awaits you!

Adventure activities in Ötztal
Hiking. Pixabay

Also read: 10 Things to do before you Die: The Ultimate Bucket List!

Horse Riding: With a vast range of horses, there’s high probability that you’ll find a friend for you to sit on and watch the beautiful landscapes of The Ötztal. Discover the passion for horse riding in you!

Adventure activities in Ötztal
Horse riding. Pixabay

Geocaching: What’s that? A GPS assisted treasure hunt. A geocache is a small hidden box which the hunter needs to find by entering its coordinates into a GPS device. Sounds fun, huh?

Adventure activities in Ötztal
Geocaching. Pixabay

-prepared by Samiksha Goel of NewsGram. Twitter @goel_samiksha