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Tourism In India
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Tourists will soon enjoy the flavour of Rajputana style weddings in Gujarat</b>
Aneesha Sareen | Chandigarh
The ancient State of Gujarat is all set to lure tourists with the everlasting concept of royal weddings in heritage tourist spots and palaces and has special packages to offer keeping in view the fascinations of Non-Resident Indians and foreigners who come to India in large numbers, every year.

This was disclosed by adviser and travel planner from Gujarat JK Jhala, who was in the city to attend the 42nd Annual Convention of Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations (FHRAI).
Talking to the Pioneer on the sidelines of the convention, the travel adviser said that the State is ready to attract tourists the Rajasthani way, with weddings organised in royal palaces in complete 'Rajputana style'.

<b>"For these marriages vintage cars will be used and the ambience and the arrangements will transport you in the bygone era," he said.
He added that the proposal has already been approved and they have even started to receive orders from Non-Resident Indians.

"The foreigners are crazy for our culture and they are very enthusiastic about organising marriage in traditional Indian styles complete with all the requisite jewellery to get a feel of the ancient times," he said.

The palaces that have been roped in for the concept are Rajpipla Palace, which is just 20 kilometre from Narmada Dam, Gondal Palaces as well as the temples of Bhavnagar, he said. The package of the entire ceremony mounts to Rs 25 to 30 lakh and the concept will boost the tourism in country like anything</b>, he said.

Moreover,<b> a project of special transport on sea by the name of 'Palace on Sea' is already in the pipeline to promote tourism, he said. A coastal festival along the 1650 kilometre belt from Udvadha to Kanch Mandvi is also one of our proposed projects where hotels will line along the decorated beach,</b> he said.

In addition, plans are to divert tourists to Kutch desert to promote desert tourism in the State is on the anvil, he said.

This should be fun. <!--emo&Big Grin--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Brad Pitt fascinated by India</b>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New Delhi: Hollywood star Brad Pitt is so fascinated by India that he wants to come back, as he has "never seen a country like this".

"Absolutely. I'll come back for the film (A Mighty Heart that he has come here to shoot along with companion Angelina Jolie). It's really important to me. I hope we can pull it off well," he told a news channel on Saturday.

"I love Indian food - chicken masala, dal and naan. I just love it," he said.

Brad denied allegations that three bodyguards of Jolie had hurled racial abuses at parents and children at a school in south Mumbai where the film unit was shooting.
"It (shooting in India) was a great experience, the film is going to benefit for shooting here, I am very excited about it," he said.

He said he was so fascinated by the chaos and life in Pune that he bought a motorbike to explore the city for himself, also to give the paparazzi the slip.

<b>"I was so fascinated by the chaos, the traffic, different rules we have been having that I wanted to get out on the road. So I bought a helmet and was able to ride around quite peacefully. Bike is about freedom, a bike is about being by you," he said. </b>

Pitt said that he and Jolie had a great time in Goa and found the holy city of Varanasi truly amazing.

<b>"We had an amazing time in Varanasi. I have never seen anything like it; I have never seen a country like this. I told my friends, put this on your list, you must come here," he said. </b>
The Hollywood star said what impressed him most about the country was the number of people living together, living in harmony, along with the colours of the cities, the smell of the cities, their food and architecture.

<b>"Overall it's been an extraordinary trip for us which neither of us has ever been before. We loved Diwali,"</b> he said.

He also said he would very much like to be here for Holi, the other festival he had heard much about.

<b>Before leaving he said one souvenir that he is definitely carrying with him is the Indian kurta pajama (loose shirt and pyjamas), which he liked very much. </b>

In A Mighty Heart, shot in Pune and Mumbai for the last one month, Jolie plays the part of Mariane, wife of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan in 2002 while investigating Islamic militants in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US.

www.ibnlive.com/news/why-...552-8.html <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Incredible India goes tourist unfriendly </b>
Pioneer News Service | New Delhi \ Mumbai \ Agra
'Incredible India' has been popularised as a two-word crisp mantra to attract tourists from all over the world to the charms and fascination of a country that is trying to present an alluring package of the past and present. But disturbing news of a series of attacks on tourists shows 'Destination India' as a country with dangers lurking at every step.

The massive expenditure incurred by the Centre in popularising the 'Incredible India' brand has suddenly begun to lose its shine. While the stray incidents may not present a true picture of Indian hospitality and warmth, the horrifying images of lynching and assault on tourists could keep the wavering ones away at a time when the New Year has just set in.

Experts feel that safety is the foremost consideration for tourists and they carefully monitor news and websites to take a close view of the safety aspect before picking up any holiday package.

With the militants going for select attacks on tourists in Jammu & Kashmir to puncture claims of restoration of peace in the Valley, and al-Qaeda's threat lurking over the lure of Goa's beaches, sporadic attacks on the visitors in other parts of India could have a cumulative impact.

The way a British tourist was lynched by a mob at Raigarh in Maharashtra has sent shock waves. <b>The sexual assault on an Australian tourist in full public view at Gateway of India on the night of December 31 could turn out to be another dampener for the Union Tourism Ministry.</b>

Equally shocking is an attack on a tourist bus by Samajwadi Party workers on Thursday at Agra. The SP activists were protesting the execution of Saddam Hussein.

<b>They threw stones at the bus thinking it was carrying foreign tourists but inside were Indians from Goa who had come to see the Taj Mahal. Several tourists, who were on their way to the Taj after visiting Fatehpur Sikri, were injured and were seen cowering under their seats as SP workers shouted slogans against the US.</b>

While the incident was minor in nature , it has come at a time when Saddam Hussein's hanging has inflamed passion in a section of the people. <b>With politicians stoking the fire, the Agra incident is an ominous warning for foreign tourists</b>.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police has renewed investigations into the death of British tourist Stephen Bennett who was lynched by a mob of villagers when he allegedly tailed a woman at a remote area in Raigarh district, 210 km from Mumbai.

Deputy Inspector General of Maharashtra Police (Konkan Range) Satyapal Singh has said that the police were interrogating the woman, Nirmala Rane, once again to ascertain what exactly transpired between her and the British tourist before the Malasai villagers, including her husband and brother-in-law, beat him up.

"The murder took place on December 11 and not December 10, and those who killed the British national hanged the body on a tree in order to make it look like suicide," Singh said.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Raigarh, Madhukar Talpade told newspersons, apparently on the basis of a train ticket recovered from Bennett's pocket, that he boarded the Mandovi Express from Madgaon, Goa, on December 7, to travel up to Mumbai but got down at Roha on the way possibly to take a look at the villages in the Konkan area. "Seeing the foreigner, the woman, who had come out of her house to respond to nature's call early morning, went back and locked the door from inside," Talpade said.

"What was Stephen doing in the Konkan countryside for three days from December 7, including the intervening night of December 9 and 10 is not known, nor have the police clarified as to why they did not reveal the incident for so long a time. The renewed investigations will bring out all the facts," Singh said.

According to reports from London, Bennett, 40, a resident of Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, was on a holiday in India and was due to return to Cheltenham before Christmas.

There are two versions as to the circumstances leading to the incident. One version is that the husband and relatives of a woman beat Bennette to death, using sticks, after he allegedly molested the woman near her house in the early hours of December 10.

The other version is that the woman in question, seeing the British national, raised an alarm, giving rise to suspicion among her husband and others present inside the house that Bennette had misbehaved with her.

Bennette's body has been sent to his relatives in the United Kingdom, through the British embassy. A divorcee, Bennette used to live alone at Cheltenham in UK, while ex-wife is bringing up his two children in some other place, a report from London said.

In the Gateway of India case, the Mumbai police on Thursday detained five youngsters for questioning in connection with the molestation of a woman tourist.

he police went ahead and made detentions from Ghatkopar in north-east Mumbai, even though no formal complaint had been lodged with them in connection with the incident. The police initiated the action, after taking suo moto cognisance of photographs and a brief report about the incident published in a city afternoon newspaper.

One Rizwan Shaiekh (21) was among the youngsters detained by the police. He is seen among a group of people surrounding the women in one of the published pictures taken by the tabloid photographer during the new year-eve revelry witnessed at the Gateway of India. It was Rizwan who led the police to four other youngsters. 
<b>Travelocity launches travel portal in India</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Travelocity, an online travel portal, launched its website in India today and introduced its teams based in Delhi and Mumbai. The website will have on offer a choice of 72,000 hotels, 1000 cruises and over 4000 popular sights, tours and activities.

Travelocity wants to make India one its top third market in the Asia Pacific region and plans to promote the portal by search engine marketing and advertising through the mainstream media.

"We are bringing some clever marketing practices to this part of the world. There are alot of travel portals in the market but they merely put up plain content online. We however, will stand behind our customers and give them quality service," Scot Blume, CEO, Travelocity said.

The <b>domestic online travel industry is roughly about $800 million (around Rs 3,600 crore). </b>As per the estimates of Internet and Mobile Association of India, online travel transactions have increased nearly fourfold from 207,000 a month in 2003-04 to 795,000 in 2005-06.

The Indian online travel market already has players such as Makemytrip, Yatra, Travelguru and Cleartrip. Expedia, another international travel portal is planning to come to India later this year.

With internet usage growing at 50% per year, e-commerce projected to double by 2007, low-cost carriers making a way to India and the credit card market booming, industry experts peg the online travel market to touch the $2 billion mark by 2008<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>AGRO-TOURISM: GUESTS ARE WELCOME ON MY FARM! </b>

Shri Chandrashekhar Bhadsavale lives in a village called Neral, famous as an entry point to Matheran hill station, in Raigad district of Maharashtra. He is a technocrat, who returned from USA and turned farmer, just because his freedom-fighter father wished so. It has been more than 25 years since he took to farming and in the process he has given a new dimension to agriculture in terms of agro-tourism.

While cultivating his land in a conventional manner, Shri Bhadsavale found the hard truth that it does not offer good economic returns. So he turned towards cash crops and a series of new ventures into horticulture, floriculture and organic farming made him help in establishing a permanent infrastructure on his farm. And  dawned on him the idea of agro-tourism!

Agro-tourism refers to the act of visiting a working farm or any agricultural, horticultural or agribusiness operation for the purpose of enjoyment, education, or active involvement in the activities of the farm or operation. It synergizes both agriculture and tourism capitalizing on their best practices. Not a new idea, since it is already in practice in developed countries, but Shri Bhadsavale has given it an Indian touch.

Agro-tourism makes possible for you to visit the village in your dreams. Though people from cities long for being closer to nature, not many of them can do so because of various reasons. The idea behind agro-tourism is to make available to them this opportunity on the basis of equality. Here, the farmer himself organizes a mix of education and entertainment on his farm for the tourists. It could be in the form of educational tours, weekly bazaars, agricultural heritage festivals, commodity festivals and lots of other activities related to agriculture and village life. Agricultural tourism takes many forms, it could be the drive-by where tourists can just drive in and spend some time and farm stays, wherein people come and stay on farm for several days. The tourists can get the experience of rural ambience and rural life. Farmers get a sense of satisfaction from providing these experiences and get remuneration in return along with self-respect. It facilitates an exchange of values between tourists and farming community.

The government also has realized the importance of agro-tourism. The Planning Commission of India had constituted a Working Group for the formulation of Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007) on Tourism. It has accorded high priority to tourism as an instrument of employment generation and poverty alleviation in rural and backward areas by developing the potential of (a) agro tourism to supplement farm incomes, and (b) heritage tourism to promote village development.

Shri Bhadsavale’s experience suggests that it doesn’t require fortune to set up such farm. It essentially preserves and showcases the rural life and all you need is to take care of your farm a little carefully to cater to needs of visitors. What you need is the will-power to take the initiative, desire to entertain guests and most important, a diversified agricultural farm. Roads could be the way they are and there could be no worries about telephone and power facilities! Involving tourists in the unique rural activities like drawing water from the well, milking the cow, venturing into cart-rides, visiting tree houses etc. are part of the agro-tourism concept and can also work as effective stress busters for the urban tourist.

He cultivates almost all horticultural crops including fruits and vegetables on his farms organically. Tourists are informed about various agricultural activities along with agricultural implements and shown different farming practices like harvesting and processing. A tour can be organized for visitors to nearby tourist and religious places. Shri Bhadsavale has implemented innovative ideas like buffalo ride in water, which has become quite popular amongst foreign tourists and college students! He provides them food which is made of from locally available vegetables and thus providing them regional flavour. If interested, fresh vegetables, locally made handicraft and handloom items as well as food items are sold to these visitors as momento to cherish the memories of time they spent on his farm.

Appropriate location of the farm is a must for agro-tourism to succeed. If the farm is on highway and within reach from city then it will attract the attention of visitors. People can drive down from their home at weekends and spend the time at farm and reach back to their places. Research is critical for success, it is not a matter of putting up the sign, printing the brochure and expecting tourists will come! One reason why visitors like to stay with hosts on their properties is that they have access to host’s knowledge of local area. It is often effective if a group of farms work together to develop farm stays. A critical mass helps with hosting larger groups!

He has also used the water bodies in the area to showcase the aqua-culture to tourists. By constructing a pond-house and making it available to tourists for stay has opened up another area of income generation for the nearby farmers. Effective utilization of water in this way also enhances the beauty of the entire area. The activities built around these water bodies like catching fish with family, showing them different varieties of live fish, etc. helps in sustaining tourist’s interest.

Shri Bhadsavale was awarded Jagjivan Ram Kisan Puraskar 2004 by Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) for his innovative farming practices and for providing able leadership to the farming community in his vicinity. Every weekend nearly 30-40 tourists from nearby as well as far-flung areas throng his farm in order to experience rural life. This idea has now spread in other parts of Maharashtra as well and many farmers have started seeing it as income generation activity.

Today, there are closer links between agro-tourism and nature based or eco-tourism. Farms/regional centers offer outstanding scenery, national parks, nature reviews, wildlife, as well as heritage buildings. Sustainable habitat management is of increasing interest to a highly urbanized population and that’s why agro-tourism becomes important. Important for both such urbanized population and farmers. While recent National Sample Survey on Agriculture indicates the sad reality of younger generation being uninterested in taking up agriculture, agro-tourism could provide them an opportunity to turn back to their roots. And what could be the better way than this where you do your farming also and entertain guests as well!

<b>Visa on arrival? Nearly there...</b>

Ranjeet S Jamwal

NEW DELHI, Feb. 13: If the tourism ministry has its way, “visa on arrival” might soon become a reality in India.

As this would give a boost to arrival of foreign tourists in the country, the ministry is working on getting its proposal cleared from the home ministry, which is said to be giving the finishing touches.

“We hope to get clearance for the proposal (to grant visa on arrival) sooner rather than later,” a senior ministry official said. The ministry of external affairs has cleared the proposal.

Apart from the home ministry clearance to the proposal, the visa on arrival scheme also needs “the advanced passenger information system” in place for its implementation.

The APIS is an electronic database system that stores information about airline travellers.

The system provides searchable biographical and security information on travellers entering a country from a foreign location.

“The APIS is a must for us to grant visa on arrival. With this system we can have advance information regarding tourists arriving in the country. So, a visa can be granted or denied to a tourist on the basis of information provided,” a senior ministry official said.

The APIS is expected to come into operation at six major airports in the country by April and the visa on arrival scheme could become operational after the system comes into use.

It would help the authorities to verify the background of all in-bound tourists before they get the visa on arrival.

To begin with, the ministry plans to provide the visa on arrival facility to tourists from the 18 countries to whose citizens India has started giving five-year multiple entry visas on a trial basis.

Those countries include the USA, Japan, France, Germany, New Zealand, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Finland, South Korea, Vietnam, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and the UK. According to rough estimates, 10 million foreign tourists are expected to arrive in the country by 2010.
<!--emo&:ind--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/india.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='india.gif' /><!--endemo--> Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) managing director Ram Subhag Singh said under the 'home stay scheme' any villager can rent out a portion of his house to tourists.

"Today tourists do not want to remain cocooned in a five-star environment to which they are accustomed at home. Their actual requirement is rural tourism - the real experience of nature", Singh told IANS.

He says the scheme not only generates self-employment for people living in villages but will also de-congest urban areas.

The scheme will also check fleecing by hoteliers at popular tourist destinations during the peak season. Now, the budget tourist has the option to stay in private houses in villages located on the outskirts of the city.

There are so many India travel packages offered by India Tourism for foreigners all over India.In addition many private operators also offer many package deals. Tourists can travel to the places of historical and religious importance, explore cultural heritage, natural beauty and enjoy many outdoor sports activities like skiing in snow or mountaineering etc.
Indian tourism is now attracting more tourists from the global areas.And many of states have recognized the importance of the tourism industry for making better economical support for the country so they have started working upon it accordingly.

Thanks for the posting this valuable information.

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