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GoAir announces expansion to UAE, plans new flights to Sharjah

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January: Budget Indian carrier GoAir earlier on Thursday, December 31, 2020, had announced expanding its services with the UAE. The expansion will take place as the airline will launch new flights to Sharjah from Mumbai, Delhi, Kannur and Kochi. The flights have begun from the 1st of January 2021.

However currently, the flights to the United Arab Emirates are operated only under the air bubble arrangements between the two countries. The regular air activities have been put to suspension since March 23 last year in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Under the arrangement, the flight are to Dubai in the UAE. GoAir, in its official statement, said that under the air bubble arrangement only, the air carrier will commence scheduled direct flights to and from the 4 states Mumbai, Kannur, Kochi and Delhi to Sharjah effective from January 1.

The CEO of the airline Kaushik Khona said, “We have seen an enthusiastic response from our passengers travelling between India and the UAE, and there is immense pent-up demand on the said route. This has encouraged us to strengthen the network by adding these services between India and Sharjah.”

Also read: International flights: India lifts ban on UK flights, issues strict restrictions

starting at Rs 11,560, the airline is offering a special introductory return fare for the flights on India Sharjah sector. In order to facilitate the travel of the passengers, India has so far made Air Bubble Arrangements with more than 22 countries.

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Tripura government aims recovery with Agartala Tourism Festival

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January: Giving a hope to provide a reviving tourism, the 5 day Agartala Tourism Festival undergoing at the Swami Vivekananda Maidan in Agartala has been attracting several visitors. Beginning on the 9th January, it was an initiative by the Tripura government aiming to boost the state tourism.

Several mind-refreshing activities have been taking place for the tourist under the festival. Rock climbing, hot air balloon rides, archery, ziplining, jet skiing and rope climbing were available for the tourists.

Spending a day at the festival, Tourism Minister Pranajit Singha Roy said, “Tripura is a small state but it is blessed with several natural gifts. This festival is part of the government’s efforts to make Tripura a tourist hub.”

Also read: Goa’s Aguada jail revamped as a tourist spot, to showcase the state’s liberation struggle

Quoting the experience, a tourist said, “I am really glad to see such events taking place in Tripura. This is the first time we have had a festival for adventure sports. I’m sure that this will attract more tourists to our state.” Another tourist expressed, “We are so glad that we can come out and participate in this festival after the Covid-19. The tourism sector and the economy are in bad shape, so this is a good initiative by the government to start the recovery process.”

The widespread coronavirus has snatched the tourism opportunities amongst those many in the past year. However, with the unlocking phase taking place, the states, brands and several industries are hoping to have an improved scenario gradually.

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Madhya Pradesh wishes to implement Kerala’s responsible tourism model

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January: Walking over the footsteps of Kerala’s successful responsible tourism, Madhya Pradesh government wishes to implement the model in the state. The government aims at developing the local communities and village, lessen poverty and also to give emphasis to women empowerment. The Kerala Tourism department quoted on Sunday that a Memorandum of Understanding will be formed between the 2 states over this development on 13 January.

A high-level 13 member delegation will arrive on January 12, led by Madhya Pradesh Tourism minister Usha Thakur. They will be taking a 7-day tour to various spots in order to understand the RT mission model. State Tourism Secretary Rani George said that the Kerala mission has established 20,000 units with 1,09,000 beneficiaries and has given the local population an income of Rs. 38 crore from the tourism sector only.

The mission was launched in 2017 and it is the nodal agency to spread and implement the ideologies of responsible tourism across the state. Other than this, a Kerala delegation will also visit Madhya Pradesh to help implement the mission model.

Also read: Goa tourism suffers heavy losses due to covid, claims survey report

The MoU contains a 16-point programme for creation of a masterplan, developing, and training the human for the initiative, to locate sustainable tourism projects, formulating the social and economic security measures among others.

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said, “It’s gratifying to watch other states implementing the community-oriented and heritage-preserving responsible tourism mission activities of Kerala. Apart from Madhya Pradesh, many other states too have expressed their interest in the project.”

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Suriname proposes removal of permits, allowing visa free travel with India

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January: A small yet beautiful country in South America, Suriname has proposed to remove visa permits and promote ‘visa free travel’ between India and Suriname. President Chandrikapersal Santokhi on 8 January said that the country is ready to take the first initiating step to strengthen the bilateral bonds between the 2 countries. Expressing his wish, the President spoke on the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention organised by India on January 9.

This convention is organised every year by India to commemorate the Mahatma Gandhi arrived in India. This year, amid the covid scare, the event took place virtually. On the occasion, Suriname’s India origin leader also spoke at the external affairs ministry’s flagship event in Bhojpuri dialect.

Santokhi also quoted that Suriname is preparing to take the step in doing so by ending visa permits for visitors from India to Suriname. The president further said that the country diaspora has been a crucial part of India’s soft power and also, India is an integral part of Suriname’s soft power. The president is allowing free movement between the two countries and believes that this step will bring prosperity and add to various sectors including education and science.

Also read: In a first, Air India Express deploys robotic technology to disinfect aircraft

The president said, “The importance of the Indian diaspora can and must be one of the mutual benefits. If we approach the opportunities in this way, we can achieve great things for our countries. In this interconnected world we all live in, we value international relationships based on respect and mutual benefits.”

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