Sita-tional Tourism: India and Nepal's Ramayana Revolution

Sita-tional Tourism: India and Nepal's Ramayana Revolution

By Author

Published on September 29, 2023

In a significant move to enhance tourism and strengthen bilateral ties between India and Nepal, the proposed Ramayana Circuit is set to play a pivotal role. The circuit, part of the Swadesh Darshan scheme by the Indian government's Ministry of Tourism, encompasses major pilgrimage sites in both countries associated with the era of Ramayana.

Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Naveen Srivastava, emphasised the circuit's potential to boost Indian tourism to Nepal. Speaking at an event organised by the Pokhara Tourism Council on Tourism Day 2023 in Pokhara, Ambassador Srivastava highlighted how the Ramayana Circuit acts as a bridge between the two nations. Last year, a Ramayana Train visited Nepal's Janakpur, promoting Indian tourism to the region. Furthermore, the railways connecting Janakpur-Kurtha-Bijulpura are expected to increase the influx of tourists.

The circuit encompasses renowned pilgrimage destinations such as Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh, where a temple dedicated to Lord Ram is under construction, and Janakpur in Nepal, believed to be the birthplace of Sita, Lord Ram's consort. This initiative marks one of the 15 thematic circuits identified for development under the Swadesh Darshan scheme.

Additionally, the India-Nepal development partnership has gained momentum, with efforts to increase electricity imports to India from Nepal to 10,000 MW over the next decade. An additional 180 MW of electricity export to India has been approved, allowing Nepal to export 631 MW of power to India. This partnership has also seen enhancements in people-to-people connectivity, including the operationalization of the Kurtha-Bijalpura rail link and community development projects facilitated by Indian grants.

The Ramayana Circuit not only promises to enhance spiritual and cultural tourism but also fosters stronger ties between India and Nepal. As both nations work together to develop and promote these pilgrimage sites, it is expected that tourism will play a vital role in boosting the economies and cultural exchange between the two countries.


Maldives Steps Up Efforts to Attract Indian Tourists with Road Shows

Maldives Steps Up Efforts to Attract Indian Tourists with Road Shows

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 15, 2024

The Maldives tourism sector, once a top choice for Indian holidaymakers, is making concerted efforts to win back travellers from India. This push comes after the island nation observed a significant decline in Indian visitors, spurred by a social media incident where Maldivian officials made derogatory comments about India and its Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The Maldives Association of Travel Agents and Tour Operators (MATATO) is spearheading this initiative by planning to conduct road shows in several major Indian cities. These events aim to mend ties and promote the Maldives as an ideal vacation spot. In addition, MATATO has expressed a desire to enhance tourism collaboration with India during discussions with India's high commissioner in the Maldives, Munu Mahawar.

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Despite traditionally being one of the Maldives' largest tourist markets, India recently fell to the sixth position in terms of visitor numbers, overtaken by countries like China and the United Kingdom. To address this, MATATO is not only focusing on road shows but also planning influencer and media familiarisation trips in the upcoming months.

This renewed focus on attracting Indian tourists is part of a broader strategy to strengthen bilateral ties and boost the tourism sector, which is crucial for the Maldives' economy. The initiative reflects both nations' interests in maintaining strong travel and tourism relations, despite recent political tensions.


Philippines Eyes Seven Accolades at World Travel Awards 2024

Philippines Eyes Seven Accolades at World Travel Awards 2024

By Nithyakala Neelakandan

Published on April 15, 2024

The Philippines is once again in the spotlight as it competes for seven prestigious awards at the World Travel Awards (WTA) 2024, reaffirming its status as a top destination in Asia and beyond.

This year, the country is nominated for Asia’s Leading Beach Destination, Dive Destination, and Island Destination, showcasing its diverse array of natural wonders and attractions. Additionally, iconic landmarks such as Intramuros, Boracay, and Cebu have received nominations in various categories, highlighting their cultural significance and tourism appeal.

Expressing gratitude for the nominations, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco emphasized the importance of showcasing the Philippines' diverse tourism offerings on the global stage. She highlighted the significance of these accolades in not only adding prestige but also creating livelihood opportunities for millions of Filipinos whose well-being depends on tourism.

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The Philippines' tourism achievements in 2023 were noteworthy, with several recognitions from the WTA, including the World’s Leading Dive Destination and the World’s Leading City Destination. The country also received the Global Tourism Resilience award, underscoring its leadership and innovation in overcoming challenges and adversity in the industry.

As the voting for the WTA continues until July 28, travelers and industry professionals have the opportunity to support the Philippines' outstanding tourism initiatives and contribute to its sustained growth in the tourism sector. By casting their votes, they can play a vital role in promoting the Philippines as a premier travel destination and showcasing its rich cultural heritage, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality to the world.

With its rich natural beauty, diverse attractions, and vibrant culture, the Philippines remains a top contender in the global tourism landscape, poised to capture the hearts of travelers worldwide and solidify its position as an unrivaled destination for unforgettable experiences and adventures.


Surge in Pilgrims Anticipated in Uttar Pradesh Ahead of Festival Season

Surge in Pilgrims Anticipated in Uttar Pradesh Ahead of Festival Season

By Nishang Narayan

Published on April 14, 2024

As Uttar Pradesh gears up for the festive season, religious tourism is seeing a notable revival. Cities like Varanasi, Ayodhya, and Mathura are at the forefront, preparing to host millions of pilgrims for events such as Ram Navami and Navratri. Varanasi alone witnessed a staggering 95.63 lakh pilgrims in March, predominantly for darshan at the Kashi Vishwanath Temple.

The state's tourism infrastructure is under significant enhancement to accommodate this surge. The recent inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor has already increased visitor numbers, with donations to the temple reaching new heights. Similarly, the new Ram Lalla Temple in Ayodhya, following the consecration of the Ram Lalla idol, is attracting a daily average of over two lakh visitors.

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The increase in pilgrims has also been supported by improved air connectivity, with Ayodhya now offering 24 daily flights, including new routes to major cities like Hyderabad and Mumbai. These developments have not only facilitated easier access for devotees but also spurred economic growth in the region.

Local markets are expected to benefit significantly from the influx of tourists, particularly through the One District One Product (ODOP) initiative, which promotes local crafts and specialties. This surge in tourism is anticipated to create numerous indirect employment opportunities, enhancing the livelihoods of the local populace.

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As the state continues to develop its religious tourism infrastructure, including the construction of the Mathura-Vrindavan Corridor, the potential for cultural exchange and economic prosperity appears promising. This holistic approach aims not only to enhance the spiritual experience for visitors but also to foster community development and empowerment across Uttar Pradesh.

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