Category Archives: Tourism

A date with Costa Cruises’s neoRieviera

December 7, 2018, Mumbai: Europe’s No 1 cruising company, Costa Cruises, is commenced its India season for the 3rd time with the arrival of its ship, Costa neoRiviera at the Mumbai International cruise terminal. The day turned out to be truly special when Costa Cruise hosted a DATE with media and bloggers on the Cruise itself, which provided us with some very interesting insights. For me, this was the first time I had seen the ship with such close quarters as we were taken for the entire tour of the ship. Costa newRievera is nothing short of a sailing five – star hotel in the seas from Mumbai via Kochi to Maldives. Icing on the cake was some breathtakingly beautiful on-board performances!

So why should you choose a Costa Cruise?

  • The Only Italian finest cruise to home port in Asia
  • Exclusive entertainment for children
  • No Visa for Indian nationals
  • Children under 18 cruise free if sharing a cabin with two adults
  • A holiday for everyone, fun-filled activities
  • Maximum value with minimum cost

The Mumbai home port starting on December 7, was celebrated in the presence of Shri Tawde, Hon’ble Minister School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare, Hon’ble Minister of State, Water Resources, Ms Stefania Costanza, Consul General of Italy, Shri. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust, Mr Ashish Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary Transport and Ports, other senior Government officials, Marco Salvatico, Director, MICE & India Business Development, Costa Cruises and Smt. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations, Representative of Costa Cruises in India.

The event kicked off with an announcement of the sailing of Costa neoRiviera from Mumbai to the Maldives via Cochin for the 3rd season. The sailings are from 08th December 2018 to 16th March 2019. This is the 3rd season that Costa Cruises will be homeporting in Indian waters and is the only international cruise liner in India to offer regular cruises directly from Mumbai to Maldives, confirming its strong interest in proactively developing the Indian cruise market.

This year Costa Cruises has deployed its ship, Costa neoRiviera which will begin its first sailing from Mumbai with an Indian Wedding. The built-in infrastructure on the ship makes it particularly easy for groups to hold large events in one location. This classic cruise ship has a total of 654 cabins, including sea view cabins and suites with private balconies. With around 670 crew attending to approx. 1,700 passengers, the ship maintains its exclusivity and provides dedicated services to guests. Fully-equipped with a Casino, Theatre, Disco, Ballroom, Grand Bar, it aims to provide plenty in entertainment from Magic shows operas and dancers that will captivate even the most well-travelled folks with spectacular performances.

The ship prides itself in serving up a culinary feast, catering to different dietary needs. Italian food is a speciality, with provision made to ensure customisation towards the Indian market by providing Indian & Jain meals. The wellness centre is spread across 1,300 sq. m with a gym, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. It also has an outdoor jogging track, 4 Jacuzzis and 2 swimming pools. For those who would like to go shopping, the cruise ship has a duty-free shopping centre and also offers a wide selection of books in the library for book lovers.

Sanjay Bhatia Chairman Mumbai Port added “Cruise Tourism is a niche travel segment and its demand is expanding amongst Indians. Observing this trend, we have planned to encourage Cruise Tourism by inviting cruise liners to explore Indian waters. I am thankful to our Minister who acknowledged and supported our efforts to boost Cruise Tourism”. Elaborating the plans, Mr Bhatia said, “This year we are going to have 60 callings overall in Mumbai, and in April two bigger cruises are coming, which will have 100 callings in Mumbai. There is a new SOP in the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Shipping. We are developing this part of the Mumbai a key tourist destination, we are developing an international cruise terminal of the size of the International airport. We are very keen that cruise tourism develops as it would also open many employment avenues. ”

Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations, GSA Costa cruise India, says “This is exciting times to be in the cruising industry in India. I am quite confident, every Indian who experiences cruising with neoRiviera will take away nostalgic memories with them” She added, “I would like to thank Costa Cruise headquarters for showing that kind of confidence on Indian markets and Govt of India who is getting Cruising policy into place. I believe that the cruising industry is here to stay and 2020 belongs to cruising industry of the country.”

Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity: The Tallest, The Grandest!


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Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate the Sardar Patel Statue TODAY   (31st October 2018) – The Statue of Unity, the one to have laid the foundation stone for the project on 31 October 2013 as Gujarat CM. Besides PM Modi, Chief Ministers of several BJP-ruled states are expected to attend the gala event. Gujarat has the rare honour of possessing the competitor to Global Icon (The Statue of Liberty) – The Statue of Unity! This will attract reverse tourism as Gujaratis based in the U.S. will visit as tourists whereas till now Gujaratis loved to visit the Statue of Liberty in the U.S. – their favourite. Owing to its unique features, it is certain to attract tourist from all over the world.

Sardar Patel is renowned as the architect of independent India, as he united all diverse 562 princely states to build the one great Republic of India. Shri Narendra Modi decided to pay the honourable tribute which will be cherished for centuries by the whole world and it will become a matter of pride for every Indian for this great man. Built in less than five years, it is the world’s tallest, grandest and giant statue. It is a tribute to the man who united India, Sardar Patel.

The Statue of Unity is a monument dedicated to Indian independence movement leader Vallabhbhai Patel located in the Indian state of Gujarat. It is located facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km (2.0 mi) away on the river island called Sadhu Bet near Rajpipla in Gujarat. The monument along with its surroundings occupies over 20,000 square metres and is surrounded by a 12 square km artificial lake. It is the world’s tallest statue with a height of 182 metres (597 ft).  Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Rashtriya Ekta Trust (SVPRET), a special purpose vehicle was established by the Government of Gujarat for its construction and the outreach programme was carried out across India starting December 2013.

Initially, the total cost of the project was estimated to be about ₹3,001 crore (US$420 million) by the Government of India. Later Larsen & Toubro won the contract in October 2014 for its lowest bid of ₹2,989 crore (US$420 million) for the design, construction and maintenance. The construction was started on 31 October 2013 and completed in mid-October 2018. It will be inaugurated on 31 October 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The monument statue represents the Indian independence movement leader and the first Deputy Prime Minister of India Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel which is constructed facing the Narmada Dam, 3.2 km away on the river island called Sadhu Bet. The total height of the statue from its base will be 240-metre consisting base level of 58 metres and statue of 182 metres. It is constructed with steel framing, reinforced cement concrete and bronze cladding.  The statue needed 75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 tonnes of steel structure, 18,500 tonnes of reinforced steel rods, 22,500 tonnes of bronze sheets for construction. In the first phase, a bridge connecting the memorial to the mainland, a memorial, visitor centre buildings, a memorial garden, a hotel, a convention centre, an amusement park, research centres and institutes is being constructed.

The Statue of Unity is designed as a naturalistic and historically accurate representation of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, wearing characteristic garments, in a walking stance.

The project includes:

  • Bronze cladding on the Statue.
  • Fast elevators to reduce transit time for visitors.
  • The three-level base of the Statue: exhibit floor, mezzanine and roof – will contain a Memorial Garden and a large continuous museum/exhibition hall, comprising exhibits that focus on the life and contributions of Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The observation deck, situated at a height of around 500 ft from the river bed, will accommodate up to 200 people at a time. It will provide visitors with a panoramic view, enabling them to see the Satpura and Vindhyachal mountain ranges, the 212 km long Sardar Sarovar Reservoir, and the 12 km long Garudeshwar Reservoir.
  • Access to the Statue via a 5 km boat ride.
  • A large canopied public plaza, overlooking the Narmada River and the Statue, comprising food stalls, gift shops, retail kiosks and other amenities.
  • The Gujarat government has plans to build a Shreshtha Bharat Complex near the Statue of Unity which will house Bhavans of different states. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has approached all state governments for setting up their respective Bhavans at the site.

Indeed Statue of Unity has much more to offer than meets the eye. The closest station and airport would be Vadodara which is some 90 Km away and travel time by road would be 2.5 hours followed by a boat ride of 5 Kms.

I am all set to visit, are you?

I would be visiting both most loved statues – The Statue of Liberty & The Statue of Unity in the same year – 2019! Isn’t it something unique!!

World Tourism Day

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) celebrated ‘World Tourism Day’ on 27th September 2018 with UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) with an aim to promote ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation.’ This was intended to emphasize the necessity for investment in the latest digital technologies and develop entrepreneurship in the travel and tourism sector. The esteemed speakers Mr. Tarun Joukani, Managing Director, STAAH highlighted his views and thoughts on the role the technology and Mr. Munaf Kapadia, CEO, The Bohari Kitchen emphasized on how experiential tourism especially the home dining can boost the tourism prospects in the state.

In order to stay equipped with the global trends and growth in the digital sector, MTDC is constantly focusing on Content, Search Engine Plan and Online Destination Promotion by developing online goodwill through social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. The objective of each social media platform is to engage with followers; keep them connected with developments and interact with people. Additionally, Paryatan Parv is celebrated across the state from 16th September 2018 to 27th September 2018. The idea is to spin around the importance of tourism among all stakeholders such as hoteliers, resort operators, tour operators and other trades to support the tourism sector in the state.

Similarly, to celebrate the true spirit of World Tourism Day, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has announced the ‘Swachhata Hi Sewa Campaign’ on the vision of Hon’rable Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, carried out from 15th September 2018 to 2nd October 2018 at the several destinations across the state in Mumbai, Pune, Nashik, Ratnagiri, Nagpur, Aurangabad, Amravati and Ratnagiri.

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism & (EGS), Government of Maharashtra said, “I am pleased to celebrate World Tourism Day with the theme ‘Tourism and the Digital Transformation.’ It is crucial to adapt the digital transformation taking place across the globe. I believe digital platforms offer high level of engagement across different demographics and geographies which will help to connect and educate travellers from all over the world. The association in the recent past with Airbnb, Etihad, Jet Airways and Ola has assisted us to meet the growing demands of the travellers and to overcome the challenges faced earlier. Our sole aim is to provide the best possible experience for the travellers through the digital initiative.”

Shri Vijay Kumar Gautam (IAS), Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra added, “The World Tourism Day 2018 theme highlights the objective of Tourism and Digital transformation across the globe. The social media platforms are cost-effective as they create larger connectivity and visibility among the various stakeholders. Travel and Tourism companies are getting benefits through this, so we are also developing this aspect. Interactive website and Social media are developed for tech-savvy commuters who will have all the essential information with a click of a button.”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Suhas Diwase, (IAS), Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) said, “The travelling sector has gone through a paradigm shift, where the travellers are looking for a new experience every time they travel. The World Tourism Day’ 2018 theme emphasizes the importance of digital transformation which will help the travellers to create a better experience with a click of a button. At MTDC, we always try to match up to ongoing trend and create a unique experience for the travellers whenever they visit Maharashtra.”

Since its foundation, MTDC has been at the forefront of development and maintenance of various tourist sites and at present owns and maintains resorts in these regions. To aide tourists, MTDC has opened information centres at all popular destination, which provide travel information about various tourist spots in Maharashtra along with travel maps, Maharashtra tourism guides and travel books at affordable prices.

Maharashtra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India offering a diverse range of experiences from pristine beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, natural caves, waterfalls, to imposing forts, colourful festivals, ancient pilgrimage shrines, museums, and historical monuments. For further details, please visit: http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/

 

MTDC and MCGM embrace international tourists for Ganesh festival in Mumbai

~ Special arrangements made for international travellers at Girgaum Chowpatty during Ganeshotsav. ~

With an aim to celebrate and promote the majestic Ganesh festival amongst travellers, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in association with Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) has made special arrangements for International Tourists at Girgaum Chowpatty in Mumbai. A pavilion with the capacity of more than 300 has been set up at for the venue for tourists to observe and participate in the spirit and cultural fervour of Maharashtra.

Looking at the overwhelming response received last year during the Ganesh Festival, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) are offering amenities like online registration facility, clean drinking water, mobile toilets, bus transport and refreshments.

With this alliance, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) aims to make Ganeshotsav an international event. Tourists can study and participate in various aspects of Indian culture and rituals. They also get to experience the 126-year-old heritage of Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav.

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra said, “It is a pleasure to showcase the best of Maharashtra’s rich culture and tradition. The distinct pavilion has been set up for overseas travellers to perceive our beloved deity Ganesha. The pavilion will include amenities like clean drinking water, mobile toilets, bus transport along with refreshment. Tourists can see the Ganapati idols from all over the city at Girgaum Chowpatty which will certainly showcase the transformation in the celebrations over the years.”

Shri Vijay Kumar Gautam (IAS), Principal Secretary, Tourism, Government of Maharashtra added, “The objective is to position this festival on the global map, so we are inviting international tourists to participate through MCGM registration facilities for the Ganesh festival. We have made a separate pandal for the International tourists at Girgaum Chowpatty. The tourists can catch a glimpse of the Ganpati idols from across the city. I am certain that the festival will attract a large number of International visitors in the state of Maharashtra.”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri Suhas Diwase, Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) said, “Ganeshotsav is a festival that has always brought individuals from different cultures and communities together. Tourists from diverse countries come to experience the Ganesh Darshan Tour of MTDC every year. We are happy to associate with MCGM to accommodate International tourists and give them an experience of one of the most popular festivals in the state.”

For further details, please visit: http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/

 

 

MTDC Resorts – A Boon for Tourists in Maharashtra

MTDC RESORTS

Travellers from across the globe are pouring in every day to discover new destinations in the state. The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) has constantly worked to offer an enriching experience to the visitors. The six resorts that were built by MTDC in the last five years at Sakoli (District Bhandara), Ambhora (Nagpur), Mozari Point Chikaldara (Amravati), Bodhalkasa (Gondia), Gaganbawda (Kolhapur) and Kunakeshwar (Sindhudurga) have immense potential to allure visitors from across the globe and help MTDC to promote untapped destinations. The details of these resorts, and how to reach them are as follows:

  1. SAKOLI

Sakoli is a small town in district Bhandara of Maharashtra. From cultural and historical spots, natural beauty, adventure and entertainment activities there are several exciting prospects for travellers to discover Sakoli. Just a few kilometres away from the Chulbhand river and surrounded by ponds and lakes, Sakoli is located on the Mumbai-Kolkata national highway.

You can reach there by road, located 101 Kms from Nagpur for which all kinds of transport is available whereas nearest railway stations and airport are Nagpur.

From here you can visit Andhalgaon, known as the dark village in Bhandara tehsil, apart from being a major supplier of Kosa silk cloth, is also famous for its weaving industry and manufacturing silk-bordered clothes, The Gondumari Palace, 10km away from Sakoli, is a place of historic importance and Explore the wildlife of Nagzira National Park and Navegaon Bandh Bird Sanctuary.

Here you can stay at MTDC’s leased out its property to M/S Tuli Hospitality Pvt Ltd and is an ideal destination for visitors looking for homely comfort.  

  1.  AMBHORA

Ambhora Village is situated on the bank of Wainganga River in Kuhi Taluka 75-km away from Nagpur. The key attractions of Ambhora are the shrines on the confluence of the three rivers — Wainganga, Kanhan and Amba. Overwhelmingly beautiful, Ambhora is home to Shri Harinath Temple and Ambatitthak Buddha Vihar which have major pilgrim footfalls at least thrice during festivals annually.

You can reach here Road: State transport buses are available from Nagpur to Ambhora and visitors can hire private transports too. Nearest railway station and airport is Nagpur.

You can visit Markanda, a shrine devoted to Lord Shiva and a sacred place of worship for Hindus,  in the middle of Chamorshi which is situated on the bank of Wainganga river. Tadoba, called the Jewel of Vidarbha because of its rich tiger reserve, is the oldest national park in the state. Ambakhori, situated on the bank of Pench River, is the main attraction with its waterfalls and forests.

You can stay at MTDC’s Holiday Resort, Ambhora, an ideal destination for the travellers to experience the nature’s ecstasy.

  1. MOZARI POINT, CHIKHALDARA
Mozari Point

Mozari Point is situated in a picturesque setting with a deep valley on three sides. It offers splendid views of sunrise and sunset. This point is 2-km away from Chikaldara district headquarters. Visitors can also approach the Devi Point area and west side of Gawilgarh Fort which provides a magnificent view.

Public transports are available from Nagpur, Badnera and Akola.  The nearest railway stations are Badnera and Akola which are almost 80-km away from Chikhaldara. Several trains from Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur halts at both Badnera and Akola junction. The closest airport is at Akola, which is 150 km away from Mozari Chikhaldara.

You can visit Gugamal National Park spread to 1673.93 square km was built in 1974. It is a small part of the Melghat Tiger Reserve. Bhimkund-Kichakdara is fenced with lush green background from all sides. Bhim-Kund is nearly 3500 ft. deep and visitors take bath to wash away their sins. Panchbol Point is 4-km away from Bir Lake. The five hills edges are linked naturally with several valleys to form a huge valley. This point is known as Five Eco Point.

You can stay at MTDC Mozari Point Resort has very spacious rooms with neat and hygienic ambience. The restaurant offers decent and homely food.

  1. Bodhalkasa

Bodhalkasa, an attractive nature trail with wide dam and enlivenment, is about 135-km from Nagpur. There is an array of activities like speed boating, paddling and thrilling water sports. It is a perfect destination for adventure and wildlife. The visitors can dine with the tribes, explore their culinary, and culture.

Public transports are available from nearest town Tirora.  Nagpur, Tirora and Kachewani are the nearest railway stations, and the closest airport is Nagpur.

You can visit Bodhalkasa dam, an idyllic getaway for visitors, which is filled with adventurous nature trails, it is an excellent opportunity for visitors to enjoy jungle safari. Visitors can also avail of water sports activities like riding, paddling and speedboats.

You can stay at MTDC’s Bodhalkasa Resort which is about 7-km from Magezari Gate of Nagzira, wildlife century

  1. Gaganbawada, Dist.-Kolhapur

Located in Kolhapur, Gaganbawada is one of the most beautiful hill stations of Maharashtra blessed with scenic beauty and an eccentric view of the Konkan coastal region. Due to this reason, many Hindi and Marathi filmmakers are attracted towards this hill station. This is also one of the most favourite developing destinations for trekkers. It is located on the stretch of Kolhapur-Kharepatan route, merely 55 kilometres from Kolhapur and is abundant in natural beauty. A haze of fog covers Gaganbawada most of the time during monsoon making it the best season to visit the serenity.

You can reach there by Road which is an hour and a half drive from Kolhapur bus stand. Kankavli and Kolhapur are the nearest railway stations to Gaganbawada. The closest is the Belgaum airport and is well -linked with major metro cities.

You can visit Gaganbawada, located within the Sahyadri range in the traditional Western Ghats, offers an extremely popular fortification ‘Gagangad’, just 1-km away from the destination. Karul Ghat & Bhuibavda Ghat are the two ghats, which fall in the category of the most scenic routes that originate from Gaganbawada. The Morjai temple and plateau is an attraction to hikers. It is 8-km away from town at a height of 980 MSL, a perfect example of ‘Sada Ecosystem’.

You can stay at MTDC Holiday Resort in Gaganbawada, Kolhapur is suitable for visitors as it offers superior quality stay and accommodation facility.

  1. KUNKESHWAR (SINDHUDURG)
Kunkeshwar

Kunakeshwar is positioned in the Devgad taluka of Sindhudurg district, about 14-km away from Devgad and 438-km from Mumbai. Kunakeshwar temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and is located on the hillock facing the sea, where we can see a scenic sundown. The temple was built in the 12th century and has a 10m stone wall separating the temple from the sea.

You can reach there by State transport buses from Devgad, Kankavli and Malvan go to Kunakeshwar on a regular basis, visitors can also opt for hired private vehicles for this hour-long journey. The nearest railway station is Kankavli, which is around 51-km away from Kunakeshwar. The nearest airport is Panaji, Goa.

You can visit the Rock Cave, 1-km east of Kunakeshwar Temple, is a place of tourist attraction. The idols of this cave are carved out of black stone. At the coastline of Mithbav and Tambaldeg bird watchers get to see an attractive variety of winged creatures. This beach is calm and has less chaos as it is not amongst the regular trips of the tourists. Kotkamate is a small village situated 15-km away from Kunakeshwar. This temple was renovated in 1725 by Kanhoji Angre the admiral of Martha Navy. The temple has sculptures of goddess Shri Bhagvati.

You can stay at Kunkeshwar Resort (MTDC) in Sindhudurg which offers a holistic view of its pristine beaches away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

 

 

 

 

Maharashtra Tourism and Airbnb celebrate one-year milestone of partnership

Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra:  “Tourism is not only a source of revenue for the state but is also a key source of growth for local communities.” 

He was speaking on the occasion of the celebration of one-year milestone partnership of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) with Airbnb and the launch of Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme in the state to boost the tourism prospects.

The program aims to drive economic growth in local Maharashtra communities by helping micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality sector grow their business through four key pillars of support- Training, Enabling, Access and Promotion.

The program would be launched first in Elephanta village where MTDC and Airbnb will associate with Gram Panchayat and identify 35 homes and get aligned with Airbnb standards. Hosts of these homes would be the first set of entrepreneurs benefitting from this program.

Shri Jaykumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra, added, “In Airbnb, we have found a global partner whose vision to create skilled micro-entrepreneurs in hospitality and homestay ecosystem to further expand Maharashtra’s tourism potential. We are pleased to expand our partnership with Airbnb with the launch of the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme, which will help mentor and support budding entrepreneurs in in hospitality sector and build a strong homestay network across key destinations. This is the first-of-its-kind tourism initiative in India where the Government has used the revenue shared by a partner to create a program to benefit various underprivileged communities in the State. With new innovative initiatives like this one, together with Airbnb, we aim to attract a larger global audience and exponentially boost tourism in Maharashtra,”

Commenting on the occasion, Shri. V.K. Gautam, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Maharashtra, said, “Through the Accelerator Programme, Maharashtra Tourism and Airbnb aim to create a homestay ecosystem in Elephanta and create at least one hospitality micro-entrepreneur in every village across Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri and Palghar. In year one, we target to create and nurture 1500 tourism and hospitality entrepreneurs. This will motivate tourism and open up new destinations and unique experiences for travellers.”

“Airbnb’s commitment to create 50,000 hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in India. The launch of the Accelerator Programme is a major step towards realizing our commitment and Maharashtra is our lead partner in creating a progressive, sustainable tourism ecosystem in India,” said Mr Chris Lehane, Global Head of Policy and Communications, Airbnb. Lehane added, “Airbnb has always been committed to building a more inclusive tourism sector across the world and no more so than in emerging markets like India. Enabling and empowering all communities, including those that may have not previously benefited from tourism is integral to inclusive tourism. We are therefore excited about the launch of the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Program to mentor budding hospitality micro-entrepreneurs in underserved communities.”

Last year, Brian Chesky, CEO and Co-Founder of Airbnb, in his meeting with the Honourable Prime Minister, had shared, “Through our partnership signed last year, Airbnb and Maharashtra Tourism have worked together to train hundreds of micro-entrepreneurs across key tourism districts.” 

Mr. Amanpreet Bajaj, Country Head, Airbnb India, said: “We’re thrilled to today announce the expansion of this partnership through the Tourism Entrepreneurship Accelerator Programme and continue to play a role in supporting healthy, sustainable tourism in Maharashtra.”

Key elements of the Programme include:

○ Training: Airbnb will create a comprehensive training toolkit which will be used by Maharashtra Tourism to identify quality destinations, homes and entrepreneurs, as well as by Airbnb to train selected entrepreneurs on technology, hospitality, financing, regulations and promotion.

Enabling: Airbnb has been sharing a portion of its earnings in Maharashtra with Maharashtra Tourism towards tourism development in the State. Besides, using this fund as the program’s foundation, Maharashtra Tourism will connect trained entrepreneurs with existing government programs for additional funds.

Access: Airbnb and Maharashtra Tourism will connect selected entrepreneurs with local partners to offer them access to technology, address language barriers and provide mentorship support. Airbnb’s co-hosting model has the potential to help village youths or community-based organizations with smartphones and better language skills become partners to micro-entrepreneurs with quality homes.

Promotion: Once entrepreneurs are ready to host travellers, Airbnb will partner with content creators to promote the homes to tourists around the world. Maharashtra Tourism will also use its promotional platforms to support the entrepreneurs.

Maharashtra is one of the most popular tourist destinations in India offering a diverse range of experiences from pristine beaches, wildlife sanctuaries, hill stations, natural caves, waterfalls, to imposing forts, colourful festivals, ancient pilgrimage shrines, museums, and historical monuments. For further details, please visit: http://www.maharashtratourism.gov.in/

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is a global travel community that offers magical end-to-end trips, including where you stay, what you do and the people you meet. Airbnb uniquely leverages technology to economically empower millions of people around the world to unlock and monetize their spaces, passions and talents to become hospitality entrepreneurs.

 

Taj Mahotsav in Shilpgram, AGRA!

Taj Mahotsav, one of the most eagerly awaited festivals, is celebrated from 18th  to 27th, 2018 February every year at Shilpgram near the Eastern gate of  “Taj Mahal”.

This 10 days long carnival is actually a vibrant platform that gives you information about India where you can find India’s rich arts, crafts, cultures, cuisine, dance and music. Taj Mahal is the most beautiful historical place of India which tells about incredible India. Taj Mahotsav is organized by UP Tourism and it is a source to increase Indian Tourism.

Held annually in the historic city of Agra where lies the majestic Taj Mahal, the Taj Mahotsav is perhaps one of the most spectacular and celebrated events in the Indian calendar. Organized by Uttar Pradesh Tourism, this festival pays due respect to the matchless cultural heritage of the state and the country as a whole. One can see this event as a concise and compact representation of the Indian cultural diversity that is coated in the fabric of a 5,000-year-old history and mythology.

It is a time when the best of India’s arts, crafts, culture, cuisine, dance and music comes to the fore in a manner that is hard to pass by. The crème-de-la-crème of Indian folk artists, musicians, dramatists and other artisans gather at the 10 days celebration and enliven the environment. A great time indeed, for the ones who have the appreciation for the classical and folk arts.

Shopping options are plenty during Taj Mahotsav as the entire event scene assumes the look of a small market where you can shop for handicrafts, antiques, woodwork, ivory work and other speciality items of India. As a natural consequence, this fiesta remains a major tourist attraction for the town of Agra.

In its 27th year, the Taj Mahotsav – a cultural bonanza, began in 1992 and since then its grandeur has reached the greater heights. Hosted at Shilpgram, a close distance from Taj Mahal, a large number of tourists join this festivity of multiple facets. The festival starts with a procession, including bejewelled elephants and camels, drum beaters and performances by folk artists and more. About 400 artisans from different parts of the country show their craft before national and international visitors.

The festival presents beautiful hues of Indian art and culture!

http://www.tajmahotsav.org/

 

 

 

 

Head to GOA for GOA CARNIVAL 2018

The popular annual GOA Carnival will be held across the coastal state from February 10 to 13. The main float parade of the festival will be held in the State capital Panaji on February 10. So now when Goa Carnaval is around the corner, and the state of Goa is all gearing up for the much-awaited festival of the year, you can choose to be there this weekend!

My friend Angela has flown from London for the Goa Carnival, I will keep you posted with some live updates from her! A true blue and proud Goan!

Here you can enjoy the four-day festival in different cities that will keep you on your toes all through the festivity. Enjoy the parades, the dances and the Goan traditional music that will keep you energetic and enthralled throughout the show.

The Goa Carnival has over 500 years of history and dates back to the times when Goa was a Portuguese colony. This event is unique to Goa and is celebrated only here. You can enjoy amazing parades full of colourful costumes, lots of music, beautiful floats, and attractive dances. Huge street celebrations are organized all over the state. Evenings and nights are for non-stop parties. All these festivities are usually held in February or March, before Lent. This is one of the most anticipated events for local people.

The most amazing thing about Goa is that fun and festivities that begin in December with the holiday season does not stop upon arrival of the New Year but continues up to the celebration of Goa Carnival or the pre Mardi Gras revelry, a tradition that dates back to the arrival of Portuguese in Goa way back in 1510.

Based on the Christian tradition of Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Wednesday) which refers to the events of the carnival celebrations; Goa Carnival is a festival that celebrates the culture and cuisine of Goa on a grand scale every year.

Originating from the tradition of Mardi Gras, a tradition of hedonistic feasts and dancing & drinking bouts before the fasting and abstinence associated with the penitential season of lent, Goa Carnival is a 4-day razzmatazz that is observed all through the state with great gusto and zeal.

Goa Carnival features a frenzy of tourist activities. Tourists indulge in feasting, merrymaking, drinking throughout the day. The festive mood is even more aggravated by the huge parades that move the various streets of Goa. These parades are accompanied by live bands and dances. Goa forgets to sleep during the carnival as these parades continue throughout the night. Most of the streets are decorated with attractive lighting and grand balls.

The festivities during Goa Carnival include dancing troupes, revellers wearing masks and costumes usually, electrifying music which is generally performed live, sports competitions, floats & parades and hedonistic pursuits like great food and drinking.

During the Carnival, you can see lots of traditional things: Goan art, short plays, Goan culture, food, music, etc. The final day of the festivities is the most spectacular. Try not to miss the famous red-and-black dance held by the Clube Nacional in Panjim. Altogether, these celebrations are about eating, drinking, and having fun. ‘Kha, piye, and majja kar’—says the legendary King of Chaos, Momo, to lead the crowd. Fire-eaters, acrobats, clowns, jesters, dancers, brass bands, and others follow him during the parade down the main street of Panaji.

Enjoy Goa Carnival

PCEB, Malaysia on a multi-city sales mission to India

Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (Malaysia) brings 17 Exhibitors from Penang on a 4-City Sales Mission to Woo the Indian Travel and Business Events Segment

The Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) is proud to introduce the first-ever Penang Sales Mission to India with the objective of promoting Penang as the preferred and ideal destination for corporate and association meetings, incentives and leisure travel.

“India is one of the top five markets for Business Events in Penang, and over the past year, we have received encouraging interest from event planners and conference organisers” says Ashwin Gunasekeran, the Chief Executive Officer of PCEB. “This mission is joined by some of Penang’s finest offerings in the hospitality, travel and events sectors, and will showcase the best of what Penang can offer to the Indian market,” he added.

Ashwin Gunashekhran, CEO, Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau, Malaysia

He was speaking during the 4-city Sales Mission which kicked off from Kolkatta to Delhi, then Mumbai & Bengaluru in January, 2018. The mission led by Ashwin Gunasekeran, Chief Executive Officer of PCEB, the mission is supported by a Penang delegation of 17 partners, including the state bureau for leisure travel – Penang Global Tourism, hotels, destination management companies, event experts and PCEB’s official airline partner, Malaysia Airlines.

Penang is world-class travel destination, one that is famed for its unique offerings of a modern international island city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, lush rainforests, beautiful hill station, shopping galore and fabulous food. Additionally, this Northern Malaysian state is also a rising Business Events destination. Currently, Penang is the top-ranked second-tier destination in Malaysia in the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association).

In 2016, Penang recorded 1251 events with an estimated economic impact of USD 200 million. From January to September 2017, we hosted 1731 events with an estimated economic impact of USD 230 million. This translates to a 27.7% increase in the number of events and 7% increase in the estimated economic impact.

Ashwin Gunasekeran, the Chief Executive Officer of PCEB boasted that the youth from India loves to explore Penang especially for street food & heritage architecture.

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Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) is a state bureau established in 2016to develop the Business Events and meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) industry in Penang. PCEB aims to position Penang as the preferred location
for Business Events activities in the region. With its rich UNESCO heritage, thriving multicultural society, state-of-the-art facilities and vibrant natural attractions, Penang offers a truly eclectic tropical experience. In line with its mission to incubate the growth of Business Events in Penang, PCEB serves as Penang’s focal point for the coordination of all Business Events activities, providing expert assistance to organisations and Business Events planners at every
step of the planning. PCEB’s team of industry experts work hand-in-hand with professional service providers and world-class hotels, convention centres and unique venues to ensure the smoothness and success of each event organized. PCEB’s goal is to enhance our Business Events clients’ experience and at the same time to expand
the beneficial economic impact of local MICE businesses.

For more information, please visit http://www.pceb.my and follow them on
Facebook: @PCEB.my
Twitter @PCEB_MY
Instagram @penang.unfiltered

Desaru Coast set to welcome Indian business and leisure travelers in 2018

Malaysia’s First Premium Integrated Destination to increase Tourist Receipts with New Offerings

 “India has always been an important market for Malaysia. In 2016, a total of 6,38,578 Indian travelers visited Malaysia, maintaining its position as the sixth top tourist generating market to the country. Desaru Coast will definitely make the Indian excited and thus giving a boost to arrivals to the country” said Mr. Mohd Hafiz Hashim, Director – Tourism Malaysia, Mumbai. He was speaking during the exclusive preview of Desaru Coast here in Mumbai recently.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Philip Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Theme Parks & Attractions and Chief Commercial Officer of Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd. Said, “  “Desaru Coast’s India tour will open doors for us to connect with buyers of all sectors within the travel-value chain commerce whilst positioning Desaru Coast as the destination of choice amongst holidaymakers and business travelers alike within the region. We look forward to sharing a preview of the destination that will appeal to international travelers with its myriad of offerings.”

 Ms. Olivia Ooi, Senior Vice President, Destination Sales & Marketing, 2. Mr. Philip Whittaker, Chief Executive Officer of Integrated Theme Parks & Attractions and Chief Commercial Officer of Themed Attractions Resorts & Hotels Sdn. Bhd.
3. Ms. Kristine Lim, Vice President, Destination Sales & Marketing

Developed by Desaru Development Holdings One Sdn. Bhd., Desaru Coast is located at the south-eastern region of Malaysia, spanning over 3,900 acres along an unspoiled 17km beachfront facing the South China Sea. The destination is easily accessible via land, ferry, and air. Desaru Coast is home to four globally renowned hotels and resorts, two world-class golf courses, a themed water park, a retail village as well as a conference centre.

Anchored by Desaru Coast Adventure Waterpark, one of the world’s biggest water parks with the largest wave pool in Southeast Asia, the attraction also presents visitors with a Malaysian fishing village atmosphere. Visitors can also experience the first water coaster in the region and a unique mix of wet and dry rides.

The fully-integrated beach-front destination will encompass globally renowned hotels and resorts namely The Westin Desaru Coast Resort, Anantara Desaru Coast Resort & Villas and Hard Rock Hotel Desaru Coast.

Adding to the vast array of leisure and holistic offerings is Desaru Coast Riverside, a 23-acre water-front landscaped retail and lifestyle village located in the heart of Desaru Coast that delivers an all-inclusive leisure experience, including a range of retail, eateries and entertainment outlets. Completing the unique blend of experiences that the multi-billion-dollar integrated destination has to offer is the Desaru Coast Conference Centre, an equipped multipurpose venue with a banquet area and exhibition space that can host up to 1,000 participants. The conference centre is furnished with meeting and breakout rooms, VIP lounges, a pre-function area, and courtyard to cater to MICE events, corporate functions and entertainment events.

Golf aficionados will get the chance to tee-off at the first Els Club in Southeast Asia, the third in the world, The Els Club Malaysia in Desaru Coast. The Els Club Desaru Coast comprises two championship golf courses, the 27-hole Ocean Course and the 18-hole Valley Course. Managed by Troon Golf, the Ocean Course was designed by 4-time Major Champion, Ernie Els, while the Valley Course was designed in collaboration with Els’ long-standing friend and major champion, Vijay Singh. Golfers can be guaranteed a world-class golf experience with an incredible view.

Desaru Coast is set to unveil its destination offerings in stages, with the opening of The Els Club Desaru Coast – Ocean Course in September 2016 and The Els Club Desaru Coast – Valley Course in March 2017, followed by the remaining components from end June 2018.

The Indian travel community and visitors are welcomed to find out more about the latest updates on Desaru Coast developments at SATTE, New Delhi, Booth no. E170, Hall 1 (January 31st – February 2nd, 2018).

For more information, visit www.desarucoast.com