Category Archives: Travel News

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/

 

 

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation appoints new Managing Director

Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has appointed Shri Suhas Diwase, IAS as its new Managing Director. Shri Diwase IAS batch 2009 took charge of the office on July 16, 2018. Currently, Shri Diwase is also working as the Chairman and Managing Director of Maharashtra State Warehousing Corporation. He holds a Master’s degree in Horticulture. He has also done Public Administration from The Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore. Currently, he is perusing PhD in Disaster Management.

On his appointment as the Managing Director, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation, Shri Suhas Diwase said, “It’s a pleasure to take over in my new role at Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. Tourism is one of the most important and rapidly growing sectors in India contributing significantly to the economic development of our country. Therefore, my focus would be to develop and analyse and understand the present tourism avenues in Maharashtra through new programmes and policies aimed at developing and sustaining tourism in the state.”

Prior to taking up his appointment as Managing Director, MTDC, Shri Suhas Diwase worked in various districts at several positions. He was Director of Disaster Management and CEO of Pimpri-Chinchwad New Town Development Authority and Collector of Bhandara district.

On taking over charge of his new role as a Managing Director, Shri. Suhas Diwase immediately had a meeting along with higher officials of Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) including Shri. Aashutosh Rathod, Director of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra and Joint Managing Director of MTDC and Smt. Swati Kale, General Manager, MTDC, Shri. Dinesh Kamble, Senior Manager, Publicity and PR, MTDC and other Head of Departments. He also had a review meeting of MTDC projects.

About MTDC:

Tourism is one of the fastest growing sectors in the state, which generates substantial foreign exchange and has culminated in significant employment prospects. Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) was established with the aim of promoting tourism in the state. 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 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.

 

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

MMRDA Smart Card, Really Smart!

The smart card that is to be introduced by the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) is likely to change the way you travel and shop in the city. The cross-transport smart card can also be used as a credit and debit card, at shopping malls, movie theatres and for online transactions. The planning authority is expected to start inviting bidders to design the software for the much-delayed single-ticketing system in December.

The card can be used across different modes of transport such as metros, monorail, suburban railway and BEST buses.

A senior MMRDA official said that the card can act as a debit or credit card and can be used even for non-transit transactions. The official said: “We will tie-up with banks to issue these cards that can be used for fare payment and in shopping malls.”

Apart from this, officials said that the cards will be based on an “open loop” system for fare collection.

An open-loop system would entail banks to operate at the back-end, unlike the conventional closed-loop system where the transport authority collects fares.

Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis is keen on getting the project on track. A first-of-its-kind initiative in India for multi-modal corridors, the smart card may, however, reach you only by 2019.

The project is expected to be implemented in a phase-wise manner.

MMRDA is expected to begin the implementation of this project with the metro. Besides the existing line that connects Versova and Ghatkopar, the new lines are expected to link Colaba to Seepz, Dahisar to Andheri East and to Mankhurd, Lokhandwala to Kanjurmarg, Wadala to Thane, and Thane to Kalyan.

MMRDA is then planning to implement the system with the BEST buses and railways. The planning authority is also going to hold a competition to finalise the design for the smart card.

Now travelling and shopping across Mumbai will be BIG FUN!

Source: The Hindustan Times

Turtle Sanctuary in Allabahad


Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers

The holy city of Triveni Sangam ( The confluence of holy rivers – Ganaga, Jamuna & mystical Saraswati) and of Maha Kumbh,  Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, India will have a new reason to visit – The Turtle Sanctuary at Triveni Sangam Ghat.

The Centre has approved the setting up of a turtle sanctuary in Allahabad and a river biodiversity park at Triveni Sangam (confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati), according to an official statement. The project, sanctioned by National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), would also include a Turtle Rearing Centre — permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries.

It will provide a much-needed platform for visitors to learn about their place in the ecosystem, roles and responsibilities. The central government initiative, estimated to cost Rs 1.34 crore, will also improve people’s understanding of the complexity of co-existence with the environment and help generate awareness for reducing the impact of human activities on critical natural resources.

The Project:

  • The project will include Turtle Rearing Centre – a permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp
  • It will also provide make-shift annual hatcheries for turtles
  • The initiative is estimated to cost Rs. 1.34 crore also aims to generate awareness

The sustenance of more than 2000 aquatic species in the Ganga exemplifies the rich biodiversity of the river, a lifeline to over 40 percent of the country’s population, the statement added. Ganga and Yamuna in Allahabad are home to some of the most-endangered turtle species, Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and attracts numerous migratory and resident birds.

Board ‘Costa Cruise’ from Mumbai, & explore Incredible India!

The message given by Costa Cruise & Bombay Port Trust in the press – conference held in Hotel Trident, amidst the presence of who’s who of the tourism & cruise industry…

…A gracious host, Mrs. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (Representative of Costa Cruises in India) welcomed and updated present dignitaries & media on Cruise Scenario in India and plans of Costa Cruise going forward!

Mr. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman of Mumbai Port Trust said, “The timing is right for cruise liners to come to India as the Government is taking proactive steps for utilizing our vast coastline. I would like to thank the cruise companies that have taken the initiative to start sailings from Mumbai and have shown their confidence in the Indian Government and India market. We are looking forward to many more ships coming to India and Mumbai port, going forward. They can count on Mumbai Port’s efficient managerial, organizational and planning support and assistance at all times. Our objective is to exceed the expectations of the cruise liners and the cruisers, both domestic and International. Come, cruise from Mumbai and feel India!”

Ms. Nalini Gupta, Managing Director, Lotus Destinations (Representative of Costa Cruises in India) said, “Costa Cruises expanding its sailing offerings to include shorter sailings of 3 & 4 nights from Mumbai and Cochin specifically for the Indian market confirms its strong interest in India. The cruising market in India has come a long way from only a select group cruising in far-away locations to today a much wider audience holidaying on ships cruising directly from India. I sincerely thank Mr. Gadkari & Mr. Bhatia for all their efforts in making this happen.”

Last year, Costa Cruises was the first ever cruise liner to offer cruises directly from Mumbai to Maldives. This year, Costa Cruises is introducing shorter 3 & 4 nights sailing options specifically for the Indian market. Indians can now choose to cruise on a 4 nights itinerary from Mumbai to Cochin (via Mangalore) or 3 nights itinerary from Cochin to Maldives. This is in addition to the 7 nights Mumbai to Maldives & 7 nights Maldives to Mumbai options available.

The Italian cruise liner will be homeporting in Mumbai a month earlier than last year and will perform a series of weekly sailings from November 2017 to March 2018.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Buhdy Bok, President of Carnival Asia said, “We are delighted to increase our capacity in this region, by offering 3 & 4 nights short cruises dedicated to the Indian market. Guests based in India can now embark or disembark right at their door-step for short cruises, giving our guests a rich and immersive experience in Italian culture – from hospitality to cuisine, and art, a distinct experience for a new way of travel.”

Since Costa announced the launch of cruising from Mumbai last year, they have seen interest and bookings from a wide variety of travel groups, which includes families, senior citizens, honeymooners and experiential holiday agencies. There has also been a lot of interest from corporates, who are looking set to book the first few sailings out of Mumbai. The built-in infrastructure on the ship makes it particularly easy for corporates to hold large events in one location. Theme-based bookings seem to be a trend, with groups who are keen to experience a special kind of holiday. For example, there is a cycle-themed sailing that is currently being promoted on this route.

Costa Cruises has deployed its ship, Costa neoClassica that is part of the neo collection on the India itinerary. This classic cruise ship has a total of 654 cabins, including sea view cabins and suites with private balconies. Fully-equipped with a Casino, Theatre, Disco, Ballroom, Grand Bar, it aims to provide plenty in entertainment. 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 huge duty free shopping centre and also offers a wide selection of books in the library for those who love to unwind with a book.

Enhancing the cruising experience further is the gastronomy: the food & wine on offer is based on Italian regional menus with a choice of dishes representing different regions of Italy and proudly reflecting the country’s rich and unrivalled culinary heritage. In addition to this vast range, guests can also take advantage of tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes.

On board Costa neoClassica, guests will also have the chance to taste the real original Neapolitan pizza at Pizzeria “Pummid’oro”: thanks to an agreement with the Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche di Pollenzo, Costa Cruises offers pizza prepared using only sourdough and selected ingredients such as San Marzano DOP tomato. In addition, cruisers will be able to enjoy a variety of Indian cuisine and the restaurants onboard are fully equipped to cater to special diet requirements of Indian, travellers, which includes Jain food.

Costa Cruises – to begin shorter, 3-4 night sailings in Indian waters

4 nights Mumbai – Kochi to start from November 2017

3 nights Kochi – Maldives to start from November 2017

Costa Cruises is the Italian Cruising Company part of the Carnival Corporation & plc, the largest cruise company in the world.

Travel-Knots welcomes Mr Kannanthanam J Alphons, New Tourism Minister & IT

Indeed, Minister with a DIFFERENCE!!

Read on to know why this holds true for him, truly inspirational figure, proud to have him as Tourism Minister.

Mr Alphons is a 1979 batch IAS officer of the Kerala cadre. Alphons became famous as Delhi’s “Demolition Man” when he headed the Delhi Development Authority, having cleared DDA areas of encroachment removing around 15,000 illegal buildings. This got him listed in Time Magazine’s list of 100 Young Global Leaders in 1994. Born in Manimala village in Kerala’s Kottayam district, he pioneered the literacy movement in India and as District Collector of Kottayam, he made it the first 100 percent literate town in India in 1989.

Kannanthanam had set up the NGO Janshakti in 1994 for social works. On retiring from IAS, he contested the Kerala assembly polls in 2006 to become an independent MLA from Kanjirappally. He was also a member of the committee to prepare the final draft of the National Education Policy 2017. He also authored the book “Making a Difference”.

Alphons’s life is nothing short of a miracle. Having passed his high school from a non-electrified village Malayalam medium school, he became one of the toppers of the 1979 batch of the IAS. He vowed that he would never be a door mat for the politician, but would be a voice of the hapless citizen. For 27 years he was their voice, running pitched battles against the corrupt system. He was rated to be one of the most competent officers in the history of the civil service. He was on TIME magazine’s list of 100 young global leaders in 1994. He is an inspirational orator and has spoken to over three million people, mostly students, in the past 35 years. In 2006, he quit IAS, contested as an independent from Kanjirappally constituency and got elected as an MLA on 32nd day with a huge majority, spending less than Rs10 lakhs. He decided that he wanted to be a different kind of an MLA. He drove his own car and lived in a tiny room in the rest house and got allocated Rs 350 crores for the constituency and won the best MLA award.

Power to bring Happiness

“Alphons believes that ultimately there is only one purpose in life: HAPPINESS. It is his strong belief that we should leave the world happier than we arrived. Lots of people believe in happiness, but mostly for themselves. Alphons believes that we got only one life and our destinies are deeply interwoven. There can be no islands of happiness. He refused to be MLA from Kanjirappally a second time, even though he would have been a Minister this time. His argument was simple: “When half of India is starving and when half the children in India do not go to school, I have no business to be an MLA from the richest constituency”. He said he wants to work on three things: food on every table, every child to school and a job for everybody. He says he got into IAS because it was the most powerful service in the world. For him, power means the ability to create happiness for the persons who come in contact with him, not the ability to bully anyone into indignity. He got into politics because it gives him the power to bring a smile on human face. ”

Major Accomplishments:

  • One of the toppers of the IAS, 1979 batch.
  • Featured in TIME MAGAZINES’S list of 100 young global leaders in 1994 (cover story-5th Dec 1994).
  • Pioneered the literacy movement in India, by making Kottayam Town the first 100% literate town in India in 1989, as District Collector.
  • Kottayam District achieved a quality health index better than the United States of America when he was the District Collector.
  • Built a cancer centre at Kottayam Medical College, with contribution from 8.2 million people.
  • Demolished 14,310 illegal buildings in Delhi, and reclaimed land worth Rs. 10,000 crores, as Commissioner, Delhi Development Authority.
  • Times Of India survey showed that 89.6% Delhiites supported his action, the highest rating for any public official any time.
  • Is an inspirational orator; was the best inter university debater in India for three years, while in the University.
  • Was instrumental in sanctioning self-financing professional colleges in Kerala, in 2001, when he was the Secretary, Higher Education, leading to an investment of Rs. 4,000 crores in this sector. The initiative has created over 1,00,000 seats in professional colleges. Declared the results of the entrance examinations to professional colleges in seven days, when he was the Commissioner for entrance examinations, Kerala.
  • Authored the bestselling book titled “Making a Difference”, published by Penguin India, in 1996. The Malayalam translation, “India Mattathinte Muzhakam”, published by DC Books, is its 12th edition.
  • Resigned from the IAS and got elected as independent MLA from Kanjirappally on 32nd day with a huge majority.Has won the best MLA award in Kerala in 2009.
  • Set up JANSHAKTHI, an NGO, in 1994, to get the citizens to believe in their ability to make government accountable to people. It has over 265 branches in Kerala. Worked for a year in Janshakthi’s slum project in Delhi after finishing tenure as Commissioner, DDA.
  • Won T.RAMARAO award from Kottayam Public Library in 2008, for making the most outstanding contribution to the development of Kottayam.

Travel-knots extends a hearty welcome to New Tourism Minister.

 

 

 

CM Declares 2017 as “Visit Maharashtra” Year!

The government entered into a formal tie-up with the app-based cab aggregator recently to promote tourism in the state and boost “Mumbai Darshan”.

ola-759

Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal, Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture, and Pranay Jivrajka, founding partner, Ola, signed the MoU. Ganesh Shirsekar

 

Now, book an Ola cab and avail “special” treatment at the Siddhivinayak temple.

 

Siddhivinayak-Temple-In-Mumbai

The government entered into a formal tie-up with the app-based cab aggregator Wednesday to promote tourism in the state and boost “Mumbai Darshan”. State Tourism Minister Jaykumar Rawal said: “Mumbai Darshan started with a bus, which is doing alright as more marketing needs to be done and now, we have a cab aggregator (Ola) on your palm … the tourism department will plan your experience.”

He added that from now, a tourist who wants to go to Siddhivinayak temple would get a special offer. “The tourist will be in the special list or special row. It would be the same in case of the museum and the zoo, which we can leverage for Ola,” Rawal said.

ola-cabs-650-400_650x400_61473270137

The deal is not only expected to boost tourism but also produce “skilled” drivers who will double up “as guides” for passengers, he said. The minister added there would be “no discrimination among those selected as guides for the city”.

“The first batch of tourist guides has been sanctioned, 100 in Mumbai and 400 in Maharashtra,” Rawal claimed. He said more integrated tourist plans were in the pipeline for Mumbai and Maharashtra.

CM Devendra Fadnavis has declared 2017 as ‘Visit Maharashtra’ year and according to officials, this is the first MoU signed by the MTDC this year. Ola launched a special category in its interface called ‘Mumbai Darshan’. Each customisable package has a 10-hour or 100-km ride to Mumbai’s hotspots. The tours start at Rs 1,799.

Ola operates in nine cities in Maharashtra, and there are plans to introduce such tours there too. “There will be tie-ups with various destinations … take an Ola to an MTDC resort or Elephanta caves and avail of discounts … it is a win-win situation. In these taxis, special reading material will be available for travelers to read. For instance, where to eat good Maharashtrian food in the city,” said Valsa Nair Singh, principal secretary, tourism and culture.