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India News Travel Travel & Tourism

Kashmir witnesses tourism boom

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had inaugurated Go First’s Srinagar-Sharjah flight on October 23 last year, connecting Jammu and Kashmir with the United Arab Emirates after around 11 years…reports Asian Lite News

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday said the Kashmir Valley is witnessing an exponential increase in the tourism flow due to the successful campaigns to attract maximum tourists towards the region.

According to statistics of the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department, March 2022 broke the 10-year tourist arrival record in Kashmir, signalling that the tourism industry is finally on the path to recovery, a statement said.

As per the Union tourism ministry, around 1.42 lakh tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir during February alone, breaking the seven-year record.

Remarkably, on April 4 this year, the Srinagar International Airport recorded busiest day ever in history, with 15,014 people travelling on 90 flights in and out of Kashmir.

Notably, for the first time, the Ministry of Civil Aviation approved the five flights a week between Srinagar-Sharjah.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah had inaugurated Go First’s Srinagar-Sharjah flight on October 23 last year, connecting Jammu and Kashmir with the United Arab Emirates after around 11 years.

To boost adventure tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday launched J&K Tourist Village Network under Mission Youth.

“The initiative is aimed at transforming 75 villages of the UT known for historical, picturesque beauty, and cultural significance into tourist villages,” a statement said.

Sinha said that the youth-led sustainable tourism initiative will strengthen rural economy and community entrepreneurship, empowering youth and women by providing direct and indirect employment opportunities.

Highlighting the objective behind the initiative, he observed that the Jammu and Kashmir government is adopting best practices recognising the uniqueness of each village and showcasing the landscapes, indigenous knowledge systems, cultural diversity and heritage, local values and traditions, besides encouraging film shooting and offering financial incentives as well as ensuring a digital platform to all these villages.

“The J&K administration is giving special focus on the tourism sector, and the region has started witnessing significant growth in terms of increased number of tourists and creation of tourism-related infrastructure.

“A dedicated focus is also being laid on bringing unexplored religious places of Jammu on the religious tourist map to attract more tourists,” a statement said.

ALSO READ-Kashmir Sikh group vows to repair Kabul gurdwara

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Lite Blogs Travel & Tourism

Plan your next glamping adventure in New Zealand

Conveniently It is only a 5-minute drive from TeAwanga and a 20-minute drive from Havelock North, Hastings, and Napier. Your safari tent and idyllic setting can transport you far away from home…reports Asian Lite News

Relax and enjoy the serenity at one of New Zealand’s top glamping spots, from the deep south of TeAnau to the far north of the Bay of Islands. Whether you want to spend a romantic getaway or a friend’s trip in style, New Zealand has glamping options for everyone.

Glamping is becoming increasingly popular, with outdoor bathtubs and breathtaking views, cosy fires and expansive decks. The safe countryside and stunning landscapes of New Zealand make it the ideal remote escape. Here are our top four suggestions for your next glamping adventure in New Zealand once the borders open:

Te Awa Glamping

Te Awa Glamping, a riverside haven, is an immersive experience that allows you to forget about the world through relaxation and recreation. It’s a luxury retreat on the banks of the North Island’s mighty Whanganui River, which is such an important part of New Zealand’s history. Located deep in a family farm with private beach access, guests can arrive by jet-boat, canoe, air, or road for a memorable stay.

Staydium Glamping

You are cordially invited to stay at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand’s national stadium. Guests will sleep in a premium glamping dome with a view of one of the world’s most famous sports stadiums. Eden Park has two Staydium Glamping domes in operation. The two domes are adjacent but two metres apart, with doors facing opposite directions to maximise privacy.

Cross Hill

A never-before-seen Geo-dome experience. They provide premium and one-of-a-kind accommodation in Lake Hawea, New Zealand’s South Island. Cross Hill Lodge & Domes guests are treated like family and receive the best in high country hospitality. Use your private geo dome as a base to explore the area before sharing your experiences with the host team and other guests at Cross Hill Lodge. Cross Hill provides more than just lodging; it is a place where paths cross, stories are shared, and memories are made.

Clifton Glamping

Your luxury accommodation with a difference awaits you among the rolling hills of Clifton Station – Hawkes Bay. Your luxury accommodation with a difference awaits you among the rolling hills of Clifton Station – Hawkes Bay. A one-of-a-kind experience on one of New Zealand’s oldest working farms, find joy in your own remote section of the 2000 acres of paradise that the family has proudly owned for over 150 years.

Conveniently It is only a 5-minute drive from TeAwanga and a 20-minute drive from Havelock North, Hastings, and Napier. Your safari tent and idyllic setting can transport you far away from home.

TeWepu

TeWepu is the ideal place to stop, relax, read, and breathe in the silence if you’re an adventurous soul, whether travelling in a small group, on an adventure for two, or flying solo. You’ll be perched above one of Canterbury’s most tranquil bays on the magnificent Banks Peninsula in just over an hour from Christchurch. Far from the tour bus crowds, you’ll sink into a steaming wood-fired hot tub under a blanket of stars, and you can even have sumptuous local fare delivered to your door if you prefer.

Make your vacation even more memorable by staying at one of these glamping locations. New Zealand’s borders will reopen to all vaccinated travellers on August 1, 2022, so make your plans now!

ALSO READ-Blue wonders of New Zealand

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Lite Blogs Travel Travel & Tourism

Away from the capital city’s hustle and bustle

Pataudi Palace is also known as Ibrahim Kothi. Recently started serving as a luxury heritage hotel, it is very well known for various reasons. The magnificent white colonial mansion is spread over 25 acres and makes for a great view…writes N. LOTHUNGBENI HUMTSOE

With the sudden change in the Delhi NCR weather and a significant drop in temperature, it is time to succumb to the temptation of a quick relaxing weekend trip. To make the most of this incredible change in weather, choose a location that is a perfect mix of comfort and outdoor spaces where one can unwind in the cool mornings and evenings.

Here are a few suggestions that are only a short drive from the city but will transport you to another world away from the city’s hustle and bustle. And are ideal for relaxing in this weather to bring more life to the moments you spend.

Neemrana Fort Palace

Neemrana Fort Palace Hotel is a popular destination which is close to Delhi NCR because it retains its charm as a getaway that gives you a satisfying experience. A mix of luxury stay at a palace property and modern luxury; is a good option to spend a weekend. The grand structure makes for one of the most picturesque properties within a short distance from Delhi, Neemrana Fort Palace is a great place to spend a fun-filled weekend. There are enough outdoor and indoor experiences to keep your weekend engaged. It also offers great food to make the experience holistic. It is one of the best places to venture out to during good weather. Neemrana Fort Palace is a 3-hour drive from Delhi.

Pataudi Palace

Built in 1935, Pataudi Palace is also known as Ibrahim Kothi. Recently started serving as a luxury heritage hotel, it is very well known for various reasons. The magnificent white colonial mansion is spread over 25 acres and makes for a great view. It offers stylish interior decorations, artistically furnished rooms, classic verandahs, old model furniture, and modern amenities. The manicured lawns, gardens and open spaces are perfect hangouts during pleasant weather. One can easily lose track of time walking around admiring the beauty of the place. Just a 2-hour drive from Delhi, the Pataudi Palace is in Haryana.

Lohagarh Fort Resort


This luxury resort is conveniently located on the Delhi Jaipur Highway. A great place to spend a good weekend with family or friends, this place offers a luxurious stay with lots of activities to keep you engaged throughout the weekend. The tastefully done layout and ambience of the resort in itself is an attraction. One can easily sail through a whole weekend without feeling the need for leaving the resort. The open layout of the resort gives ample space to relish good weather and go around the property for walks. They offer amazing options for luxurious accommodations and scrumptious food. Lohagarh Fort Resort is a 5-hour drive from Delhi.

Dusit Devarana

Very different from any other resort, Dusit Devarana stands out from the crowd like its name. A 5-star resort just 31 km from Delhi, offers an escape from the hustle-bustle of the city. They have a very interesting modern landscape and architecture, with beautiful grounds that can offer you the pleasure to stroll in amicable weather. Or dive into the pool for a cool experience. The great amenities and luxuries of the resort will ensure the utmost comfort during the stay. Overall, a very uncommon and differentiated experience for a weekend getaway.

Noor Mahal, Karnal


Noor Mahal is a majestic 5-star hotel in the rustic backdrop of Karnal. The grandeur of Noor Mahal has been brought to life with Rajputana and Mughal Architecture. Walking among the wide corridors, admiring the beautiful arches and intricately decorated walls, one feels like royalty. They offer luxurious chambers with modern comforts that ensure the ultimate experience during your stay. A destination in itself, one can spend almost unbelievably amazing mornings and evenings outdoors in the lovely weather. Evening by their mesmerising pool side is highly recommended.

So, make your plans for the weekend to visit one of these splendid places to make most of the turned weather for a fortunately cool experience in the middle of harsh summers.

ALSO READ-Insta-worthy destinations in India to explore

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-Top News Dubai Travel & Tourism

Dubai’s rebound tourism welcomes 6.17 mn intl. visitors from Jan-May 2022

Dubai’s successful tourism rebound continues to inspire global tourism recovery with the city welcoming 6.17 million international overnight visitors from January to May 2022…reports Asian Lite News

Dubai’s successful tourism rebound continues to inspire global tourism recovery with the city welcoming 6.17 million international overnight visitors from January to May 2022, a 197 percent year-on-year (YoY) increase from the same five-month period in 2021, which saw the destination attracting just over two million international travellers.

The latest tourism data was revealed by Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) at its first ‘City Briefing’ for 2022, a bi-annual event that provides an in-depth industry outlook to stakeholders and partners, and discusses future strategies to further reinforce the city’s position as a global hub for business, investment, talent and tourism. The event was attended by more than 1,200 key executives from across the tourism ecosystem including aviation, travel, hospitality and retail sectors.

Helal Saeed Al Marri, Director-General, DET, commented, “The remarkable vision and leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, have always been an inspiration to us all, and this is reflected in the city’s continued success, as we focus on enhancing its position as a global hub for economy and tourism. We are building on the massive momentum generated by the hugely successful Expo 2020 Dubai to drive growth across all our tourism pillars from cultural to culinary experiences, while working towards achieving the ambitious goal of making Dubai the most visited destination and the city of the future that will be the best place in the world to live and work.

“As we look ahead to the remainder of 2022 and beyond, we will harness the key elements that have ensured the industry’s steady growth year after year since we reopened to international visitors in 2020 – providing an unparalleled diverse destination offering that offers unique value and memorable experiences for our guests. This can only happen with the support of our stakeholders, and we are counting on them to continue playing a pivotal role in facilitating growth, as well as restoring confidence and trust among travellers in Dubai as a safe destination,” Al Marri added.

The new tourism figures from DET show that overall, Dubai hotels maintained an average occupancy level of 76 percent from January to May 2022 compared to 62 percent during the corresponding period in 2021. According to data from hotel management analytics firm STR, Dubai ranked No.1 globally in hotel occupancy, ahead of other international destinations including New York (61 percent), London (60 percent) and Paris (57 percent), for the January-April 2022 period.

Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM), opened the day’s programme by providing an overview of the industry with a detailed presentation that featured valuable visitor and marketing insights, in addition to an update on the communications activities that are underway across key international markets that include a novel campaign designed to encourage more families and global travellers to select the city for their summer vacation. The ‘Stay More, Pay Less’ campaign is a citywide initiative supported by over 60 hotels and resorts, providing outstanding value to international travellers this summer. The promotion provides guests an amazing offer – stay for seven nights at participating hotels and resorts and pay for only five nights or stay for five nights and pay for only three nights stay.

Kazim commented, “Dubai’s positive performance is also testament to the city’s resilience and the success of our recovery strategy. As we strive to leverage a robust domestic market and the growing international visitation, we are confident that the summer season will serve as an ideal launchpad to further accelerate momentum across the industry.”

ALSO READ:DGCA extends ban on intl commercial flights till Oct 31

He also briefed participants on the global campaigns, which have captivated audiences all over the world and shone a light on the city and all of Dubai’s attractions- from Dubai Presents, the thrilling campaign, which highlights ‘must visit’ attractions across the city through trailers featuring Hollywood and Bollywood stars, to Dubai being selected as the No.1 Global Destination in Tripadvisor Travellers Choice Awards 2022. The event also highlighted the drive to position Dubai as a global gastronomy hub that has received a strong boost with the launch of MICHELIN Guide Dubai and the arrival of renowned fine-dining food critique brand Gault&Millau, both important additions to the city’s fast evolving gastronomy scene.

With its multifaceted offering, Dubai remains a popular destination, further validating the successful global campaigns run by DET throughout the year. Since Q4 2021, there have been over 200 million searches for travel to Dubai, and in May 2022 searches and bookings for the destination reached almost pre-pandemic levels.

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Asia News Europe Travel & Tourism

‘Thailand is most popular destination for UAE travellers’

Its popular Thailand holiday packages for 2022, inclusive of seven nights in a four or five star hotel, meal plans, return flights and more, start from AED3,480 per person…reports Asian Lite News

dnata Travel, the UAE’s longest-standing travel provider, is revealing that Thailand is the most popular destination for UAE travellers for summer holidays in 2022.

Experts at the UAE-based travel brand are recording a 185% increase in the total number of travel bookings made for summer 2022 so far compared to the same time period in 2021.

A total 64% of hotel bookings are for international properties, while 34% represent UAE staycations across the country. The top ten destinations for UAE travellers to book a holiday package, including flights and hotels, with dnata Travel at the time of publishing, are: Thailand, Maldives, Turkey, Mauritius, UK, Indonesia, Italy, USA, Spain and France, respectively.

Flight-only leisure travel bookings are also proving popular to visit friends and relatives, with top destinations including India, Egypt, Philippines, Turkey, and the UK, most concentrated during the time of the anticipated Eid al-Adha break in July.

Meerah Ketait, Head of Retail and Leisure UAE at dnata Travel, commented: “The top five holiday destinations for UAE travellers in 2022 have typically made up our top locations for international travel bookings pre-pandemic. With more locations opening up to travellers this year and with eased restrictions, we have witnessed our 2021 summer holiday hotspots the Maldives and Turkey joined once again by ever-popular destinations Thailand, Mauritius and the UK.

“Thailand has risen quickly to become the top-choice international holiday destination for UAE travellers in summer 2022 since it reopened for tourism. Alongside the world-class resorts, experiences, food and abundance of natural attractions that the country has to offer, cost-effective holiday offers across its cities and islands are extremely popular.”

The top locations of choice for UAE travellers to Thailand this summer with dnata Travel are Bangkok, Phuket and Koh Samui. Its popular Thailand holiday packages for 2022, inclusive of seven nights in a four or five star hotel, meal plans, return flights and more, start from AED3,480 per person.

As more of Asia opens for tourism, Indonesia is close to reaching the top five most popular holiday destinations from the UAE, with direct flights recently resuming to the island of Bali, one of dnata Travel’s most searched-for international destinations during the pandemic. Singapore sits close to the top ten, offering travellers an attractive and safe city break.

Meanwhile, witnessing notable growth this summer and climbing the overall list at the fastest rate for holiday bookings from the UAE include Oman, Canada, Germany and Austria, as mountain resorts remain popular with travellers seeking an escape amidst nature.  

To explore the latest options for a summer holiday from the UAE with dnata Travel, access dnataTravel.com. For more travel advice and inspiration, contact the dnata Travel experts via call or WhatsApp on 800 DNATA (36282), on social media @dnataTravel, email holidays@dnatatravel.com, or visit a dnata Travel retail outlet across the UAE.

ALSO READ-‘Dubai’s proactive initiatives enabled rapid tourism recovery’

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Abu Dhabi Travel & Tourism UAE News

Summer pass active for Abu Dhabi’s ‘Summer Like You Mean It’

The Abu Dhabi Summer Pass also covers complimentary transportation within the city on the Visit Abu Dhabi Shuttle Bus network and within Yas Island on the Yas Express…reports Asian Lite News

Following the launch of Abu Dhabi’s ‘Summer Like You Mean It’ campaign at Arabian Travel Market this year, the innovative Abu Dhabi Summer Pass is now live on summerpass.visitabudhabi.ae. Developed by the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), the pass rounds up the top sights and experiences of the UAE capital in an exclusive all-access bundle, and is valid until 31 August 2022.

Offering world-class hospitality, family fun, and entertainment to residents and visitors, Abu Dhabi is making the destination even more accessible with the new Abu Dhabi Summer Pass, which is priced at AED 599 for adults and AED 499 for children between 4 and 17 years of age. The pass is complimentary for children aged 3 and below.

Holders of the Abu Dhabi Summer Pass can ride the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, meet their favourite DC Superheroes at Warner Bros. WorldTM Abu Dhabi, and enjoy more than 40 rides and slides at Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi.

The pass also includes a one-day visit to Louvre Abu Dhabi, as well as discounted access to 13 cultural landmarks and institutions across Abu Dhabi and Al Ain, including Qasr Al Hosn, House of Artisans, Qasr Al Watan, Al Ain Palace Museum, Al Jahili Fort, and Qasr Al Muwaiji.

The Abu Dhabi Summer Pass also covers complimentary transportation within the city on the Visit Abu Dhabi Shuttle Bus network and within Yas Island on the Yas Express.

Visitors can also obtain the Abu Dhabi Summer Pass, saving up to 50 percent, when booking their stay from a selection of 40 world-class hotels on summer.visitabudhabi.aehttps://visitabudhabi.ae/, that includes W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, The WBTM Abu Dhabi, Curio Collection by Hilton and Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island.

For more information on Abu Dhabi and its diverse range of summer experiences, please go to VisitAbuDhabi.ae.

Top unmissable sights and attractions via the Abu Dhabi Summer Pass

  1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi: Bond with your family upside down as you ride the world’s fastest rollercoaster at a record-breaking speed of 240 kilometres per hour. Showcasing more than 20 exhilarating and educational rides and attractions, incredible shopping, and authentic Italian dining experiences, this indoor theme park is the perfect destination for an action-packed day out with your loved ones.
  2. Warner Bros. WorldTM Abu Dhabi: Surprise your kids with their favourite movie characters and superheroes, including Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. This 153,000-square-metre indoor theme park boasts 29 state-of-the-art rides, interactive family-friendly attractions, upbeat live entertainment, a range of dining options to suit all tastes, and exclusive shopping outlets.
  3. Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi: Feel the rush of a looping freefall waterslide, surf the waves of excitement, and hang on the Middle East’s longest suspended rollercoaster at the UAE’s most exciting waterpark. With more than 40 rides, slides and attractions, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi offers an unforgettable experience to visitors of all ages.
  4. Louvre Abu Dhabi: Find creative inspiration at this universal museum that celebrates world cultures and connections and houses hundreds of the globe’s most priceless works of art in a breath-taking structure. Louvre Abu Dhabi is so spectacular that you will want to snap the structure’s enormous dome composed of 7,850 stars that filter light through their perforations, creating a dazzling display known as the ‘rain of light’.
  5. Qasr Al Hosn & House of Artisans: Journey through the past at the oldest standing structure in Abu Dhabi. Built around the 1790s, this commanding Qasr Al Hosn overlooked the coastal trade routes and protected the growing settlement established on the island. Those looking for unique mementoes will love the site’s House of Artisans, where local artisans create beautiful artworks on-site, with pieces available to purchase.
  6. Qasr Al Watan: Discover the rich legacy of knowledge and tradition that has shaped the UAE’s journey at this majestic cultural landmark which is also a working presidential palace. Boosting cultural understanding of the nation and emphasising its incredible history, Qasr Al Watan is an exquisitely crafted tribute to Arabian heritage and artistry, with its architecture and design echoing the significance and function of the impressive exhibits and iconic rooms housed within its halls.
  7. Al Ain Palace Museum: Get a glimpse of the 20th century Emirati way of life and learn about the life of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Founding Father of the UAE at Al Ain Palace. Built in 1937, it was renovated and converted to a house museum in 2001 and features some of the architectural features typical of the Transition Period (1930s–60s).

ALSO READ-UAE Medical Univ. Offers Summer Internship

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Travel Travel & Tourism

Insta-worthy destinations in India to explore

Among the notable attractions, the Neelakurinji, which blooms once every 12 years, is a sight to behold, as these rare and unique flowers present a picturesque blue and purple landscape against the green rolling hills of Munnar…reports Asian Lite News

Travel is opening up across the world, and with that, our Instagram feeds are now being blessed with pictures of people exploring new and unique destinations. While most travel influencers flaunt beautiful destinations from across the globe, there is absolutely no dearth of insta-worthy destinations in India.

Right from flower-filled landscapes to snowcapped mountain ranges, there is no shortage of beautiful destinations within the country, especially for those who want to make a quick getaway and explore picture-perfect destinations.

To help spice up your travel feed, EaseMyTrip shares a list of some of the most beautiful destinations that will make others envious of your Instagram feed:

* Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh

Popular for its scenic mountain ranges, coniferous landscapes, and 400-year-old monasteries adorned in colorful Tibetan flags, the quaint town of Tawang is considered to be one of the prime Insta-worthy destinations, not just for those who want to grace their feeds with aesthetic posts, but also for those who want to visit a destination with tremendous natural beauty and history. The town is also home to one of the biggest, and oldest monasteries in India, dating back to 1680. This destination is especially perfect for those who want to enjoy an offbeat vacation, and who want to explore the unique hiking trails such as the Gorichen Peak, which gives travelers a breathtaking 360-degree view of Tawang.

Insta Worthy Location: GadenNamgyalLhatse (Tawang Monastery)

* Munnar, Kerala

Located in the Idukki district of Kerala, Munnar is a scenic destination straight out of a fairytale. This quaint hill station is a romantic paradise nestled in the confluence of three mountain streams. Among the notable attractions, the Neelakurinji, which blooms once every 12 years, is a sight to behold, as these rare and unique flowers present a picturesque blue and purple landscape against the green rolling hills of Munnar. The tea estates, Lakkam waterfalls, and Eravikulam National Park are some must-visit destinations for those who want to explore the unique and magnificent sights of the hill station and add more color to their Instagram feed.

Insta Worthy Location: Neelakurinji Bloom Hills

* KremLiatPrah, Meghalaya

From the dazzling blue pools to stalagmites in gleaming hues, the unique caves nestled in KremLiatPrah make a traveler feel as if they are visiting a destination straight out of a fantasy novel. The KremLiatPrah stands as one of the longest natural caves in South Asia and is interconnected with over 150 caves to awaken the explorer in you. The caves can, however, only be explored along with an experienced cave guide, during the daytime, to truly experience the beauty of this unique destination. Winter is the perfect season to experience the vast stretches of cherry blossoms that bloom during this time of the year. KremLiatPrah is one of the most remote destinations in Meghalaya, which is why pre-booking a bus or a taxi to reach your destination from Shillong is considered to be the best option.

Insta Worthy Location: Krem Dam Caves

* Thiksey, Leh

Thiksey in Leh is one destination that is surely set to become an instant favorite, especially with the concept of glamping being at the forefront of the experiences here. While there are only specific months during the year when visitors can enjoy the sights, the pictures clicked here are sure to last a lifetime. The Chamba Camp in particular is a luxury glamping site that offers some of the best backdrops for scenic views. When visiting Thiksey, opt to stay in one of the local luxury tents, which creates a unique wilderness camping experience. October is one of the best times to visit this destination owing to the ThikseyGustor Festival, which gives visitors a unique insight into the ritualistic life of Tibetan people, and the culture that has been upheld for centuries in this region.

Insta Worthy Location: Chamba Camp

* Kutch, Gujarat

Aptly dubbed as the “White Desert of India”, Kutch is a unique destination that exudes a surreal feeling that is unmatched and sure to add a touch of flair to your feed. The vast and expansive white salt desert coupled with a backdrop of a starry sky is sure to have you staring in awe at the pictures that come as a result of it. The Rann Festival in particular is one of the most popular and instagrammable events, as the numerous sights and stalls set up here add a pop of color to an otherwise pristine backdrop. One of the attractions of this festival is also the hot air balloon rides being offered to patrons, giving them a unique bird’s eye view of the vast saline mudflats that are iconic to this region. Kutch is also known for being home to the unique Tent City of Gujarat, whose notable attractions include the extensive lines of white tent houses and stores, as well as the renowned Statue of Unity.

Insta Worthy Location: RaanUtsav (Tent City)

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Lite Blogs Travel & Tourism

Quick visa guide for travellers planning for summer holidays

VFS Global is strictly not authorised to provide advice or guidance on visa category or any other visa requirement that the customer may need…says Monaz Billimoria, Deputy Regional Head – UAE & Qatar, VFS Global.

The world is on the move again after nearly two years of lockdowns and travel restrictions. With many countries opening international borders and easing travel restrictions, many travellers across the globe are planning international trips.

VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, has put together a quick visa guide for travellers planning Eid Al Adha and summer holidays.

  • What is VFS Global’s role in the visa process?

We manage non-judgmental and administrative tasks related to applications for visa, passport and consular, identity and citizen services for governments part of our client portfolio. This allows diplomatic missions (i.e., embassies/consulates) to effectively manage their time and resources and focus on the critical task of assessing visa applications and making decisions on whether to grant a visa or not.

  • How does the key visa application trends look like?

With international borders opening up and covid restrictions reducing, we have seen a good demand from travellers. Number of visa applications have risen significantly after Q1 2022 and in Q2 & Q3 we expect around 85% of pre-pandemic counts to return. The demand for our optional Premium service, Visa at your doorstep have also doubled since pre-pandemic times due to increased convenience it brings to the applicant.

  • If I am travelling to the UK with stopover in EU member states, do I need Schengen airport transit visa? 

Yes, Schengen airport transit visa is mandatory for travellers with a stopover. This requirement has been in place for many years.

  • How early before my travel dates should I apply for my visa?

When planning your travels, you always book flights and hotels in advance. Do the same for visas.

Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days (3 months) before your date of travel. According to the revised Schengen Visa Code, effective 02 February 2020, you can apply for a Schengen visa up to 6 months before your date of travel. Particularly this year with higher demand and limited appointment slots available, we urge applicants to apply for their visa as early as possible.

  • What are the typical turnaround timelines for visas?

Each country has a different timeline for its visa processing, and these timelines are mentioned on VFS Global websites, providing you the information required to apply for your visa well in advance. Be aware that during peak season visa processing can take longer than anticipated, hence apply early. Each application is unique and thus the processing time may differ for each case.

  • What is the appointment allotment process at VFS Global?

Appointment slots are offered online based on volume of demand or forecast, and in conjunction with the embassy’s own internal capacity planning. Once scheduled, we highly recommend being at the centre 15 minutes prior the appointed time to avoid missing your slot. Appointments are free, beware of fraudulent parties selling appointments in exchange of money. We urge applicants not to pay for any appointments being offered.

  • I am confused about documentation, which varies depending on who I ask! Which are the correct documents to submit?

A checklist of the documentation required for visa applications for each country served by VFS Global is available on our website. Be sure to carry all the requisite documentation, including a printout of the checklist, to submit along with the duly filled application form. Check your passport’s and Emirates ID’s validity. Many countries require a valid passport six months beyond your return date.

  • How do I track the status of my application?

Once your application is submitted, you can track the progress of your application online through VFS Global website. Additionally, you can opt for the SMS service, and receive timely updates on your mobile phone.

The status will be updated as and when your passport is ready for collection/delivery.  Be aware that VFS Global cannot track your application during the assessment process within an embassy or consulate.

  • Can VFS Global offer me advice and guidance on visa categories and vaccination?

VFS Global is strictly not authorised to provide advice or guidance on visa category or any other visa requirement that the customer may need. VFS Global manages the administrative and non-judgmental aspects of the visa process only, such as visa application submission and biometric enrolment. VFS Global does not comment on vaccine requirements. All travellers are requested to check the destination / transit country guidelines for the same.

  • Can I expedite the process? Does availing any of the value-added services guarantee a faster visa outcome?

The time taken for visa processing differs with each mission. Please check the turnaround timelines before applying.

Opting for any optional, value-added services (such as Prime Time Services or Form-filling, or any other service) does not guarantee a quicker or more positive decision by the concerned embassy/consulate. Optional and value-added services are available for select client governments only, as per agreed service level agreements with those governments.

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Travel & Tourism

Zubin Karkaria appointed Goodwill Ambassador for Zanzibar

VFS Global is well established in the tourism representation and promotion domain with over 10 years of experience and a global presence in 25 countries…reports Asian Lite News

Zubin Karkaria, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of VFS Global, the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide, was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for tourism for Zanzibar by the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports.

Karkaria was among four leaders from distinguished walks chosen to help promote tourism-driven investments in the picturesque destination, off the east coast of Africa in Tanzania, through new avenues for sports, entertainment and culture.

“It is, of course, a great honour and privilege to be appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for the tourism vertical by the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports. From the tourism perspective, I have been an ardent admirer of Zanzibar’s natural beauty, its warm, hospitable, and tourism-friendly people. With this opportunity, I can personally and professionally add value to this outstanding destination, and I am sure in the years ahead, Zanzibar will make its mark in the tourism spectrum,” said Karkaria..

Zanzibar has attracted tourists from across the world for more than two decades. Its top attractions include Stone Town, its ancient city that became a designated a UNESCO Heritage Site in 2000, its vibrant beach life, surfing and water activities, and its indigenous cusine, among others.

While legendary cricketer, Sunil Gavaskar was appointed, Goodwill Ambassador for Sports, entertainment baron Kunal Kapoor was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for Entertainment and Sheldon Santwan, Editor-in-chief & CEO – Travel Biz Monitor, was appointed the Goodwill Ambassador for the media and travel trade vertical.

VFS Global is well established in the tourism representation and promotion domain with over 10 years of experience and a global presence in 25 countries. The company provides tourism and trade support services to several of our client’s national tourism authorities by assisting them in a wide range of promotional activities for their respective destinations.

About VFS Global

VFS Global is the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions. VFS Global is the trusted partner of 64 client governments, operating a global network with more than 3,500 Application Centres in 141 countries. The company has processed over 241 million applications since its inception in 2001. The company manages non-judgmental and administrative tasks related to applications for visa, passport, and consular services for its client governments, enabling them to focus entirely on the critical assessment task. VFS Global has its headquarters in Zurich/Switzerland, and Dubai/United Arab Emirates.

VFS Global is majority-owned by funds managed by Blackstone, the world’s largest alternative asset manager. Blackstone seeks to create positive economic impact and long-term value for their investors, the companies in which they invest, and the communities in which they work. Blackstone’s USD 915 billion in assets under management include investment vehicles focused on private equity, real estate, public debt and equity, infrastructure, life sciences, growth equity, opportunistic, non-investment grade credit, real assets, and secondary funds, all on a global basis.

The Swiss-based Kuoni and Hugentobler Foundation and EQT, a global investment organisation headquartered in Stockholm/Sweden, hold minority stakes in VFS Global.

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Blue wonders of New Zealand

Stroll and admire the pure water of The Blue Spring in the Waikato-Hamilton region, so clean it supplies around 70 per cent of New Zealand’s bottled water…reports Asian Lite News

Everyone is aware of the world’s seven natural wonders. They are spectacular, remarkable, and unforgettable. But did you know that New Zealand has its own blue wonders that will captivate your senses?

New Zealand is a visual seeker’s treasure chest waiting to be opened, with its breathtakingly beautiful sights. These dazzling blue attractions, ranging from azure lakes to turquoise pools, must be seen to be believed.

Poor Knights Islands

Beneath the waves at the Poor Knights Islands, you’ll find subtropical fish that can’t be seen anywhere else in New Zealand. Diving and snorkelling are the best ways to enjoy this underwater world, located 30 kilometres from Whangarei in Northland & Bay of Islands region.

Te Waikoropupu Springs

Be amazed by some of the clearest water ever measured at Te Waikoropupu Springs, in Takaka, the largest freshwater springs in the Southern Hemisphere. Also known as Pupu Springs, local Maori see it as a taonga (treasure) and wahi tapu, a place held in high cultural and spiritual regard.

The Blue Spring


Stroll and admire the pure water of The Blue Spring in the Waikato-Hamilton region, so clean it supplies around 70 per cent of New Zealand’s bottled water. The Te Waihou Walkway winds through wetlands, across rolling pastures and past small waterfalls to the turquoise water of the spring, one of the purest water sources in the world.

Glowworm caves

An ancient subterranean world in the heart of New Zealand’s central North Island, the Waitomo Cave system is a series of fascinating and dramatic natural wonders. Take a boat ride to observe the glowing wonders up close or get your adrenaline pumping with Black Water Rafting.

Blue Pools

Take a short and easy walk through mature beech trees and over a swing bridge to discover the awe-inspiring Blue Pools. The deep, clear glacial pools of the Makarora River can be found in Mount Aspiring National Park.

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki, a shimmering blue jewel set against a backdrop of Aoraki/Mt Cook, gets its distinctive deep blue tones from finely-ground minerals carried in the glacier-fed waters. Discover nearby walks, take a scenic flight, or go at night for a spectacular stargazing experience.

Huka Falls

One of New Zealand’s most popular natural attractions, Huka Falls is just 10 minutes from Lake Taupo. Watch as the mighty Waikato River, which measures about 100 metres wide, is squeezed through a narrow gorge and down a 20 metre drop. You can feel the thundering Falls up close on a jet boat ride or marvel from a safe distance on one of the many viewing platforms.

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