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Bhutan Lite Blogs Travel

Exploring Bhutan’s Rich Heritage

The Royal Highland Festival, which celebrates the ancient traditions of Bhutan’s highland communities, is scheduled from October 23rd to 24th, 2024. The festival will be held in the beautiful district of Laya, in the highlands of Bhutan…reports Asian Lite News

As Bhutan marks the 50th anniversary of opening its doors to foreign tourists this year, there is no better way to experience the culture and soul of the country than through its calendar of over 150 festivals per year. Festivals are a key part of Bhutanese culture, and the Kingdom has a comprehensive festival calendar full of colour and atmosphere.

From mystical dances that give life to Bhutan’s ancient myths to the rhythms that have echoed through the Kingdom’s mountains for centuries, Bhutan’s variety of festivals will prepare travellers to immerse themselves in the unique cultural experience of the Land of the Thunder Dragon.

Genekha Matsutake Mushroom Festival
15th-16th August 2024
The Genekha Matsutake Mushroom Festival, celebrated in Thimphu, is a two-day event celebrated on the 15th and 16th of August. The festival aims to promote sustainable harvesting of mushrooms, create local awareness about wild edible mushrooms, and showcase the local cuisines. The festival offers a variety of activities, such as displays of indigenous sports and stalls showcasing local products like wild mushrooms, non-wood products, and high-breed agricultural seeds. Festival-goers can also relish traditional dishes like mushroom soup and curry. The festival also features traditional performances showcasing the region’s unique heritage, such as mask and folk dances, along with exhibitions and displays.

Thimphu Tshechu
13th- 15th September 2024
The Thimphu Tshechu is an awe-inspiring event in the Bhutanese capital that brings locals and tourists worldwide together. Thimphu Tshechu is a grand celebration dedicated to spreading the teachings of Guru Rinpoche, the second Buddha, and commemorating his legacy. During three days of lively festivities, the festival is full of colourful dances and ritual ceremonies that depict the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. Said to be one of the most popular events for locals and tourists alike, Thimphu Tshechu leaves a lasting impression on all of its visitors.

Royal Highland Festival
23rd-24th October 2024
The Royal Highland Festival, which celebrates the ancient traditions of Bhutan’s highland communities, is scheduled from October 23rd to 24th, 2024. The festival will be held in the beautiful district of Laya, in the highlands of Bhutan. It will showcase the authentic, simple lives of the highlanders through a range of activities, including highland animal competitions, folk dances, and age-old traditional offerings. One of the festival's highlights is the scenic 25 km Laya Run, which begins at Ponjothang, the point where the drivable road ends. Visitors will travel along the banks of the mighty Mochu River until they reach the festival ground. This year, the festival will also mark the start of the Snowman Race, considered as one of the hardest ultramarathons in the world.

Zhemgang Bird Festival
13th-15th November 2024
The annual Zhemgang Bird Festival is another popular festival that takes place in November. Located in the eco-tourism capital of Zhemgang, the festival is a scenic 6-hour drive away from Thimphu. Visitors from both local and foreign lands flock to this festival to witness over 500 bird species living in the Zhemgang region. The three-day festival promotes eco-tourism and will feature cultural and entertaining performances by local bands, dancers, singers, and traditional Bhutanese musicians. Visitors can sample the local Bhutanese cuisine at the food stalls, participate in competitions and games, and enjoy a hike along the beautiful bird-watching trails. It promises to be a traditional Bhutanese festival that will be remembered for a long time.

ALSO READ-Summer Vacation Ideas From Maldives to Bhutan

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-Top News India News Travel

Air India Express crew agree to restore ops

All unhappy crew members are ready to join office with immediate effect and management is ready to revoked all termination letter…reports Asian Lite News

In a meeting that continued for about four and a half hours regarding the human resource crisis at Air India Express, an agreement was reached with the crew members addressing all their concerns.

Both the crew and management members have agreed to restore normal airline operations. Consequently, the termination of 25 crew members has been overturned.

All unhappy crew members are ready to join office with immediate effect and management is ready to revoked all termination letter, crew members said.

The meeting was held at the office of the Chief Labour Commissioner (CLC). Four officers, alongside the Chief Human Resource Officer of Air India Express, were also present at the meeting.

Approximately 20 senior crew members also participated.

Should the crew members’ demands remain unmet, another meeting is scheduled to convene on May 28.

About 85 flights were cancelled due to sudden sick leave calls from crew members.

On Wednesday, Air India Express apologised for the inconvenience after its flights, most of them international, were either cancelled or delayed due to senior crew members calling in sick.

The sudden shortage of crew members led to flights being grounded, affecting both domestic and international routes. Sources said that some senior crew members switched off their mobile phones just before flight operations, citing health issues.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation had called for a detailed report from Air India Express regarding the matter and had urged the airline to promptly resolve the issues.

This incident at Air India Express comes shortly after Vistara encountered similar issues in April, when hundreds of flights were affected due to pilots calling in sick.

“On appeal of the Chief Labour Commissioner (Central) the management agreed to reinstate 25 cabin crew who have been terminated on May 7 and May 8 for reporting sick as a concerted action immediately. The management will review the cases of these cabin crew as per service regulations,” it further read.

“The representatives of the management assured that all the issues of cabin crew raised before the management and during conciliation proceedings will be looked into and resolved. The conciliation proceeding is adjourned and fixed for May 28 at 3 p.m.,” the note added.

Over 80 flights were cancelled on Thursday following the mass sick leave taken by the cabin crew of Air India Express, said an official.

“We will be operating 283 flights today. We have mobilised all resources and Air India will support us by operating on 20 of our routes. However, 85 of our flights stand cancelled and we urge our guests booked to fly with us to check if their flight is affected by the disruption before heading to the airport,” said the Air India Express spokesperson.

“We are pleased with the progress we made at the conciliation meeting and welcome our cabin crew colleagues back at work. This will help us swiftly restore our flight schedule and fulfil our commitments to our guests. We sincerely apologise to those inconvenienced by these unintended disruptions. It is not in keeping with our usual service standards, and we will review it internally to ensure accountability. As we gradually bring our operations back to normalcy, we urge our guests booked to fly with us to check their flight status before heading to the airport. If their flight is cancelled, or delayed beyond 3 hours, they may opt for a full refund or reschedule to a later date without any fees,” the spokesperson added.

The breakthrough will come as a relief to passengers, hundreds of whom were left stranded, especially on Wednesday when the sudden cancellations began. Air India Express CEO Aloke Singh had written to employees on Wednesday and said that the number of flights being operated will be reduced over the next few days, but all cabin crew members are expected to return to work immediately and services are likely to be normalised in three-four days.

An Air India Express spokesperson said, “We are pleased with the progress we made at the conciliation meeting and welcome our cabin crew colleagues back at work. This will help us swiftly restore our flight schedule and fulfil our commitments to our guests. We sincerely apologise to those inconvenienced by these unintended disruptions.”

“As we gradually bring our operations back to normalcy, we urge our guests booked to fly with us to check their flight status before heading to the airport. If their flight is cancelled, or delayed beyond 3 hours, they may opt for a full refund or reschedule to a later date without any fees,” the spokesperson added.

The airline had to cancel flights after 300 senior cabin crew members began reporting sick at the last minute starting Tuesday night and then switched off their cellphones. What precipitated the crisis were new employment terms and modifications in the compensation package, sources had said. Crew members had also alleged a lack of equality in the treatment of staff.

It had come to light on Thursday that the airline had sacked 25 of the crew members who had called in sick. The others said they would not return to work until they were reinstated.

ALSO READ: Russia Accuses US of Interfering in Indian Elections

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-Top News Travel UK News

Travelers stranded as widespread delays hit airports

It has not been confirmed how many airports were affected but reports indicated it was widespread and had been ongoing since before 8pm….reports Asian Lite News

Passengers were ‘stuck on planes’ after landing as huge queues formed at Manchester Airport amid a ‘technical issue’.

Border Force eGates, which are automated self-service barriers which use data stored in a chip in biometric passports, crashed at major airports across the UK, including in Manchester, Gatwick and Heathrow.

The issue caused long delays at the border, with some passengers complaining of 80-minute waits in Manchester, with others claiming they were sat on planes for around 30 minutes after landing due to the size of the ‘crazy’ queues.

One woman said: “We have just been allowed of the plane to immigration and it’s crazy. Stayed on the plane for about 30 minutes as immigration refused to accept us – now we are in a massive queue.”

Another passenger said he was queueing up for around 80 minutes after the eGates were hit by the outage in Manchester, which also impacted other airports nationwide.

“We are clear and through now,” he said. “Was there about 1 hour 20 minutes. We were handed bottled water as it was red hot with no air conditioning”

Another person posted on X, formerly Twitter: “System down at Manchester Airport, over 1,000 people packed in the hall at immigration, border force staff handing out bottles of water.”

It has not been confirmed how many airports were affected but reports indicated it was widespread and had been ongoing since before 8pm.

Manchester Airport was among those that issued statements on the fault on Tuesday evening, apologising for the long delays faced by passengers that had landed, only to face winding queues.

A statement said: “UK Border Force is experiencing nationwide issues affecting eGates at a number of airports, including Manchester. Our teams are supporting UK Border Force staff to minimise disruption to passengers while they fix the problem.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused during this time and thank you for your patience and understanding.”

It has not been confirmed how many airports are affected but social media reports indicate it is widespread and has been ongoing since before 8pm on Tuesday.

A Home Office spokesperson said the ‘technical issue’ was nationwide. adding: “We are aware of a technical issue affecting eGates across the country. We are working closely with Border Force and affected airports to resolve the issue as soon as possible and apologise to all passengers for the inconvenience caused.”

The disruption comes after Border Force workers staged a four-day strike at Heathrow in a dispute over working conditions last week. The union said the workers were protesting against plans to introduce new rosters they claim will see around 250 of them forced out of their jobs at passport control.

ALSO READ: UK govt considered Rwanda-style asylum deal with Iraq

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Lite Blogs Sports Travel

Experience IPL Fever

Ahmedabad offers a blend of history and modernity. Step back in time at the Sabarmati Ashram, Mahatma Gandhi’s former residence, and soak up the spirit of India’s independence struggle Feeling hungry? Dive into a world of flavour at Manek Chowk, a vibrant market overflowing with delicious street food such as dhokla, fafda, and the signature Gujarati thali, a vegetarian platter…reports Asian Lite News

Cricket in India isn’t just a sport, it’s a full-blown obsession and IPL is no less than a festival. Ditch the couch and ditch the FOMO! A whopping 75% of Indians are prepared to increase their travel budgets for live cricket experiences, according to Skyscanner’s Travel in Focus 2023 report. It proves the passion for blending sports excitement with unforgettable travel adventures!

So, the question isn’t “Are you watching the IPL?” It’s “Where are you going to experience it live?!”.

While you’re travelling to support your team and soak in the IPL energy, why not explore a little more? Skyscanner’s Travel Trends 2024 report unveils that culture takes the lead in holiday experiences, with shopping (49%), historical tours (45%), and savouring local flavours (38%) emerging as top choices.

Don’t just be a spectator—become an explorer! Dive into the host city’s rich culture, uncover hidden treasures, and treat your taste buds to delectable local cuisines. To help one conquer it all, IANSlife crafted an IPL travel guide – your key to an unforgettable trip this ItravPL season!

Experience the Excitement of IPL Host Cities!

Aamchi Mumbai: If you’re catching the Mumbai Indians in action on their home ground, keeping up with the city’s energy and pace is important. To beat the traffic, hop on to the local train and explore Mumbai from one end to the other. If you are planning an extended stay in the city, take a breezy walk along Marine Drive and soak up the history at the majestic Gateway of India. This IPL trip will be a sixer for your senses!

Match: Mumbai Indian v/s Kolkata Knight Riders (May 3)

Location: Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai

Delhi: Get ready to conquer the city beyond the stadium! Snap a legendary pic at the majestic India Gate, the awe-inspiring Qutub Minar, or the Red Fort – a Mughal marvel that screams “history buff.” Need a zen moment? The Lotus Temple offers a tranquil escape. The real win is for your taste buds! Imagine melt-in-your-mouth Daulat Ki Chaat, crispy kachoris dripping with flavour, juicy mouthwatering kebabs, and the legendary kake di hatti.

Match: Delhi Capitals v/s Rajasthan Royals (May 7)

Location: Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi

Ahmedabad: Ahmedabad offers a blend of history and modernity. Step back in time at the Sabarmati Ashram, Mahatma Gandhi’s former residence, and soak up the spirit of India’s independence struggle Feeling hungry? Dive into a world of flavour at Manek Chowk, a vibrant market overflowing with delicious street food such as dhokla, fafda, and the signature Gujarati thali, a vegetarian platter.

Match: Gujarat Titan v/s Chennai Super Kings (May 10)

Location: Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad

Kolkata – City of Joy: Step into the vibrant tapestry of Kolkata’s rich heritage and culture! Explore the stunning architecture of Victoria Memorial and immerse yourself in Park Street’s vibrant dining and nightlife scene. Think irresistible rasgullas and spicy puchkas – your taste buds will be singing your praises!

Match: Kolkata Knight Riders v/s Mumbai Indians (May 11)

Location: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

Chennai: Chennai Super Kings setting the stadium on fire? You can too! Feel the pre-game energy with a stroll on Marina Beach, one of the world’s longest beaches! Or uncover the ancient wonders of the Kapaleeshwarar Temple. It’s a history buff’s paradise and your next Insta-worthy masterpiece. You can also power up for the match (or celebrate a win!) with Chennai’s legendary piping hot masala dosa and filter coffee and don’t forget to hit up iconic spots like Sarvana Bhavan and CTR – your taste buds will be thanking you for years to come!

Match: Chennai Super Kings v/s Rajasthan Royals (May 12)

Location: MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai

ALSO READ-Siraj’s Swing Magic Earns RCB Victory in IPL 2024 Match

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Lite Blogs Travel Travel & Tourism

Minor Hotels Accelerates Expansion Plans in India

Eyeing hotel management contracts and with an emphasis on greenfield developments, Minor Hotels will look to identify opportunities in up-and-coming locations, continuing a strategy of destination creation that has been the foundation of the group’s 46-year history…reports Asian Lite News

Minor Hotels’ growth strategy in India is part of an ambitious global expansion plan for the Bangkok-based group, which is targeting to add more than 200 hotels in the next three years.

The global hotel owner and operator with more than 540 properties in 56 countries, is set to intensify its presence in the dynamic Indian hospitality market, targeting 50 new openings within the next decade.The group will focus its strategy on the upper-upscale and luxury hotel segments, where it expects strong interest from owners in its well-established Anantara, Avani, and NH Collection brands.

For Anantara Hotels & Resorts, the group is building on core brand differentiators by targeting opportunities in Ayurvedic wellness retreats, wilderness lodges, and historical palaces. It also believes Avani Hotels & Resorts is well positioned to fill a significant gap in the lifestyle hotel space across India, while NH Collection Hotels & Resorts will prove attractive for upper-upscale conversion opportunities.

It has also identified strong potential for the upscale NH Hotels & Resorts, particularly in rapidly developing tier two cities and airport locations.

Eyeing hotel management contracts and with an emphasis on greenfield developments, Minor Hotels will look to identify opportunities in up-and-coming locations, continuing a strategy of destination creation that has been the foundation of the group’s 46-year history.

Amir Golbarg, SVP for Middle East, Africa and India for Minor Hotels, said: “We are bullish on the potential of India, and have already been overwhelmed with owner interest, but are proceeding with a ‘partnerships over properties’ approach. It means we are being very selective in the hotels that we add to our portfolio, with our focus on cultivating meaningful alliances with partners who align with our values and vision. Minor’s strength has always been in our ability to think globally while acting locally, meaning we are well versed at adapting our standards and operations to suit the unique characteristics of each market we operate in – a
trait we believe will give us a strong advantage in India.”

Minor Hotels has been present in the India market since 2017, when it launched Oaks Bodhgaya in the northeast Indian state of Bihar. But the group will mark a significant milestone later this year with the opening of Anantara Jaipur Hotel, the debut of its flagship luxury brand in India.

The group recently appointed Vijay Krishnan as Vice President of Operations for India, overseeing a growing team on theground. By establishing a permanent strategic presence in Bengaluru, it has positioned itself at the forefront of emerging opportunities in southern India, anticipating significant growth potential in the region.

Dillip Rajakarier, CEO of Minor Hotels and Group CEO of its parent company Minor International (SET:MINT), said: “We believe in India. We believe in its potential as a world- class inbound destination. And we believe in the enormous opportunities that lie in its surging domestic market. It’s why we have made substantial investments in establishing our operations there, and will continue to invest there to realise our growth ambitions. With our extensive experience in managing world-class hotels in emerging destinations, coupled with the strong recognition of our existing hotel brands within the Indian market, we are confident in our ability to play a significant role in India’s ongoing tourism success story.”

Minor Hotels brands have already built strong recognition amongst Indian travellers. For Anantara in particular, India is one of the fastest-growing international source markets, with annual room night production across its Asia and Middle East properties growing 72 percent in 2023 versus 2022. That trend has continued to date in 2024, with Q1 figures up 36 percent on last year.

Minor Hotels is also a member of GHA DISCOVERY, the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands. Revenue generated by GHA hotels in India hit a record US$68 million in 2023, with GHA loyalty members in India also topping 500,000 for the first time, a 21 percent year-on-year increase. Indian members also spent more at GHA hotels last year than ever before, generating a record US$60 million in hotel revenues, up 46 percent year-on-year.

According to research from GHA, its Indian members are planning on average four leisure trips, three staycations and five business trips in 2024, with the top three destinations being Europe, Thailand and Maldives. Minor Hotels is one of the largest players in each of those markets, with more than 300 properties in Europe, 25 in Thailand and seven in Maldives.

ALSO READ-Welcomhotel Brand Expands Reach

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Lite Blogs Travel

Step into Fantasy Worlds with Airbnb Icons

TikTok sensation Khaby Lame invites you to his hometown of Milan, Italy for an epic, overnight gaming experience. You’ll stay in a one-of-a-kind gaming loft that Khaby designed himself, where you’ll #learnfromkhaby and face off with him in a Fortnite Battle Royale…reports Asian Lite News

Airbnb introduces Icons, a new category of extraordinary experiences hosted by the greatest names in music, film, television, art, sports, and more. Presenting the first 11 Icons on Airbnb, the new experience drops worldwide throughout the year.

Icons let guests step into worlds one can only ever dream of. Drift off in the Up house. Spend the night in the Ferrari Museum. Hang out with Kevin Hart.

Brian Chesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Airbnb said, “Icons take you inside worlds that only existed in your imagination—until now. As life becomes increasingly digital, we focus on bringing more magic into the real world. With Icons, we’ve created the most extraordinary experiences on Earth.”

The first 11 Icons:

Drift off in the Up house: Sleep inside one of Disney and Pixar’s most iconic homes—and yes, it floats. You’ll explore Carl’s world in this detailed re-creation of his home, complete with more than 8,000 balloons, and located in the scenic red rocks of Abiquiu, New Mexico.

Spend the night in the Ferrari Museum: Immerse yourself in the world of racing with a stay at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy. You’ll sleep on a bed crafted from the same leather as Ferrari seats, take a lap with Scuderia Ferrari ambassador driver Marc Gené, and head to Emilia-Romagna’s premier race as a VIP.

Step into X-Men ‘97: Live like the X-Men as you stay in a 2D animated re-creation of Marvel Animation’s X-Mansion in Westchester, New York. You’ll discover your mutant abilities and even train in the Danger Room.

Go VIP with Kevin Hart: Kevin Hart is taking you inside his members-only Coramino Live Lounge for an A-list evening. You’ll join Kevin and his friends in this secret speakeasy, where they’ll treat you to a tequila tasting and live stand-up by the best comedians in the game.

Wake up in the Musée d’Orsay: Stay in the Paris art museum’s iconic clock room, which has been transformed into a luxurious bedroom by Mathieu Lehanneur, designer of the Paris 2024 Games torch and cauldron. From the terrace, you’ll witness the historic Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games along the River Seine.

Join a living room session with Doja Cat: Fresh off a tour performing on the world’s biggest stages, Doja is hosting you for a much more intimate experience. You’ll enjoy an unforgettable living room performance from the Grammy-winning artist, including her favourite songs and tracks from her latest album.

Stay in Prince’s Purple Rain house: Prince purchased the Minneapolis, Minnesota home featured in the legendary film Purple Rain, but it’s never been available to the public until now. Explore the home and go crazy for rare and special tracks from Prince’s world in an exclusive studio session.

Game with Khaby Lame: TikTok sensation Khaby Lame invites you to his hometown of Milan, Italy for an epic, overnight gaming experience. You’ll stay in a one-of-a-kind gaming loft that Khaby designed himself, where you’ll #learnfromkhaby and face off with him in a Fortnite Battle Royale.

Go on tour with Feid: Join the reggaeton superstar on his FERXXOCALIPSIS World Tour for an entire week. You’ll join the crew for rehearsals, ride along on the tour bus, and get backstage access for every show.

Live like Bollywood star Janhvi Kapoor: Janhvi Kapoor is inviting you into the legendary, never-before-seen Kapoor family home in Chennai, India. From learning her Bollywood beauty secrets to tasting her favourite southern Indian dishes, Janhvi will welcome you personally on this ultimate overnight stay.

Make core memories with Inside Out 2: In anticipation of the June 14 release of Disney and Pixar’s new movie Inside Out 2, you’re invited to an overnight stay at Headquarters, the control center of Riley’s emotions. Your host, Joy, will welcome you into her vibrant world to witness the emotions in action and help keep things in balance.

Most Icons are free, and all are priced under USD 100 per guest. A countdown displays the time until each Icon goes live, and guests can request to book through the app. The lucky guests who are selected will receive a digital golden ticket, and more than 4,000 tickets will be available in 2024.

Icons and new features for group trips are available starting on May 2. Upgrades for hosts are available today by enrolling in Airbnb Early Access in the app.

ALSO READ-Airbnb Celebrates Women’s Role in Inclusive Community

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Lite Blogs Travel Travel & Tourism

Bespoke Getaways Across the Globe Await

Amanoi’s programme of craft activities include traditional coconut-leaf weaving – the intricate but easy-to-learn process by which the region’s children make their own toys…reports Asian Lite News

As the summer temperatures continue to soar in India, you can start planning a unique vacation filled with new experiences that promise to remain etched in your memory. Whether you’re traveling with family or seeking a romantic escape, here’s a guide to bespoke getaways across the world that bring to you, a variety of immersive journeys, rare experiences and exceptional cuisine.

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Spark discovery this summer at Soneva Fushi and explore exclusive entertainment, rare experiences and vast beachfront and overwater villas. Indulge in a culinary experience inspired by the movie ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ at the overwater theatre, Cinema Paradiso. From sustainable arts and crafts to island-wide treasure hunts, there’s so much to enjoy at The Den. Pick ‘The Secret Day at Soneva Fushi’ experience and let the team curate a magical, personalised secret itinerary inspired by the Slow Life philosophy.

Soneva Jani, Maldives

Make a splash this summer in Soneva Jani’s turquoise lagoon, where luxurious overwater residences and unparalleled marine experiences await. Enjoy intimate dinners with visiting Michelin-starred chefs, reach new fitness goals or unlock the secrets to integrative wellness at Soneva Soul. Personalised secret experience, ‘The Secret Day at Soneva Jani’ and culinary experience inspired by the movie ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ will both be available at Soneva Jani.

Amankora, Bhutan

Amankora offers a number of enriching journeys through Bhutan’s spectacular central and western valleys, Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Gangtey and Bumthang. Five distinct lodges offer a circuit of Himalayan sanctuaries, inviting you to embark on a multi-destination itinerary with the opportunity to experience the Kingdom of Bhutan’s remarkable landscape and rich cultural heritage. Between March-May, the season of renewal sees Bhutan at its most beautiful as the Himalayan landscape comes alive with colour. Hikes around Gangtey are enlivened by forests of resplendent rhododendrous, while the jacaranda trees surrounding Punakha Dzong erupt into mauve clouds of blossom. The pleasant air is perfect for picnics and the rivers around Punakha offer perfect conditions for Whitewater rafting.

Amanoi, Vietnam

Amanoi’s programme of craft activities include traditional coconut-leaf weaving – the intricate but easy-to-learn process by which the region’s children make their own toys. At the Beach Club, the Amanoi activity team celebrate the art of sand sculpture, incorporating shells, stones and driftwood into grand sandcastles and other creations. At night, the library can transform into a screening room, with a selection of family films on offer – accompanied by popcorn and cookies. This year, Amanoi’s residency programme draws an international roster of holistic health experts and wellbeing practitioners who curate limited-edition retreats and experiences, including: Rajeshwari Nerurkar, 1-31 May – Master of her craft since 2004, Rajeshwari focuses on energy healing to treats the cause of physical symptoms.

Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort

Immerse yourself in a transformative journey of wellness as you cleanse and balance the seven chakras under the guidance of a Balinese High Priestess. Experience the restorative powers of ancient healing practices in one of the most inspirational settings imaginable. Located on the southern tip of the Island of the Gods, Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort is an all-suite-and-villa cliffside paradise boasting innovative architecture and untamed natural beauty.

Anantara Layan Phuket Resort

Dara Cuisine Phuket and Sky Observatory at Anantara Layan PhuketResort offer a unique experience this summer combining modern Thai dining with stargazing. Named after the Thai word for ‘Star’, Dara celebrates Thai culinary heritage and seafaring traditions. The Sky Observatory provides an intimate rooftop setting with a custom-built Ash dome, where guests can
enjoy craft cocktails inspired by constellations while Sky Storytellers guide them through the night sky with Phuket most powerful telescope.

ALSO READ-India’s Advantage in Health-focused Travel

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Bhutan Lite Blogs Travel

Summer Vacation Ideas From Maldives to Bhutan

Make a splash this summer in Soneva Jani’s turquoise lagoon, where luxurious overwater residences and unparalleled marine experiences await…reports Asian Lite News

As the summer temperatures continue to soar in India, you can start planning a unique vacation
filled with new experiences that promise to remain etched in your memory. Whether you’re traveling with family or seeking a romantic escape, here’s a guide to bespoke getaways across the world that bring to you, a variety of immersive journeys, rare experiences and exceptional cuisine.

Soneva Fushi, Maldives

Spark discovery this summer at Soneva Fushi and explore exclusive entertainment, rare experiences and vast beachfront and overwater villas. Indulge in a culinary experience inspired by the movie ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ at the overwater theatre, Cinema Paradiso. From sustainable arts and crafts to island-wide treasure hunts, there’s so much to enjoy at The Den. Pick ‘The Secret Day at Soneva Fushi’ experience and let the team curate a magical, personalised secret itinerary inspired by the Slow Life philosophy.

Soneva Jani, Maldives

Make a splash this summer in Soneva Jani’s turquoise lagoon, where luxurious overwater residences and unparalleled marine experiences await. Enjoy intimate dinners with visiting Michelin-starred chefs, reach new fitness goals or unlock the secrets to integrative wellness at Soneva Soul. Personalised secret experience, ‘The Secret Day at Soneva Jani’ and culinary experience inspired by the movie ‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ will both be available at Soneva Jani.

Amankora, Bhutan

Amanoi’s programme of craft activities include traditional coconut-leaf weaving – the intricate but easy-to-learn process by which the region’s children make their own toys. At the Beach Club, the Amanoi activity team celebrate the art of sand sculpture, incorporating shells, stones and driftwood into grand sandcastles and other creations. At night, the library can transform
into a screening room, with a selection of family films on offer – accompanied by popcorn and cookies. This year, Amanoi’s residency programme draws an international roster of holistic health experts and wellbeing practitioners who curate limited-edition retreats and experiences, including:
Rajeshwari Nerurkar, 1-31 May – Master of her craft since 2004, Rajeshwari focuses on
energy healing to treats the cause of physical symptoms.

Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort

Immerse yourself in a transformative journey of wellness as you cleanse and balance the seven chakras under the guidance of a Balinese High Priestess. Experience the restorative powers of ancient healing practices in one of the most inspirational settings
imaginable. Located on the southern tip of the Island of the Gods, Anantara Uluwatu Bali Resort is an all-suite-and-villa cliffside paradise boasting innovative architecture and untamed natural beauty.

Anantara Layan Phuket Resort

Dara Cuisine Phuket and Sky Observatory at Anantara Layan PhuketResort offer a unique experience this summer combining modern Thai dining with stargazing. Named after the Thai word for ‘Star’, Dara celebrates Thai culinary heritage and seafaring traditions. The Sky Observatory provides an intimate rooftop setting with a custom-built Ash dome, where guests can
enjoy craft cocktails inspired by constellations while Sky Storytellers guide them through the night sky with Phuket most powerful telescope.

ALSO READ-Bhutan’s Mindfulness City to Harmonize Nature

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Travel

India’s Advantage in Health-focused Travel

The domestic travel market in India has been a key driver of growth for the hospitality sector. With international travel still facing restrictions, domestic tourism is expected to surge in 2024. ..writes Ashish Tiwari

The Indian hospitality sector has long been recognized as a promising investment avenue, driven by the country’s vibrant culture, diverse landscapes, and growing economy. Despite facing challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sector is poised for a significant rebound in 2024, offering lucrative opportunities for investors.

Resilience and Recovery

The Indian hospitality sector has shown remarkable resilience in the face of adversity. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the sector has demonstrated its ability to adapt and innovate. With the gradual reopening of the economy and the easing of travel restrictions, the industry is expected to witness a strong recovery in 2024. This presents an ideal opportunity for investors looking to capitalize on the sector’s growth potential.

Growing Domestic Travel

The domestic travel market in India has been a key driver of growth for the hospitality sector. With international travel still facing restrictions, domestic tourism is expected to surge in 2024. This presents a significant opportunity for hoteliers and investors to cater to the needs of domestic travellers. Investments in resorts, boutique hotels, and homestays in popular tourist destinations are likely to yield high returns in the coming year. 

Rise of Budget and Mid-Segment Hotels

The budget and mid-segment hotel segments have been gaining popularity in India, driven by the increasing demand from budget-conscious travellers. Investments in this segment are expected to be particularly lucrative in 2024, as travelers prioritize affordability and value for money. Hotel chains focusing on this segment are likely to see strong demand, making it an attractive investment opportunity.

Focus on Health and Wellness Tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a heightened focus on health and wellness, with travellers seeking destinations that offer wellness experiences. India, with its rich heritage of traditional medicine and wellness practices, is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend. Investments in wellness resorts, spas, and retreats are expected to be highly profitable in 2024, as travelers prioritize health and well-being in their travel choices.

Technology and Digitization

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology in the hospitality sector. Hotels and resorts are increasingly leveraging technology to enhance the guest experience, streamline operations, and improve efficiency. Investments in technology-driven solutions such as contactless check-in, mobile payments, and AI-driven customer service are expected to be key drivers of growth in 2024.

Sustainable Tourism Practices

Sustainability has emerged as a key trend in the hospitality sector, with travellers increasingly seeking eco-friendly and sustainable travel options. Investments in sustainable tourism practices, such as green hotels, eco-friendly resorts, and responsible tourism initiatives, are expected to be highly profitable in 2024, as travellers prioritize environmental conservation and responsible travel.

Luxury Segment:

The luxury segment continues to attract significant attention from investors. With India emerging as a favoured destination for high-net-worth individuals and luxury travellers, upscale hotels and resorts are witnessing a surge in demand. Investing in luxury properties can offer handsome returns, particularly in prime locations such as popular tourist destinations and metropolitan cities.

Rural Tourism and Homestays:

Beyond urban centers, rural tourism and homestays are emerging as promising investment avenues. Immersive experiences that offer insights into local culture, traditions, and lifestyles are gaining traction among travellers seeking authentic experiences. Investing in rural tourism initiatives and supporting local communities can yield both financial returns and social impact.

Government Initiatives:

The Indian government’s initiatives to boost tourism, such as the “Incredible India” campaign and the development of tourism infrastructure, provide a conducive environment for investment. Investors can leverage government schemes, incentives, and policies to maximize returns and mitigate risks in the hospitality sector.

The Indian hospitality sector is poised for a strong rebound in 2024, offering lucrative investment opportunities for investors. With the growing domestic travel market, the rise of budget and mid-segment hotels, the focus on health and wellness tourism, the adoption of technology, and the emphasis on sustainable tourism practices, the sector presents a compelling investment proposition.

ALSO READ-Sustainable Escapes

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Sustainable Escapes

The tropical paradise of Seychelles is known for its crystal-clear waters thriving with marine life and unique flora and fauna. To preserve the sanctity of its ecosystem, the country has taken monumental steps such as preserving its flagship tree Coco de Mer, which is known to yield the biggest fruit in the world…reports Asian  Lite News

As our planet grapples with the challenges of global warming and climate change, sustainable living and eco-friendly practices have become increasingly crucial. Here are 6 destinations that seamlessly blend sustainability with tourism and hospitality.

Thailand

The Land of Smiles and Hospitality is home to countless alluring experiences and attractions that make it an ideal destination for vacations, weddings, honeymoons, and bleisure trips. To blend tourism and sustainability, the country has implemented numerous initiatives including ocean conservation, wildlife rehabilitation and ecological restoration efforts. In the hospitality space, Krabi’s ultra-luxury beachside resort – Phulay Bay, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve stands as an epitome of sustainability. The property utilises reusable bamboo straws and glass bottles instead of plastic tableware. Its in-room amenities are packaged with sustainable materials, such as beeswax. Striving for authenticity, it sources its drinking water from a natural spring in the Naga Mountains and incorporates local produce and ingredients from the Chef’s Garden in its culinary creations. The festive decorations in the resort are also exclusively made of natural and reusable materials, such as coconut shells, driftwood, leaves, and recycled glass bottles. Moreover, Phulay Bay encourages its patrons to contribute towards elephant conservation under the Help the Herd program at the Krabi Elephant House Sanctuary. 

Seychelles

The tropical paradise of Seychelles is known for its crystal-clear waters thriving with marine life and unique flora and fauna. To preserve the sanctity of its ecosystem, the country has taken monumental steps such as preserving its flagship tree Coco de Mer, which is known to yield the biggest fruit in the world. They have also made significant efforts to save Dudongs, a rare and vulnerable marine life found at Aldabra Atoll, from extinction. The archipelago has also implemented the BIOPAMA-funded project to set up biosecurity measures preventing invasive alien species from overriding the endemic flora and fauna on Aldabra. Pre-pandemic, the archipelago collaborated with the University of Oxford for the Aldabra Clean-Up Project to remove human-made waste, like plastic litter from the sea that harmed aquatic creatures and the ecosystem. Through these nuanced efforts, Seychelles strives to be an eco-conscious destination that prioritises sustainability and promotes positive tourism experiences.

Oman

  Defined by age-old culture and innovation, Oman strives to achieve a net-zero future and preserve its ecosystem by encouraging sustainable practices. In Oman’s Capital, Muscat, the grand five-star resort, Shangri-La Al Barr Jissah, has taken steps to realise this vision. As one of five turtle nesting sites in the country, its beaches welcome hundreds of turtles every year, serving as a safe sanctuary for these creatures to proliferate. Guests are invited to witness hatchings and watch daily Turtle Talks at the hotel’s Eco Centre to initiate the young generation into learning about biodiversity. Protecting the natural habits of critically endangered sea creatures is a priority for the team at the resort and so their Turtle Care Project aims to protect the rare hawksbill and green turtle species through supervision and protection. The resort is actively working towards eliminating the use of single-use plastic and has adopted ways like using refilled bottles, drinking water fountains across the property, and replacing plastic straws with metallic ones. 

Vietnam 

In recent years, Vietnam has taken many steps to balance the surge in tourism with the need to conserve its natural and cultural resources, including eco-friendly accommodations, energy-efficient transportation, and effective waste management systems. The Anam Mui Ne, a luxury resort located on the pristine Ham Tien beach in Phan Thiet perfectly embodies Vietnam’s hospitality and sustainability efforts. An easy commute from Ho Chi Minh City, the five-star resort with 1.2 hectares of spectacular oceanfront has banned single-use plastics and taken several measures to reduce its carbon footprint.  It uses solar power and utilises locally sourced and in-house ingredients to render scrumptious cuisines. The Anam Mui Ne also repurposes laundry water to nurture its gardens and offers biodegradable straws, bags, and bathroom amenities. Even the resort’s key cards are made of wood sourced from sustainably managed forests.

Kenya 

Home to stunning landscapes and untamed wildlife, Kenya is one of the best destinations for nature lovers and adventurers. It is home to scores of wildlife sanctuaries like the Amboseli National Park which is known for accommodating thousands of African animals, birds and reptile species, in addition to the Maasai tribe. The best way to immerse into Amboseli is to book a stay at Ol Tukai Lodge, an elegant eco-rated lodge that offers stunning views of glacier-capped Mount Kilimanjaro and the wetlands of the park outside. Being at the heart of nature, the lodge demonstrates its dedication to promoting vegetation and animals by undertaking activities like reforestation. Planting trees in areas that have been deforested contributes to combating climate change to fostering biodiversity. As a result of this Ol Tukai Lodge started a tree planting project with various stakeholders. To celebrate National Tree Planting Day last year, Ol Tukai Lodge collaborated with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to plant over 1,300 trees around the park. This was in line with Kenyan President Ruto’s ambitious goal of planting 15 billion trees by 2030. 

Sri Lanka 

Basking in the diversity of Sri Lanka’s natural attractions, Teardrop Hotels promotes sustainability and community wholeheartedly. Based across seven distinct locations across the country, each property embodies a unique part of Sri Lanka from the serenity of the southwest coast to the frondescence of the south-central region. These hotels are built into heritage buildings and vintage tea bungalows carefully chosen for their character and diligently restored to preserve their original features. Teardrop Hotels also believes in giving back to the local community while also aiming for zero food miles. For this reason, they use vegetables and ingredients cultivated in-house and buy seafood from local fishermen to incorporate in their delicious cuisines. All packaging in the hotel is plastic-free, and refillable water bottles are used to minimise waste.

ALSO READ-87% of Indian Travelers Prioritize Sustainable Travel