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Bumper Tourism! This March breaks 10-year-old tourist arrival record in Kashmir



Credit goes to sustained promotion campaign; team work of tourism dept, all stakeholders related to sector, says Director Tourism; Hotels, house boats booked for next two months; Expecting bumper tourism in this spring, rest of year: Sec Tourism Sarmad Hafeez

Srinagar, March 28 (ANH): After suffering immensely for the past two years due to the deadly pandemic, Kashmir’s tourism sector has got a big push as the ensuing month of March has recorded the highest ever tourist arrivals, breaking all records of the past ten years.

The Tourism department and the stakeholders associated with the sector have more to cheer as the majority of hotels and houseboats across Kashmir have advance bookings till May.

Also Read: Transporters body calls for ‘Chaka Jam’ in Kashmir on March 30

Talking to news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) Director Tourism Kashmir, G N Itoo said that the ensuing month has registered a record number of tourist arrivals in Kashmir. “The figure is indeed the highest ever in the past ten years,” he said, not preferring to reveal the exact figure of tourists that visited Kashmir in March so far for obvious reasons.

He, however, claimed that the number of tourists that visited Kashmir in March is indeed the first time if compared to the past ten years.

Itoo said credit for the bumper tourism in March goes to the sustained tourism promotion campaign by the department and the serious efforts put in by all stakeholders including travel agents, tour operators, house boat owners, and even pony wallas.

“We hope to see record arrivals of tourists in the next two months given the advance bookings hotels and houseboat owners have received,” he beamed.

Speaking to KNO, Secretary Tourism and Culture J&K, Sarmad Hafeez said that the Tourism department held a series of road shows and promotion campaigns in Bhubneshwar, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangaluru and other places to ensure tourists arrive in Kashmir. “A series of steps were taken to woo tourists to Kashmir as tourism suffered a lot due to the past two years of pandemic,” he said.

Hafeez said that the Tourism department worked on many fronts including promoting Tulip garden and Mughal gardens as tourist destinations besides presenting Almond bloom to tourists as well. “For the first time, Pahalgam was jam packed even in bone chilling winters. This indeed is an achievement. We are also showcasing Kashmir’s traditional food cuisine and various varieties of Kashmiri bread in gardens including Tulip garden,” he said, adding that tourists should enjoy different varieties of food and bread during their visit to Kashmir.

He also confirmed that the majority of hotels and houseboats of Kashmir have received advance booking which signifies that Valley is all set to host a large number of tourists this spring and for the rest of the year.


Bitcoin back above $20,000 mark



Srinagar, Sept 09: Bitcoin surged past the USD 20,000 barrier and was eyeing its best day in six weeks on Friday as the US dollar fell broadly and markets found reasons to be cheerful at the end of a dour week, Reuters reported.

Also Read: Prophet row: SC rejects plea seeking arrest of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma

Bitcoin, the biggest cryptocurrency by market value, rose more than 7 per cent to USD 20,796, a two-week high. Ether, the second-biggest, rose 5 per cent to also hit a two-week peak at USD 1,717. Bitcoin had been as low as USD 18,540 on Wednesday.

Market participants said there was no particular trigger for the gains beyond a broad upbeat mood in evidence across asset classes on Friday, led by a drop in the safe-haven dollar and a rally in Chinese stocks.

If the cryptocurrencies can hold their gains until Sunday’s close, Bitcoin could log a second weekly rise in a row, and its best week in about a month. read more

Ether’s weekend volatility may be heightened by a looming software upgrade known as the “merge”, due sometime between Sept. 10 and 20, with the exact timing uncertain.

The shift will radically change how transactions are processed and is supposed to slash energy consumption. Some exchanges plan to pause deposits and withdrawals while the upgrade occurs.

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Veteran stock investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala passes away



Mumbai, Aug 14: Seasoned stock market investor Rakesh Jhunjhunwala passed away at the age of 62 in Mumbai, according to several media reports.

Also Read: Salman Rushdie taken off ventilator

Jhunjhunwala, over the years, has invested in many well-known and established companies, and also upcoming startups. His investment in the Tata owned, Titan Industries was seen as a master stroke.

He recently promotd, Akasa Air, which was backed by Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, was inaugurated on August 7.

According to New 18 reports, Jhunjhunwala was brought to the Candy Breach Hospital at 6:45 AM in the morning and was declared dead.

Also Read: Cop injured in Kulgam grenade attack, succumbs

As of August, 2022, his net worth was $5.8 billion. He invested via his firm Rare Enterprises. He is often referred to as India’s Warren Buffett.

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Delta Corp Resurfaces with Easing of Covid Grip



Physical Casino and Hospitality Divisions Rise Up Again

Srinagar, Jul 29: India’s only publicly listed casino operator Delta Corp has reported a 233 percent YoY (year-on-year) growth in gross revenues to Rs 314.46 crore for the first quarter of the 2022-23 Fiscal Year and a 16.5 percent increase over its Q4 FY 2021-22 results. The growth has been driven mainly by the company’s casino gaming division, backed up by a significant increase in hospitality revenues and continuous improvement of the online skill gaming division.

After staying closed for the greater part of 2021, Delta Corp’s main business – casino gaming, registered gross revenues of Rs 250.72 crore, marking a 505.17 percent YoY growth from the Rs 41.43 crore gross revenues of last year’s quarter ending on June 30, and a 19.02 percent growth over the Rs 210.66 crore gross income in the quarter ending on March 31, 2022.

Delta’s hospitality business rose 103 percent YoY and 18.5 percent from the previous quarter to Rs 19.91 crore. The company’s profits grew by 10.29 percent to Rs 77.38 crore from the Rs 70.16 crore reported after March, reversing the Rs 35.22 crore loss of Q1 FY 2021-22.

The Fiscal Year that ended on March 31, 2022 brought a total of Rs 765.2 crore in gross revenues for Delta Corp marking a 48.4 percent YoY growth.

Online Casino Gaming Keeps Growing

While the country’s land- and river-based casinos went through major ups and downs caused by the pandemic-related restrictions, online casinos together with SevenJackpots India and other casino comparison platforms experienced a constant surge of interest and steady growth. The upward trend was fueled not only by Covid-19 stay-at-home rules, but also by rising smartphone penetration and internet coverage, cheap mobile data plans and convenient digital payment options.

Delta Corp’s online gaming division was no exception, registering a 3.06 percent growth to Rs 43.83 crore over previous quarter’s gross revenues of Rs 42.53 crore on the back of a 19.1 percent growth registered between Q3 and Q4 FY 2021-22.

The division features online poker site, online rummy platform and the new addition offering online fantasy sports.

Upcoming Legal and Tax Policy Changes will Shape the Future of the Sector

While growth and expansion are the words that best describe what is happening to India’s offline and online casino sector, its future will be shaped by the changes in the legal and tax policy environment related to gaming which are currently brewing in the country.

In May this year, the Central Government set up an inter-ministerial committee with the task to study global best practices on online gaming regulation, consult experts, and elaborate recommendations for a broad framework of laws to regulate online gaming in India on a national level.

The panel was mandated to examine a number of issues such as compliance burden and ease of doing business, creation of a level playing field, as well as gamer protection matters concerning the risks associated with gaming including addictions and problem gambling.

Another panel, an eight-member Group of Ministers (GoM) presided by the Chief Minister of Meghalaya Conrad K. Sangma, was established in May 2021 with the mandate to examine GST applicability and valuation issues concerning levy of services provided by online gaming, casino, lottery and horse racing operators.

In May this year, the GoM submitted its report with recommendations for GST policy updates including a uniform levy for all gaming varieties at a rate of 28 percent over the full ticket value of all transactions. Concerning casino gaming, the suggestion was to charge GST on the full value of chips purchased by a player, but subsequent bets, including those made from winnings, not to be charged.

Based on input from Goa Industries Minister Mauvin Godinho, the GST Council at its 47th meeting held in June did not adopt the GoM recommendations and directed the panel to reexamine its report. The GoM has scheduled its final report to be delivered in August, after failing to reach consensus in July.

It remains to be seen how the work of both panels will be finalized and adopted by legislators and what the effects will be on the functioning and scope of India’s offline and online casino gaming industry.

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