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Dr G N Itoo holds ‘Chalo Kashmir’ Webinar with Maharashtra Tour Operators

Says besides favoured destination Gulmarg, other destination like Pahalgam have huge winter tourism potential

(Asian News Hub) – Following the interactions with the Tour and Travel fraternity of Gujarat, Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir and the Maharashtra Tour Organizers Association (MTOA) on Friday organized a Webinar on the theme ‘Chalo Kashmir’.

The Webinar panel comprised of Director Tourism, Kashmir, Dr G N Itoo, Deputy Director, Tourism Publicity Ideel Saleem, besides Asif Burza, President Hoteliers Association Pahalgam, President MTOA, Prabhu Joshi,  Vice President MTOA, Vishvajeet Patil, Treasurer MTOA, Rajan Parekh, Ex President MTOA, Sudhir Patil, Ex Vice President, MTOA, Abhijeet Patil and others.

During the interaction, Dr Itoo presented the calendar of promotional activities slated for the upcoming Spring and Summer season both within and outside J&K including holding of Pahalgam Festival next week, Almond Bloom festival in Spring at Badamwari Srinagar, Tulip Festival in April and Houseboat Festival in the summer. He said the Directorate of Tourism, Kashmir is working together with stakeholders to ensure that Tourists arriving to Kashmir Valley have a comfortable stay. He said other than Gulmarg which continues to remain among the most preferred winter tourism destination, the Department is also focusing on promoting other destinations including Pahalgam for winter tourism.

He said this year destinations like Sonmarg, Doodhpathri, Yusmarg, Kokernag will be opened early, so that tourists coming in the winter season can enjoy the scenic beauty of these places too.

Dr Itoo also apprised about the measures put in place including those related to COVID to ensure that all tourists visiting J&K have a comfortable and a memorable stay. In response to some queries raised during the Webinar, Dr Itoo assured MTOA of prompt resolution.

Asif Burza, President Pahalgam Hoteliers Association in his address appreciated the efforts of the Tourism Department in the revival of tourism amidst the COVID Pandemic challenge. “Government was successful in containing COVID here and this proved to be the biggest confidence building measure for the tourists to visit Kashmir. The sustained and vigorous tourism promotional campaign started by the Tourism Department after opening of the tourism sector in July last year has been instrumental in tourists coming to Kashmir during the winter season”, he said.

The MTOA President, Prabhu Joshi and other members spoke about their long association with J&K Tourism and reiterated their unconditional support and said that J&K will always remain among the most preferred destination for the Tour and Travel fraternity of Maharashtra.

J&K receives among the largest chunk of tourists from States like West Bengal, Gujarat and Maharashtra.

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95% tourists cancelled bookings for summer season amid 2nd wave of COVID-19

(Asian News Hub) – Following the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in India, tourism bookings in the valley have plummeted, with around 95 percent of tourists cancelling their trips.

Officials in the tourism department estimate that the number of tourists has considerably gone down with only 32,594 tourists visiting the valley in the month of April.

According to the official figures the first 15 days of April has recorded around 25,956 tourists in the valley, while as in the last 15 days of the month the numbers dipped to around 6,638.

​Manzoor Pakthoon dealing with the tourism trade told KNO that they had full bookings and were sold out till May end, but the recent spike has come like a shocker for them.

“After the promotional program in different parts of the country, the first twenty days after it’s opening Tulip Garden, witnessed a record footfall of around two lakh visitors, but spurt in Covid-19 positive cases in different parts of the country lead to the mass cancellations, and we don’t know how to react to this situation,” he said.

A Prominent hotelier of the valley and chairman Hoteliers Association Mushtaq Chahya told KNO that the situation across the country is not good, as the Covid cases are coming in lakhs.

“Right now priority should be to save life. Economy can get a hit, but can be worked on, if people live,” Chahya said.

In April a high level delegation of top officials from the Ministry of Tourism, which also included the delegates from Kenya, Vietnam and Georgia, visited the valley under the theme of “TAPPING THE POTENTIAL OF KASHMIR, ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE”.

However, in a recent order, the Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha ordered the closure of all paid parks.

“Due to the prevailing COVID situation in J&K, State Executive Committee, in exercise of the powers conferred upon it under section 24 of Disaster Management Act, 2005, hereby orders that all paid public parks in the UT of J&K shall remain closed for visitors till further orders”.

KNO

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WhatsApp May 15 Deadline for Accepting New Privacy Policy Terms Scrapped

(Asian News Hub) – WhatsApp spokesperson said that no accounts will be deleted on May 15 for not accepting the policy update.

WhatsApp has scrapped its May 15 deadline for users to accept its controversial privacy policy update and said not accepting the terms will not lead to deletion of accounts. WhatsApp had faced severe backlash over user concerns that data was being shared with parent company Facebook.

A WhatsApp spokesperson told PTI that no accounts will be deleted on May 15 for not accepting the policy update.

“No accounts will be deleted on May 15 because of this update and no one in India will lose functionality of WhatsApp either. We will follow up with reminders to people over the next several weeks,” the spokesperson said in an emailed response to a query.

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Parliament approves bill to increase FDI in insurance sector to 74%

(Asian News Hub) – A bill to increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in the insurance sector from 49 per cent to 74 per cent was approved by Parliament with the Lok Sabha giving green signal to the legislation by a voice vote on Monday.

Piloting the Bill, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that hiking the FDI limit in the insurance sector will help insurers to raise additional funds and tide over financial problems.

The Insurance (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was earlier passed by the Rajya Sabha last week.

The minister said that the government will provide funds to the public sector insurance companies but the private players will have to raise capital on their own.

Observing that insurance companies are facing solvency related issues, she said, “if growth capital is hard to come by, there will be a stress situation. In order that the stress situation is not left unattended, we need to raise the FDI limit.”

The Covid-19 pandemic, Sitharaman said, has further added to the woes of the insurance companies.

The minister further said that the FDI limit was being raised on the recommendations of the regulator IRDAI which had extensive consultations with stakeholders.

The FDI inflow in the insurance sector, the minister said, had increased significantly after the government decided to raise the cap from 26 per cent to 49 per cent in 2015.

As much as Rs 26,000 crore has come as FDI in the insurance sector since 2015, she said, adding the asset under management (AUM) in this sector has grown by 76 per cent during the last five years.

PTI

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