Snowfall in Kashmir valley brings in hordes of visitors seeking break from pandemic gloom – travel

Tourists are making a beeline to Kashmir. The well-known twin resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam are witnessing a heavy inflow of New Year revellers and most accommodations are booked for weeks forward, with the battered trade rejoicing over the return of the “good old days”.

With common operations of worldwide flights suspended as a result of coronavirus pandemic, travellers from throughout the nation have set their sights on the Kashmir valley which appears to be higher positioned relating to coping with the unfold of the virus.

The union territory has been witnessing a median of new 250-300 instances per day – a lot lesser than different states in the nation.

The latest heavy snowfall in the upper reaches of Jammu and Kashmir can also be an attracting issue because the well-known ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir is internet hosting round 700-800 visitors, together with locals, day by day.

Amidst the snow-capped mountains, white-carpet meadows and eye-catching icicles, the resort provides a variety of winter actions like snowboarding that are an added benefit to the enjoyment of experiencing snow.

The vacationer resort at an altitude of 8,000 ft, 50 km north of the summer season capital Srinagar, has just about been offered out with most of the accommodations registering cent per cent bookings for in regards to the first two weeks of January – some even for the entire month.

Often described because the ‘heartland of winter sports in India’, Gulmarg will play host to a quantity of actions in the times forward a lot to the delight of vacation makers – a quantity of whom are already tenting in one of greatest ski-locations of the world — braving sub-zero temperatures.

The Tourism Department goes an additional mile to make the start of the New Year a memorable one for the visitors and has lined up a quantity of actions.

“We have a number of programmes planned for New Year eve. We will have a musical evening which will be followed by a firecracker show to welcome the New Year. There will also be night skiing – torch skiing,” Assistant Director Tourism, Gulmarg, Javed-ur-Rehman informed PTI.

He stated seven sporting occasions may also be held on the following day.

The official stated the ski-resort was filled with vacationers and the accommodations had been offered out for the primary two weeks of January.

While 8,41,202 home and international vacationers visited the Kashmir valley in 2018, the numbers went all the way down to 4,99,584 in 2019.

The Tourism Department didn’t reveal this 12 months’s figures, saying they had been being compiled.

However, sources stated whereas no vacationer visited the valley in April, May and June 2020 as a result of of the lockdown, the arrivals began in the month of July and step by step picked up in September.

The arrivals picked up tempo in November and December with over a thousand vacationers arriving day by day for the previous couple of days.

The inflow of vacationers has introduced cheer to the 1000’s of Kashmiris related to the tourism sector. The sector has reeled beneath twin lockdowns for over a 12 months now – first in the aftermath of the revocation of Article 370 after which as a result of pandemic.

“The arrival of tourists is a good sign and bodes well for Kashmir. We are hopeful of having a good season if all goes well,” Asif Burza, a hotelier who has properties in Srinagar, Pahalgam and Gulmarg with some having a tie-up with ITC Hotels, informed PTI right here.

His accommodations in the dual resorts are absolutely packed for the New Year’s eve.

Burza stated Kashmir is a most well-liked vacation spot for vacationers and because the union territory has been in a position to comprise the virus unfold relatively efficiently than different states, the vacationers are taking a look at no different place.

“It is after a long, long time that we have business like this on the New Year’s eve. We have film-makers coming here in good numbers for shooting movies or web-series. It looks like the good-old-days of tourism are back,” he stated.

The hotelier stated tourism has a drive-multiplier impact and good arrivals impact the general scenario and financial system in the Kashmir valley.

“Tourists not only help the tourism sector, but other sectors as well. The business here gets fillip, it helps local produce and arts and crafts to grow. Tourism also promotes people to people contact,” Burza stated.

(This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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Indonesia bans foreign visitors for two weeks over new coronavirus variant – travel

International visitors might be barred from coming into Indonesia for a two-week interval to attempt to maintain out a new doubtlessly extra contagious variant of the coronavirus, its foreign minister Retno Marsudi mentioned on Monday.

The new regulation, efficient January 1, comes days after Indonesia banned travellers from the Britain and tightened guidelines for these arriving from Europe and Australia to restrict the unfold of the new variant.

Indonesia earlier this 12 months banned all foreign vacationers from entry however some exemptions have been made for enterprise vacationers. The new regulation applies to all foreign visitors, besides for excessive-stage authorities officers or foreigners with residency permits, she mentioned.

The world’s fourth most populous nation has struggled to comprise the unfold of the novel coronavirus since recording its first case in March, now with practically 720,000 confirmed infections and 21,500 deaths, among the many highest in Asia.

It introduced 5,854 new infections and 215 deaths on Monday, with the positivity charge above 20% in current days.

In current weeks Indonesia’s healthcare system has come underneath pressure with hospitals on Java island pressured so as to add extra beds as emergency wards close to capability.

Senior well being ministry official Abdul Kadir on Monday mentioned hospitals had been in peril of turning into overwhelmed by a doable 12 months-finish vacation infections spike, with occupancy within the capital Jakarta already reaching 84%.

In West Java, Indonesia’s most populated province, hospital occupancy is presently at 83%, and in East Java, 77%, he mentioned.

“This means that these regions are in the red zone. The bed capacity is now in red zone. Any uptick will overwhelm hospitals,” he mentioned, including that 500 beds can be added within the better Jakarta space.

(This story has been printed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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Japan to allow ‘large-scale’ overseas visitors for Tokyo Games: Nikkei – travel

Japan goals to allow “large-scale” numbers of overseas visitors to attend subsequent yr’s Tokyo Olympics with out obligatory vaccinations or quarantine supplied they submit unfavourable Covid-19 check outcomes and obtain monitoring apps, the Nikkei enterprise every day reported on Wednesday.

The report, which didn’t establish the supply of the data or element what number of visitors can be allowed, additionally stated Japan wouldn’t limit vacationers from utilizing public transportation methods.

Under present restrictions imposed to curb the unfold of the novel coronavirus, travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in addition to enroll for contact-tracing apps.

Tokyo organisers weren’t instantly accessible for remark when contacted by Reuters.

Organisers of the Games, which have been pushed again by a yr in March due to the pandemic, had offered almost 1 million tickets overseas, the paper stated, in contrast with 4.5 million in Japan.

Last month, senior International Olympic Committee official John Coates stated the variety of athletes collaborating within the Games wouldn’t be decreased and it was down to organisers to make them really feel protected.

Over 11,000 athletes are anticipated in Tokyo for the Olympics and hundreds extra will come for the following Paralympics.

The plan to allow giant numbers of visitors from overseas would underscore Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s pledge to revitalise Japan’s battered financial system by boosting tourism – a pillar of the nation’s financial measures additionally supported by his predecessor.

Suga has been selling home travel campaigns regardless of a surge in novel coronavirus infections that’s shortly filling hospital beds.

The surge has dented Suga’s approval ranking, with many saying his reluctance to put the brakes on home travel has contributed to the rising variety of infections.

Japan has prevented the excessive numbers of infections and deaths from the virus seen in Europe and the United States however with the chilly season approaching the nation has posted document numbers of every day circumstances in current weeks.

The Nikkei report provoked a robust response on-line, with some saying the federal government was placing folks’s lives in danger.

“I wonder why the government wants to hold the Games in this situation. They must be crazy,” one social media person with the deal with @nuna-13 tweeted. “Are they going to kill Japanese citizens?”

(This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.)

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Pandemic, ban on visitors, and rain ensure Kolkata’s Durga Puja remains muted one - kolkata

Pandemic, ban on visitors, and rain ensure Kolkata’s Durga Puja remains muted one – kolkata

The menace of the pandemic, Calcutta excessive court docket’s ban on the entry of holiday makers inside pandals and now the rain have stored Durga Puja in Kolkata a muted one this 12 months. Hordes of pandal hoppers, that transfer by means of the streets of Kolkata on each puja evening, had been lacking on the primary day of Durga Puja, police and puja organisers stated.

“Thursday was the first day of Durga Puja but the massive crowd, which we usually get to see on Durga Sasthi night – the first day of the week-long festival – was conspicuously missing last night,” stated an official on the visitors management room of the Kolkata Police.

Puja organisers stated whereas the variety of guests is low this 12 months due to the specter of the pandemic, the group appeared to have dropped even additional after the excessive court docket’s order banning the entry of holiday makers inside pandals and mandating authorities to place up barricades outdoors pandals declaring them as no-entry zones.

“This is an exceptional year as the Covid-19 pandemic is going on. The number of visitors is very low compared to other years. The crowd of Durga Sasthi was hardly 20% of what we get every year on the first day of the puja,” stated Saswata Basu secretary of the Forum for Durgotsab, which represents greater than 350 metropolis pujas.

Every 12 months, the police and puja committees have had a tricky time managing the group, notably in a number of the outstanding and award-successful pujas. In reality, in 2015, the Kolkata Police needed to shut down a puja in south Kolkata after there was a stampede-like state of affairs.

“The local suburban trains, which bring is lakhs of visitors from the adjoining districts, are not running. The high court order also seemed to have taken a toll. Usually on Durga Sasthi night, we have a tough time managing the crowd as people come in thousands. This time, there were just a few hundred,” stated a member of a puja committee in north Kolkata.

Meanwhile, from Friday morning, it began to drizzle in Kolkata and its outskirts. The IMD had warned on Thursday {that a} melancholy had fashioned over the Bay which was prone to cross the West Bengal coast on Friday afternoon.

“Heavy to very heavy rainfall is expected in the three coastal districts of North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore on Friday. Isolated heavy rainfall in expected in the adjacent districts including Kolkata and Howrah,” stated Sanjib Banerjee, deputy director of the IMD’s regional climate forecasting centre in Kolkata.

Strong winds on the velocity of as much as 50 km per hour might hit Kolkata. There might be water logging areas within the low mendacity areas of Kolkata. Fishing, sea-sure actions and ferry companies have been suspended within the coastal areas and individuals residing on the islands of the Sunderbans have been suggested to remain indoors.

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Kolkata Durga Puja pandals put up barricades to ban entry of visitors – kolkata

Kolkata Durga Puja pandals put up barricades to ban entry of visitors – kolkata

Several Durga Puja committees in Kolkata on Tuesday have began placing up barricades to ban the entry of revellers to pandals a day after the Calcutta excessive courtroom’s (HC) order, whereas just a few others mentioned that that they had carried out it even earlier than the authorized directive was issued.

On Monday, the HC whereas listening to a public curiosity litigation (PIL) had banned the entry of revellers inside pandals and declared them as “no entry zones”.

The transfer goals to stop overcrowding and curb the unfold of the raging coronavirus illness (Covid-19) pandemic.

The HC order has come as a setback for a lot of neighborhood puja organisers and revellers, who have been all set for pandal hopping whereas braving the contagion.

“We have banned reveler’s entry to our pandal. Only local residents will be allowed in a bid to restrict overcrowding. We will follow the HC order and only a few club members will be allowed,” mentioned Sahal Ghosh, secretary, Santosh Mitra Square, one of the outstanding neighborhood pujas in central Kolkata and a significant crowd-puller.

Debdaru Fatak puja, one other attraction within the western components of the town, has additionally put up barricades to ban the entry of revelers. The organizers have put up an enormous display at a distance from the place pandal hoppers can check out the idol, the pandal and the decorations.

“Local residents organise this puja. They will only be allowed to enter the pandal this year because of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic,” mentioned Gautam Halder, one of the puja organisers.

The HC on Monday directed the authorities to put up barricades exterior pandals.

Barricades should be put in 10 metres away from the outer finish of the pandal for giant neighborhood pujas. The corresponding rule is 5 metres for smaller pujas.

Kolkata Police personnel and a few puja committee members have been seen measuring the gap of barricades late at evening on Monday.

“We have coordinated with the Anandapur police station authorities and have put up barricades to bar the entry of visitors. On Tuesday, we will put out a list of 15 organisers, who will be allowed to enter the pandal during puja days,” mentioned Pradip Biswas, one of the members of a small area people puja in jap Kolkata alongside the Eastern Metropolitan (EM) Bypass.

The HC has directed 25 and 15 neighborhood puja members be allowed entry to bigger and smaller pandals, respectively.

The names of the entrants can have to be determined upfront and can’t be modified each day. The puja organisers have been directed to show the listing of entrants.

“We have put up barricades at a distance from the pandal. Also, rings have been drawn on the ground in a bid to maintain adequate social distancing norms,” mentioned Banibrata Banerjee, a member of FD Block puja committee in Salt Lake.

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