Qatar has removed its mandatory quarantine rule which mandated visitors from Red List countries to undergo hotel isolation for a day upon arrival in the Gulf nation. The country is expecting a footfall of over 1.5 million tourists in wake of the fast-approaching FIFA world cup, scheduled between 20 November and 18 December. As the hosting country, the move to scrap the ‘Red Risk Classification’ is to facilitate an easy transit process for international travellers. Despite the relaxations in quarantine rules, those testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival into the country will have to undergo compulsory isolation as per safety guidelines of the country. International travellers to the country will be required to submit a negative COVID-19 RT PCR certificate issued no older than 48 hours or declare an antigen test certificate recieved 24 hours prior to landing in Qatar.
In order to ease traffic pressure on Hamad International Airport, the nearly dormant Doha International Airport will also be operational for the football mega-event. A number of airlines have already launched ticket sales to the airport, including FlyDubai, Jazeera Airways and Pegasus Airlines. The temporary operations of the airport will come to a stop on 30th December, 2022.
In a unique venture to promote off-road tourism in the state, Nagaland Tourism has collaborated with extreme overlanding pioneers, Wander Beyond Boundaries, to launch ‘Nagaland Off Road’. The programme aims to break beyond the usual ambit of Kohima and Dimapur and attract footfall to the interiors of the picturesque state to boast its unique culture and landscape. Nagaland Tourism and WBB have jointly announced their initial drives between 5-19 November. Curious explorers and adventurers can hire 4×4 self-drive vehicles to indulge in the state’s remote and challenging terrains and get a glimpse into the authentic Naga lifestyle. The launch is also expected to increase livelihood opportunities for the indigenous people of the region and boost local economy.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mohenjo-daro is caught in distress after witnessing heavy rainfall in the Sindh province of Pakistan. The damage aggravated when neighbouring villages diverted flood waters towards the historical site through outlet pipes and cuts in canals and roads. The resultant was excessive incoming water to the site that caused the outer walls at the site to partially fall. The flooding has also enfeebled the already fragile structures. The Cultural, Tourism and Antiquities Department of the Sindh province revealed in a letter to UNESCO that repair of the wounds caused to the Indus Valley civilisation site will amount to $45 million.
Ahead of festivities, Prayagraj airport is set to ease international travel before Mahakumbh Mela by granting it an international status. Its seamless functioning and consistent performance reportedly eased the decision to transition it. The Mahakumbh Mela, celebrated in gaps of three years, graces four pilgrimage destinations in India, namely Haridwar, Nashik, Ujjain and Prayagraj. The Prayagraj Mahakumbh Mela held in 2013 garnered a footfall of 120 million people from across the globe, earning it a place on UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The next celebration will be held in 2025, as the city gears to welcome large crowds of festival attendees.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation aims to connect over 50 wildlife sanctuaries, religious sites and tourist hotspots as a part of the fifth phase of Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik scheme (UDAN). Under the development, a list of 29 airstrips is being considered for constructing potential airports near tourist destinations, including Kohima, Raichur and Hirakund while 10 airstrips in close proximity to wildlife sanctuaries have made it to the list of potential work, of which a few are Paneri, Kishanganj, Satna and Dhana. An additional 15 airstrips near religious sites include Konark, Baripada and Hassan. An overview of the list reflects Madhya Pradesh and Bihar to be the biggest beneficiaries of this round. The two-stage bidding process will see airlines propose the routes prior to them being awarded towards the end of 2022. Initiated in 2016, the UDAN scheme aims to enhance regional connectivity from under-served or unserved airports across the country.
Upon inauguration of a heliport in Shimla district’s Rampur, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur revealed the government’s plans to amp up tourism in the unexplored regions of the state. The efforts include development of a network of heliports to aid air travel within the state. Helicopter services at the new Shimla heliport near Sanjauli bypass road, Baddi in Solan district and Rampur are expected to commemorate soon while one at Kangnidhar in Mandi and another in Manali are under construction. The state, famed for its pristine hill stations and spectacular vistas, currently houses 64 heliports and 38 new ones will soon join the counting numbers.
Sudrisha Goswami hopes to connect people with engaging stories from spectrums of art, culture, design and communities. She can be spotted sipping a cup of hot chocolate on any given day with a book in her hand and her eyes scanning crowds for different journeys.