Here’s your weekly dose of travel updates!
Check out the latest news and updates about the travel and tourism industry from around the world.
1. Indian Air Travel Records New High
On February 19 with 4.4 lakh travelers on 6,068 flights, domestic air travel in India set new records for the most domestic flyers and flights. This news was shared by Union Aviation Minister, Jyotiraditya Scindia on Twitter, “Yet another milestone! Indian Civil Aviation continues to soar. The Indian aviation industry has achieved a significant milestone as domestic aviation operations reach new heights!”
2. US Visa Update
After the long US visa interview appointment wait time making news, here’s some good news for certain category US visa applicants.
- Students planning their further studies in the USA can now apply for a US student visa 1 year before their course begins. Earlier the I-20 forms were issued 4-6 months in advance and students could schedule their visa interviews 120 days before their academic term begins.
- H-1B and L1 visa holders will soon be able to revalidate and extend their visa without returning back to their home country. By the end of this year, the US plans to resume the process of domestic visa revalidation, which will benefit many foreign tech workers in the USA. Currently, the H1-B visa restamping is only done at the US consulates.
3. Foreigners Can Now Make UPI Payments In India
The Reserve Bank of India recently issued a statement saying, “Travellers visiting India can now experience the convenience of UPI payments at over five crore merchant outlets across India, that accept QR Code-based UPI payments.” The facility is currently only available to travelers from G-20 countries only at Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru International Airports. To make payments at merchant outlets, eligible travelers will receive Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPI) wallets linked to UPI.
4. Amit Shah Inaugurates Passport E-Verification Facility In Delhi
On the 76th Raising Day Parade of Delhi Police, the facility of online passport verification through mobile tablets was revealed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. As a result of this new online passport verification facility, passport applications in Delhi will be processed more smoothly and quickly by taking 5 days instead of the usual 15 for police verification.
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5. Egypt Unveils The Waziry Papyrus At The Egyptian Museum
On February 20, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities in Egypt unveiled a renovated wing of the oldest museum in Cairo – The Egyptian Museum. The highlight of this wing is the Waziry Papyrus – a 16 metre long scroll that was discovered just last year. A part of the scroll of this Book of the Dead which contains 113 spells has been attracting a lot of tourists who are visiting Cairo during their holiday in Egypt.
6. Russia Issues New Visa Policies
If reports are to go by, Russia plans to restart its e-visa program for citizens of 70 countries which was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with this, the country will also be allowing visa-free access to citizens of 11 countries. Furthermore, citizens of 6 countries including India will now be able to get a 6 month long Russia visa based on their hotel reservation.
7. Karnataka’s Shivamogga Airport To Be Inaugurated By PM Modi
On February 27, PM Modi will be inaugurating Karnataka’s newest domestic greenfield airport – Shivamogga Airport. Built with a budget of 449 crores and spread over an area of 662 acres, this cost effective airport is built on par with international airports and equipped with a night landing facility, fire station building, terminal building, ATC tower, etc.
8. Dates And Requirements For Char Dham Yatra Announced
- After being closed for 6 months due to the extreme winter season, the Char Dhams in Uttarakhand will reopen for the Char Dham Yatra. The Gangotri Dham and the Yamunotri Dham will open on the Akshaya Tritiya which falls on April 22, whereas the Kedarnath Dham will open on April 25, and finally the Badrinath Dham will open on April 27. Looks like, you have a good reason to book your Uttarakhand tour package now.
- As per guidelines released by the Uttarakhand Government, devotees traveling must register themselves at the official state website after which they will receive their biometric/photometric card along with a Yatra registration letter. Those who have not completed the registration process will not be allowed to continue their journey.
9. Jammu Kashmir’s Top Off-beat Tourist Destination Now Open
Sinthan Top, a great inclusion in any Jammu and Kashmir tour package and the summer destination for offbeat travelers, can now be accessed during winter as well. For the first time in decades, the road to Sinthan Top was cleared of snow in February instead of April as per the norm. Soon mobile lavatories and emergency points will be set up on the route to make the commute easier.
10. Ladakh’s “Last Run” Marathon Sets Guinness World Record
The first ever “Last Run” marathon held in Ladakh set the Guinness World Record for the World’s Highest Frozen Lake Half Marathon. This 21 km long marathon across the frozen Pangong Tso took place at a height of 13,862 ft and was held to raise the need to save the Himalayas and the awareness about climate change.
11. Indian Railways To Launch Guru Kripa Yatra
Under the Bharat Gaurav initiative, the Indian Railways now plans to launch an 11D/10N Guru Kripa Yatra for the believers of Sikhism in April. The train will take the devotees across many important and sacred sites of Sikhism. Through the Bharat Gaurav Trains, the Indian Railways plans to promote the religious and cultural heritage of India on various famous circuits in the country.
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12. Air Arabia Announces Direct Flights Connecting Abu Dhabi And Kolkata
Starting from March 15, Air Arabia will be operating direct flights between the cities of Abu Dhabi and Kolkata. These flights will operate 3 days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. Kolkata is the 7th Indian destination connecting to Abu Dhabi after Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Cochin, Calicut, Chennai, and Trivandrum.
13. Air India Resumes Direct Flights Between Delhi And Vienna
India’s national air carrier, Air India resumed its flight services on the Delhi – Vienna route, which were previously suspended during the COVID 19 pandemic in 2020. The flights will be operating 3 times a week and will aid in further developing strong ties between India and Austria.
14. Flights To Lucknow Rescheduled Due To Repair Work
The runway at the Chaudhary Charan Singh International Airport in Lucknow is currently undergoing repairs. The repair work is estimated to last from February 23 to July 11, and during these 4 months, no flights will be operating between 9:30 pm and 6 am.
With so much to see and experience in the world who wouldn’t be excited to travel? Head over to Akbartravels.com and find solutions to all your worries related to visa applications, flight tickets, and hotel bookings. What else? We have the best budget holiday packages available to make your holiday truly peaceful.
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