Category: Tours Travel

China travel alert: Tourist spots closed, flights cancelled amid heavy rains and storms | Travel

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Bloomberg | | Posted by Zarafshan Shiraz

Jul 23, 2024 05:58 PM IST

Extreme weather batters tourism in China: Flights cancelled, travel warnings issued amid storm threats

Heavy rains lashing China have left at least 26 people dead in the past week, flooding city streets and threatening farming and industrial activity, as two more tropical storms barrel toward the nation.

China travel alert: Tourist spots closed, flights cancelled amid heavy rains and storms (File Photo by AFP)

Tropical storm Prapiroon is expected to make landfall near the border of China and Vietnam on Tuesday. Another system, Gaemi, has already caused heavy rainfall and flight cancellations in the northern Philippines, while authorities in Taiwan issued a warning it could affect people on the island in the coming days, before moving toward China.

The northern metropolis of Zhengzhou was forced to close schools and tourist spots last week, while cars were inundated on roads and parking lots. At least 14 people in Sichuan and a dozen in Shaanxi died over the weekend due to flooding and a bridge collapse.

In addition to the human toll, the extreme weather raises risks of damage to everything from croplands and coal mines to fishing boats and offshore oil platforms, according to China’s National Mine Safety Administration.

The heavy precipitation could impact coal mining in the country’s third-largest production hub, Shaanxi, and hydropower generation, which has already seen a 21% surge in the first half of the year. Gaemi’s projected path across the Taiwan Strait is set to cross an area with dozens of offshore wind turbines.

Rainfall could also affect corn and soybean growth in the north and rice in the south, right on the heels of heat waves and drought that have already withered some crops in the country’s major agricultural areas.

China has already seen bouts of extreme weather this year that have left a trail of damaged farms and infrastructure in their wake. The country’s battles with flooding spans thousands of years, and meteorologists warn it will only get worse as climate change exacerbates extreme fluctuations in weather.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

Barcelona to up tourist tax as Mallorca seeks visitor cap | Travel

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Locals in Spain’s tourism hotspots are increasingly frustrated about mass tourism. Authorities are clamping down.

Spain welcomed a record 85.1 million international tourists in 2023 (Chris Emil Janßen/picture alliance )

Barcelona plans to increase the tourist tax for cruise passengers staying in the city for less than 12 hours, the mayor revealed in a Sunday interview.

“We are going to propose.. substantially increasing the tax for stopover cruise passengers,” Jaume Collboni told El Pais newspaper.

It is the latest in a series of measures that he has announced to reduce the impact of mass tourism.

It comes just weeks after protesters in Barcelona, chanting: “Tourists go home,” sprayed visitors with water as part of a demonstration against mass tourism.

Fewer, higher paying tourists wanted

According to Statista, Barcelona reported the highest number of cruise passengers last year, roughly 3.6 million passengers.

The current tourist tax for stopover cruise passengers was €7 ($7.61) daily.

Collboni did not say how much he would raise the tourist tax, but his reasons are clear.

ALSO READ: Barcelona locals aggressively protest overtourism: What is it and is their aggression valid?

“In the case of stopover cruise passengers (less than 12 hours) there is intensive use of public space without any benefit for the city and a feeling of occupation and saturation,” he said.

“We want to have tourism that is respectful of the destination,” Collboni added.

Collboni announced last month that the city will bar apartment rentals to tourists by 2028. He has also introduced other tourist taxes.

Fresh protests against mass tourism in Mallorca

Anti-tourism activists have protested in popular holiday destinations across Spain, such as Palma de Mallorca, Malaga, and the Canary Islands.

The blame for plummeting living standards is often placed on visitors who drive up prices, including housing costs. Some places also struggle with what is called party tourism.

Mallorca is one such place and wants to attract fewer tourists, but only those who are willing to spend money.

On Sunday, the activists again plan protests against the excesses of mass tourism.

Just eight weeks ago, around 10,000 people took to the streets of Palma under the slogans “Enough is Enough!” and “Mallorca Is Not for Sale!”

Tourism is essential for Mallorca, accounting for 45% of the island’s economic output.

However, many argue that only a minority benefit from the industry, while the vast majority are left with poorly paid jobs and experience housing shortages, traffic jams, noise, and pollution.

Influencer shares experience of staying at Sridevi’s ‘AirBnB’ home, meeting Janhvi Kapoor. Watch | Travel

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Jul 23, 2024 12:06 AM IST

The influencer not only got to meet Janhvi Kapoor, but also stayed at legendary actor Sridevi’s room. Watch the reel here.

Manas, an Instagram influencer, recently had the time of his life when he got selected to visit Janhvi Kapoor’s home in Chennai for a customised experience, tailored to suit the demands of the guest. The influencer took to his Instagram profile and shared the reel of how he ended up in Sridevi’s home and got to meet Janhvi Kapoor in person. Thanks to Airbnb – an online marketplace for selecting and booking short or long-term homestays, hotels and experiences.

Manas had the time of his life when he got to stay at Sridevi’s room and meet Janhvi Kapoor in person.(Instagram/@roomadillo)

A few days back, Airbnb launched a new handle – Icons. With that, Airbnb intends to tailor customised and extraordinary experiences for their customers. Airbnb’s Icons features experiences hosted by the greatest icons of the world across all industries, such as films, music, television, art and sports. One of the experiences featured a chance to stay in Janhvi Kapoor’s home.

How the influencer got selected for this special experience

Manas got selected and soon received confirmation from Airbnb regarding his stay. He landed up in Chennai and was greeted by a chauffeur who guided him to Sri Villa – the home of the legendary actress and Janhvi Kapoor’s mother Sridevi. What followed was nothing less than a dream. “Unreal experience from Airbnb,” Manas shared on Instagram.

Details of his stay at Sri Villa

Manas was guided to stay in Sridevi’s room, which was tailored to suit the needs of the actor. Sri Villa is a beautiful lush property with a beach-facing view in Chennai centered around minimalism and modernism. The influencer further added that he had access to all the amenities of the house, including a group of chefs who cooked whatever they wanted.

ALSO READ: Janhvi Kapoor discharged from hospital after bad bout of food poisoning

Soon, they got to meet Janhvi Kapoor in person and speak to her about their business and also about her upcoming movies. Janhvi posed for a picture with the guests. The actor looked pretty in a casual monochrome slip dress.

However, the video received some flak from other netizens who pointed out the absence of privacy. “Woah. What in the world? How was Jahnvi ok with this invasion of such a private space? Coz they don’t live there anymore, but still. How much could’ve Airbnb afforded to pay her to get her to agree to this,” read one comment. Another user pointed out – “I applied for this, and I believe I had a wonderful application, but of course only companies and other brand boosting people get such experiences!”

Tourist vehicles entering Sikkim will now have to carry garbage bags | Travel

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PTI | | Posted by Krishna Priya Pallavi, Gangtok

Jul 21, 2024 03:35 PM IST

According to a new official order, tourist vehicles entering Sikkim will now have to carry large garbage bags. The order was issued by the Tourism Department.

All tourist vehicles entering Sikkim will now have to mandatorily carry a large garbage bag, according to an official order. (Also Read | Overtourism: 40 years ago, Goans protested with cow dung and rotten shrimps)

It will be the responsibility of the tour operators, travel agencies and vehicle drivers to inform the tourists about the use of garbage bags for waste disposal.

Tourists vehicles must carry large garbage bags

The decision has been taken to ensure community participation towards achieving the goal of environmental sustainability, said the order issued by the Tourism and Civil Aviation Department.

It will be the responsibility of the tour operators, travel agencies and vehicle drivers to inform the traveller about the use of garbage bags for waste disposal, it said.

Tourism Department says random checks will be conducted

Random checks of tourist vehicles would be conducted to ensure compliance, and any vehicle found violating the order will be penalised, it added.

Awareness campaigns about cleanliness are being carried out to educate tourists about waste management and environmental sustainability, officials said.

Sikkim, which is India’s least populated state with over 6 lakh residents, gets more than 20 lakh visitors every year for its picturesque Himalayan destinations, they said.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

Domestic tourism falters in Turkey, locals choose affordable tourist destinations in Greece | Travel

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Restaurants in some Turkish holiday towns are sitting half-empty in peak tourist season, as many locals find it’s cheaper to holiday in neighbouring Greece than stay and eat in one of their own country’s world-famous resorts.

Mist fans cool customers at a restaurant during high temperatures in the Plaka district of Athens, Greece. Domestic tourism falters in Turkey, locals choose affordable tourist destinations in Greece (Photographer: Hilary Swift/Bloomberg)

Angry citizens have taken to social media to share their bills, including the equivalent of $640 for food and drinks for five people in Bodrum and $30 for five scoops of ice cream in Cesme. Meanwhile from Mediterranean Greek islands just a few kilometers away, their fellow Turks boast they’re paying far less than prices at home.

“There’s a huge difference between the service and product quality, as well as prices here and there,” said Murat Yavuz, a retired Turkish banker who regularly visits Greece. “Restaurants here have used inflation as a pretext to push up prices.”

Restaurant and hotel prices rose by an average 91% in June from a year earlier, topping already eye-watering headline inflation of 71.6%. The sector constitutes a third of the services economy that the central bank has highlighted as a particular cause of concern in its fight against spiraling prices.

The exodus has been helped by the launch of a fast-track visa program in March this year as part of a diplomatic effort to ease tensions between the long-time rivals. And Turks are not the only ones swarming Greece’s islands. Tourists from around the world have flocked there in such large numbers that the country is now considering imposing restrictions on cruise ships.

“We’ve lost our price advantage,” Kivanc Meric, an executive at the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies, told Euronews in an interview, citing the “over-valuation” of the Turkish lira. Meric said he expects as many as 150,000 Turks to go to the Greek island of Samos this year, up from around 40,000 in 2023.

The lira’s real effective exchange rate, a measure of its value against foreign currencies, is at its highest level since late 2021.

Eateries across the country are seeing an erosion of purchasing power among clients. Ramazan Bingol, head of Turkey’s All Restaurants and Tourism Professionals Association, said the number of Arab customers is down by 40% from last year while Turkish diners are down by 30%. Speaking to broadcaster NTV, Bingol said his members have launched a discount campaign after a suggestion by the government.

The 128-branch Big Chefs casual dining chain has seen its overall customer numbers rise as “the upper segment is shifting to us,” said Chairwoman Gamze Cizreli. “But we’re observing a decline in spending per person.” The company is cutting costs to cope with the decline, including by producing its own electricity, she added.

“With interest rates at 50% and inflation above 70%, people are in shock,” said Baris Tansever, founder of the upmarket Sunset Grill & Bar in Istanbul, who says business is down about a quarter from last year.

Prices are now out of reach for the white-collar crowd he aimed to attract when he opened his restaurant in 1994, Tansever said.

“We’re all getting poorer.”

Prime Day sale 8PM deals: Up to 80% off on luggage trolleys, duffles, rucksacks, backpacks, duffles and more | Travel

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Amazon Prime Day Sale 2024 is here and incredible savings await on essential travel gear! This Prime Day Sale let’s dive into discounts of up to 80% on a fantastic selection of trolleys, rucksacks, backpacks, duffles, and more. Whether you’re gearing up for a trekking adventure, planning a weekend getaway, or simply need a reliable bag for daily use, Amazon Deals 2024 has you covered.

Get ready to save big on luggage trolleys, duffles and more with Amazon Prime Day Sale 2024.

Discover unbeatable deals on durable and stylish luggage that will accompany you on every journey. From spacious trolleys perfect for long trips to compact and ergonomic backpacks ideal for everyday commutes, there’s something to suit every traveller’s needs. Take advantage of the latest deals on Amazon Sale to upgrade your travel essentials without breaking the bank.

This sale isn’t just about discounts, it’s about enhancing your travel experience with quality products that offer both functionality and style. Explore a wide range of designs, colours, and features tailored to meet modern travel demands. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to shop smarter and make the most of Prime Day 2024. Get ready to save big, shop smart, and elevate your travel gear with the Amazon Prime Day Sale!

Get up to 80% discount on luggage trolley bags from the biggest brands

Travel in style with the Skybags ABS Trooper Medium Size Hardshell Luggage (65 cm) now available on the Amazon Prime Day sale 2024. This printed luggage inline trolley bag in green is designed for both men and women. It’s lightweight yet durable, made from scratch-resistant ABS material, ensuring sturdiness, waterproofing, and impact resistance. The 360-degree wheels and adjustable trolley handle make it easy to move. Enjoy enhanced security with a 3-digit resettable combination lock and premium zipper. With ample storage space, multiple compartments, and compression straps, packing is a breeze. Plus, it comes with a 5-year international warranty.

Specifications of Skybags ABS Trooper Medium Size Hardshell Luggage:

  1. Material: Durable and scratch-resistant ABS
  2. Lock: 3-digit resettable combination lock
  3. Mobility: Smooth 360-degree wheels
  4. Storage: Spacious multi-compartments with compression straps
  5. Warranty: 5-year international warranty against manufacturing defects

Prepare for your next adventure with the Safari Luma 55 cm Small Cabin Trolley Bag. Available in multicolour, this hard case luggage is a must-buy during the Amazon sale 2024. Made from durable polycarbonate, it’s lightweight, scratch-resistant, and sturdy. Its compact size is perfect for flights, helping you avoid baggage fees. The 360-degree wheeling system ensures smooth navigation and the combination lock keeps your belongings secure. With smart compartments, organising is easy. Don’t miss out on exclusive deals on luggage on Amazon this Prime Day 2024 sale.

Specifications of Safari Luma 55 Cms Small Cabin Trolley Bag:

  1. Size: 55 cm
  2. Material: Premium polycarbonate
  3. Wheels: 360-degree smooth rolling wheels
  4. Lock: Integrated anti-theft combination lock
  5. Warranty: 5-year international warranty

Check out luggage trolley bags from Skybags

Also read: Pick the right cabin luggage for your airport transit: A complete guide

Check out luggage trolley bags from Safari

Check out luggage trolley bags from American Tourister

Enjoy up to 83% discount with the latest deals on duffle bags

Upgrade your travel gear with the M MEDLER Epoch Nylon 55-litre Waterproof Strolley Duffle Bag, available in navy blue. Perfect for the Amazon Prime Day sale 2024, this bag offers the latest deals on Amazon. Made from durable nylon, it’s water-resistant and built to last. With dimensions of 56 cm x 28 cm x 33 cm, it provides ample space for your belongings. It features five compartments, including one main compartment, two front pockets, and two side pockets. The smooth rolling wheels and extra side corner guards ensure easy and secure travel. Don’t miss the Amazon sale 2024 on Prime Day 2024 for this versatile bag.

Specifications of M MEDLER Epoch Nylon 55 litres Waterproof Strolley Duffle Bag

  1. Material: Durable nylon
  2. Colour: Navy blue
  3. Size: 56 cm x 28 cm x 33 cm
  4. Compartments: 5 (1 main, 2 front, 2 side)
  5. Features: Waterproof, smooth rolling wheels, extra side corner guards

Travel in style with the Fur Jaden Brown Textured Leatherette Weekender Duffle Bag. Perfect for both men and women, this spacious bag is ideal for the Amazon Prime Day sale 2024. Grab the latest deals on Amazon during the Amazon sale 2024. With a large 35-litre compartment, it’s perfect for 3-4 day trips, whether for business or leisure. Made from high-quality, water-resistant artificial leather, it keeps your belongings safe from rain. The durable material and quality zips ensure long-lasting use. Enjoy a 10-day no-questions-asked replacement guarantee and a 6-month warranty. Don’t miss Prime Day 2024 for this stylish duffle bag.

Specifications of Fur Jaden Brown Textured Leatherette Duffle Bag:

  1. Dimensions: 47 x 28 x 27 cm
  2. Volume Capacity: 35 litres
  3. Material: High-quality, water-resistant artificial leather
  4. Features: Large spacious compartment, durable zips, and accessories
  5. Warranty: 10-day replacement guarantee, 6-month warranty

Also read: Best luggage for international travel: Top 6 picks to help you travel in comfort

Check out more duffle bags on Amazon Sale 2024

Get the best rucksacks at up to 80% discount on Amazon Prime Day Sale 2024

Gear up for your adventures with the Fur Jaden 55 LTR Rucksack Travel Backpack Bag, available in black and grey. Perfect for trekking, hiking, and travel, this spacious backpack is the best buy during the Amazon Prime Day sale 2024. With a large 55-litre capacity, it easily fits multiple pairs of clothes and has a separate shoe compartment. Multiple pockets provide space for accessories and water bottles. The sleek design ensures balanced weight distribution with shoulder and waist straps for comfortable carrying. Travel in style with this extra spacious rucksack luggage bag that is a perfect companion of all your upcoming adventures.

Specifications of Fur Jaden 55 LTR Rucksack Travel Backpack Bag:

  1. Capacity: 55 litres
  2. Weight: 700 grams
  3. Dimensions: 35 cm x 25 cm x 65 cm
  4. Material: Polyester lining, water-resistant
  5. Warranty: 1-year manufacturer warranty against defects

Prepare for your next adventure with the Impulse 60 Litres Keep Discovering Light Waterproof Rucksack. Perfect for trekking, hiking, and camping, this spacious bag is a must-have for the Amazon Prime Day sale 2024. With a 60-litre capacity, it has ample space for all your essentials. The ergonomic S-shaped shoulder pads and breathable back support provide comfort during long hikes. The rain cover keeps your belongings dry and this rucksack luggage is Ideal for men and women, it includes multiple compartments for easy organisation. Don’t miss this exclusive Prime Day 2024 and grab this durable and versatile rucksack.

Specifications of Impulse 60 Litres Light Waterproof Rucksack:

  1. Capacity: 60 litres
  2. Material: Waterproof polyester
  3. Features: Ergonomic shoulder pads, breathable back support, rain cover
  4. Compartments: Spacious main compartment, multiple large-capacity pouches
  5. Warranty: 1-year warranty against manufacturing defects

Check out more rucksacks on Amazon Prime Day Sale 2024

Also read: Best men’s luggage bags: Discover the top 9 picks for effortless travel, packed with style and functionality

Get luggage backpacks at up to 81% off on Prime Day Sale 2024

Prepare for everyday adventures with the Safari Flash Medium 26L Water Resistant Polyester Casual Backpack in blue. Designed for school, college, or daily use, this lightweight and sturdy backpack is perfect for Amazon Prime Day 2024. Made with premium polyester with water-resistant fabric, it keeps your essentials protected from the elements. Stay organised with a front pocket for small items and mesh side pockets for bottles or umbrellas. Enjoy enhanced comfort with mesh padding on the back and adjustable shoulder straps.

Specifications of Safari Flash Medium 26L Water Resistant Polyester Casual Backpack

  1. Capacity: 26 litres
  2. Material: 100% polyester, water-resistant fabric
  3. Pockets: Front storage pocket, mesh pockets on both sides
  4. Comfort: Mesh padding on back, padded adjustable shoulder straps
  5. Warranty: 1-year international warranty against manufacturing defects

Also read: Best Safari luggage bags: Top 10 picks for your next adventure, ensuring style and durability on every journey

Discover the perfect balance of functionality and style with the Skybags Casual Backpack 28L. Designed for everyday use, this backpack is a standout choice for Amazon Prime Day 2024. Benefit from exclusive deals during the event. It features 2 main compartments, a front pocket, and a slip-in pocket inside, providing ample storage and organisation options. The soft mesh back with 8 mm foam padding and padded shoulder straps ensures comfort, even when carrying heavier loads. A convenient mesh bottle holder adds to its utility. Please be aware that this backpack is not water-resistant.

Specifications of Skybags Casual Backpack 28L

  1. Capacity: 28 litres
  2. Compartments: 2 main compartments, 1 slip-in pocket
  3. Design: Printed design, mesh bottle holder
  4. Size: 35 x 13 x 46 cm
  5. Features: Soft mesh back with 8 mm foam padding, padded shoulder straps

Check out more backpacks from premium luggage brands

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FAQs on the best luggage bags

1. What is the difference between a trolley bag and a duffle bag?

Trolley bags have wheels and a retractable handle for easy transport, while duffle bags are typically carried by hand or shoulder straps and are ideal for gym or weekend trips.

2. How do I choose the right backpack for hiking?

Look for a backpack with a capacity that suits your trip duration, comfortable padded straps, multiple compartments for organization, and features like water resistance and a hydration pack.

3. Are rucksacks suitable for airline carry-on luggage?

Yes, many rucksacks are designed to meet carry-on size requirements. Check the airline’s size limits and choose a rucksack that fits within those dimensions.

4. What materials are best for waterproof luggage bags?

Materials like polyester, nylon, and certain treated leathers are excellent for waterproof luggage, keeping your belongings dry in rainy conditions.

5. How do I maintain and clean my luggage bags?

Most luggage bags can be cleaned with mild soap, water, and a soft cloth. For stubborn stains, check the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Regularly inspect and lubricate zippers to ensure smooth operation.

At Hindustan Times, we help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and products. Hindustan Times has an affiliate partnership, so we may get a part of the revenue when you make a purchase. We shall not be liable for any claim under applicable laws, including but not limited to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, with respect to the products. The products listed in this article are in no particular order of priority.

Overtourism: 40 years ago, Goans protested with cow dung and rotten shrimps | Travel

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December, 1987. Dabolim Airport, Goa.

In 1987, local Goans protested against mass tourism – they threw cow dung and rotten shrimps at tourist-carrying buses…37 years later, mass tourism in Goa remains a massive concern. (Shutterstock)

“Travel Corporation India Pvt Ltd welcomes Condor clients to Goa”.

On a windy December day 37 years ago, a welcome flag was fluttering outside Goa’s Dabolim airport to greet the first group of West German package tourists arriving on a Condor Airlines flight. The Germans were unaware of what lay beyond the exit door – a group of indignant activists of the newly-formed Jagrut Goenkaranchi Fouz (Vigilant Goans’ Army) throwing cow dung and rotten shrimps at the bus that was to transport the tourists to various beach resorts. Protesting the onslaught of tourists, local Goans even distributed leaflets in German to convey their stern ‘Tourists Go Home’ message. The fortnight holiday of the Germans began on a stinky, shrimpy note.

But the Germans were not the first ‘mass’ tourists to the idyllic coastal state. Swarms of weed-smoking, dreadlocked hippies had arrived in battered buses on their overland trip (Goa was usually the last stop on the 12,000 kilometre Hippie Trail) and occupied the beaches of Goa in the 1970s. Sepia photographs still live the heady days of full moon rave parties – there’s one photograph of a hippie in bangles, beads and matted locks selling weed labelled ‘Manali Shit’ at Anjuna Beach (there’s a I Love Goa Facebook Page that details Hippies in Anjuna in 1970s).

By the time the hippies left, Goa was already spilling with tourists. In 1985, 775,000 tourists arrived in Goa with foreigners accounting for 12% of the total number. Goa, still a Union Territory, got 7.4% of the total inbound tourist arrival in India. From 1985 up to 2002, there was considerable year-on-year growth with the total arrival touching 1.3 million tourists in 2002 (16.8% being foreigners). The resentment of the local populace towards the swarm of tourists grew increasingly and they were strongly resisting the Government’s plan of tourism development and the consequent tourist influx into Goa.

Much before Goa hit the 1-million tourist mark, the world sat up and noticed the burden of ’mass tourism’. A scathing report in The Independent (UK, dated January 27, 1993) headlined: “Mass tourism blamed for paradise lost in Goa: Tour operators who promote an Indian state as a dream holiday destination are accused of turning a blind eye to reality” described how Goa “despite ‘being routinely described in brochures as ‘pure joy’ (Inspirations India) and an ‘unspoilt Paradise’ (Hayes and Jarvis), Goa…. is now the scene of acid parties, raves and increasing child prostitution.” The same article cites a Tourism Concern survey that mentions how “one five-star hotel consumes as much water as five villages and one ‘five-star tourist’ consumes 28 times more electricity per day than a Goan.”

In the mid-1990s, much to the consternation of the local Goans, Union Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed prophesied that by the turn of the century, 19 new five-star hotels would come up in the state.

Hotels & Flights:

Sayeed’s prophecy came true. With only two hotels at the time of liberation in 1961, Goa now has 7,538 hotels registered with the Goa Department of Tourism (as of January 31, 2024). According to a rough estimate, there are 6,400 guest houses and hundreds of unregistered accommodation.

Goa is the only state in India that gets the foreign charter tourists. Approximately 341 charter flights landed here in 2022-2023 with tourists from Russia, Kazakhstan, Germany, Israel, Kyrgyzstan (a new market), UK, Europe and the Middle East.

In 1962, Dabolim airport’s runaway was inept at handling even a Boeing 747 but in 2006, 2.2 million passengers used the airport that rose to about 2.6 million in 2007. In 2023, Dabolim airport handled 7 million passengers and 48,195 aircraft movement while the new Manohar International Airport handled 3.7 million passengers and 13,037 flight movements.

Sex, drugs, crime & alcohol:

With the surge in tourism, Goa’s crime graph has also shown an upswing. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2022, Goa had the highest rate of minor children being raped in the country as well as a significant surge in economic offence cases in Goa with a sharp increase from 153 First Information Reports (FIRs) in 2020 to 260 in 2022. A concerning trend emerged in crimes committed by foreigners, with the number of cases reaching 67 in 2022, surpassing offences against foreign nationals. Crimes ranged from kidnapping, cheating, rape, forgery, to overstaying and drug-related offence. In 2020, per capita sex tourism in Goa was highest in the country (Source: NCRB). In 2023, the Goa police had seized drugs valued at 5.47 crore and the state has also turned into a hub for illegal transportation of alcohol to neighbouring states.

Carrying Capacity:

Goa’s carrying capacity has been under the scanner for years. According to the Goa Tourism Promotion, Management and Regulation Bill 2024, the tourists visiting Goa significantly outnumber the residents and the government is mooting a holistic planning and development of tourism in the State in a manner that is sustainable, ecologically sound, and beneficial to residents and tourists alike. Though tourism is a major contributor to the state exchequer, questions are specially being raised about casino-tourists and busloads of non-spending tourists who cook by the streets, sleep in the coach, crowd the beaches and contribute zilch to the tourism industry.

The big Sunburn Controversy:

The end of the year Sunburn Festival that draws nearly 40,000 tourists has been at the heart of several controversies, including drugs, alcohol and noise pollution. Several public interest litigations (PILs) have been filed against Sunburn for noise pollution in the High Court as well as National Green Tribunal (NGT).

With the organisers planning to move the festival from North to South Goa, the panchayats are up in arms against this EDM saying the festival is associated with ‘drug culture’ and erodes Goa’s cultural values. “South Goa does not need Sunburn EDM. Everyone knows it is associated with drugs & alcohol,” Salesiana Fernandes, Varca sarpanch, told a local newspaper. “The panchayat will oppose tooth & nail any move to hold Sunburn in the village,” Pritam Deulcar, Naquem-Betul sarpanch, added.

Goa’s original Tourism Development Plan:

Three months after Goa’s liberation in December 1961, Libia Lobo Sardesai took over as the state’s first Director of Tourism. Libia (everyone calls her Libby), who turned 100 in May, vividly remembers the Goa of 1962 when there was no ‘mass tourism’, no garbage and tourists did not come for drugs or alcohol. “Most of people who came to Goa were religious tourists (for long, Goa was known as the Rome of the East) or the ones who came to enjoy Goa’s scenic beauty,” said Libby who deeply laments the onslaught of tourists who “do not respect the land or the cultural values and ecological wealth”.

Even in 1962, Libby knew Goa’s potential as a tourist hub and one of her first tasks was to approach United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to facilitate the arrival of foreign journalists to Goa – Press trips to spread the good word globally about Goa’s idyllic landscape.

“Of course, journalists came, they wrote reams about Goa but it all fell apart after my tenure was over in 1968,” added Libby who zealously fought for Goa’s freedom along with her husband Vaman Sardesai who also served as India’s Ambassador to Angola.

Libby’s disquiet is palpable, so is the malaise of mass tourism in Goa that makes her “feel unsafe in my own land”. Goa certainly needs tourists but will the state ever embrace responsible tourism – use tourism to make better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit, in that order?

(Source: Goa Department of Tourism, Libia Lob Sardesai, Statista, National Crime Research Bureau, The Independent, Natasha Brammer & John Beech [Coventry Business School], Census of India data, DGCA)

Japan eases entry for travellers with new preclearance system, faster immigration processing as tourist wave hits record | Travel

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Foreign visitors arriving in Japan may get to breeze through immigration soon as the country looks for new ways to amplify a tourism boom that is boosting its economy.

Tourists walking through Nakamise shopping street near Sensoji Temple in Tokyo. Japan welcomed a million more foreign visitors in the first half of 2024 compared to pre-pandemic levels, logging a new record of 17.78 million, the national tourism organisation said on July 19, 2024. Japan eases entry for travellers with new preclearance system, faster immigration processing as tourist wave hits record (Photo by Yuichi YAMAZAKI / AFP)

The government will introduce a new preclearance system from next January, starting with tourists from Taiwan, NHK reported Friday. Visitors will be able to complete most of their immigration screening before departure to help shorten the time taken for entry procedures on arrival, according to the broadcaster.

The decision comes with record numbers of tourists already visiting the country. Around 17.8 million people visited in the first half, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. June also marked the fourth straight month with more than 3 million travelers.

The slump in the yen has turned Japan from a pricey bucket-list trip to a relatively inexpensive tourism and shopping destination. At a meeting to promote tourism on Friday, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida declared that ¥8 trillion ($51 billion) of spending by foreign visitors is within sight in 2024.

“It’s critical to promote the number of visitors to local regions, while preventing and keeping control of overtourism,” Kishida told a ministerial council. The prime minister called for the use of technology to ease congestion at airports, travel networks and popular destinations. He’s also seeking to boost the attractiveness of Japan’s national parks and promote sports tourism, as part of the government’s goal to reach 60 million visitors annually by 2030.

Underscoring booming inbound travel demand, ANA Holdings Inc. said it will start three European routes from Haneda this winter starting with Milan in December, Stockholm in January and Istanbul in February.

“We will continue to expand our network” All Nippon Airways President Shinichi Inoue said at a news conference Friday. In addition, ANA started daily flights to Paris and Munich in July ahead of the Paris Olympics and plans to restart its Haneda-Vienna route in August.

Japan’s airports have been dealing with a jet-fuel shortage that has impacted foreign carriers seeking to increase flights to the country. While efforts are in place to ease the shortage by boosting production and imports, Kishida called on the council to take urgent measure to secure supplies.

The influx is providing a boost to Japan’s fragile economy. The currency hit a 38-year low against the dollar earlier this month as the gap in interest rates between Japan and the US continues to keep downward pressure on the currency. While the weakness in the yen is attracting tourists and shoppers to Japan, it is also fueling the strongest inflation cycle in decades, a factor that is dragging on domestic consumer spending.

Foreign visitors spent ¥2.14 trillion yen in the April-June quarter, according to figures released by the Japan Tourism Agency on Friday.

There has also been a growing backlash among some locals annoyed by the ever-increasing influx.

Kyoto’s local district council has banned visitors from the narrow private streets of the Gion district, while local authorities in Fujikawaguchiko erected a barrier to stop tourists from taking photos at a convenience store with Mt. Fuji in the background.

Top animal migrations you need to experience in person | Travel

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Life on Earth has an insatiable wanderlust spirit. From creeper plants sluggishly exploring new lands with their vines to humans diligently curating their dream getaways on Pinterest boards, even animals traverse great distances for suitable climates, better pastures, or ideal breeding grounds. Witnessing mass migrations, with herds and flocks moving in sync towards a destination, is breathtaking. These migrations happen during particular seasons or mating periods, or to seek better living conditions. You must add these animal migrations to your travel checklist, for it’s a guaranteed sensory experience.

Animals of different species, all across the ecosystems, migrate in large herds.

ALSO READ: Top 5 cultural festivals around the world you need to visit for a wholesome travel experience

The Great African migration

Great African migration is the biggest migration ever, of such a large scale. (Google Image)
Great African migration is the biggest migration ever, of such a large scale. (Google Image)

One of the biggest animal migrations, the extraordinary magnitude of this event is astonishing. It’s a heart-thumping experience to feel the thunderous hooves of over 1 million wildebeests, 400,000 zebras, and 300,000 gazelles galloping across the vast stretch of the savanna. The enormous herds are widely photographed. The migration timing depends on the rain and occurs mostly year-round but peaks in July. Depending on the season, the migration takes place between Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.

Monarch butterfly migration

Monarch butterflies travel to warm climates during breeding season.(Pixabay)
Monarch butterflies travel to warm climates during breeding season.(Pixabay)

Millions of Monarch butterflies take to the sky and embark on a 3,000-mile journey from the frigid northeastern regions of the United States and Canada towards the warmer areas of Mexico’s Central Highlands to breed. The delicate creatures start their southern migration in September and October to escape the harsh winter. The swarm of butterflies can be seen in various wildlife sanctuaries and groves in California. The Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve in Mexico also offers a firsthand experience of this breathtaking phenomenon.

ALSO READ: Top natural phenomena that are a must for your travel bucket list

Sea turtle hatchlings

Sea turtles must brave predators like crabs and seagulls and reach the ocean safely. (Pexels)
Sea turtles must brave predators like crabs and seagulls and reach the ocean safely. (Pexels)

Get ready to swoon over little turtles and cheer them on as the hatchlings race towards the sea. With nests on the land, female turtles lay their eggs near the beaches. It’s an impossibly adorable sight to watch the miracle of life as the eggs crack, and the newly hatched turtles waddle towards the safety of the waves. Florida beaches are the best places to spot these cute turtles.

Red crab migration

Australia's Christmas Island becomes crimson with crabs crawling all over the beach.
Australia’s Christmas Island becomes crimson with crabs crawling all over the beach.

Australia’s Christmas Island beach turns red as thousands of red crabs march to the sea to lay their eggs. This annual breeding event takes place during the wet season, generally between November and December. These crabs look like a red tide against the blue of the sea, a stunning view. It makes one ponder in awe about nature’s workings.

Humpback whale migration

Humpback whales have the longest migration. (Unsplash)
Humpback whales have the longest migration. (Unsplash)

Whales are gigantic and regal creatures, and it’s even more thrilling to watch an entire herd of whales moving together. Following food sources, they undertake long journeys spanning thousands of miles. It’s truly a captivating display of nature’s power. All year round, the whales are visible in different locations like Hawaii and Alaska.

ALSO READ: No more room for tourists in Santorini: Tourism boom in Greek islands threaten vineyards and local livelihoods

No more room for tourists in Santorini: Tourism boom in Greek islands threaten vineyards and local livelihoods | Travel

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Santorini’s whitewashed streets will heave with millions of visitors this summer. Not everyone on the Greek island will be happy to see them.

No more room for tourists in Santorini: Tourism boom in Greek islands threaten vineyards and local livelihoods (REUTERS/Louiza Vradi/File Photo)

“Tourism destroys the vineyards,” wine producer Matthew Argyros said in an interview. “I raise a red flag for the island.” His family winery, set up in 1903, produces from about a quarter of the island’s vineyards, and he warns that agricultural land prices have rocketed in the area as developers clamor for space to build more holiday lets.

Production of Santorini grapes has dropped almost 50% in the last 20 years, with an average 2.7% drop per year, according to data collected by the Association of Winemakers of Santorini. The production, according to the island’s winemakers, is in danger of dropping to zero by 2041 if there’s no intervention of some form. Water shortages are making it harder to grow the vines, while they’ve lost most of their workers to the tourism industry through the years, Argyros said.

From her balcony in the hilltop village of Pyrgos, Antonia Noussia could once see grapes growing all the way to the coast. Now, she says, there are “only small patches of vineyards left.”

“You can see people carrying sheets, breakfast supplies, and it doesn’t feel like an inhabited village,” said Noussia, an associate professor of urban design and planning at London South Bank University, who lives half the year on the island where she spent all her summers growing up. When the tourists disappear over winter, locals rely on a single small grocery shop.

Tourism has accelerated throughout Europe since the pandemic, worsening supply problems, traffic-choked streets and economic imbalances in several hotspots such as Santorini. Some places are attempting to ease the pressure with visitor fees, caps and even temporary bans — with limited signs of success, as a record-breaking summer gets underway.

“It’s going to be a very bad year for Santorini,” according to Mayor Nikos Zorzos. The island can afford “not one single bed more” for accommodation, he added — stressing that this would still be the case even if infrastructure is improved to help the island cope with higher numbers. The municipality is unable to impose a construction ban, so he wants the Athens government to act.

Santorini is expecting 3.4 million tourists this summer, despite local authorities asking for limits since 2012, Zorzos said.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has acknowledged the area faces a problem of “over-tourism.” In June, he announced plans to restrict cruise ships for the country’s most popular islands. “I think we’ll do it next year,” Mitsotakis said in an interview at the time.

The new rules could see the total number of island berths restricted, or a bidding process introduced for slots. It’s the latest proposal to limit day-trippers from cruise ships.

Zorzos previously set up a cap of 8,000 cruise visitors per day, though this was annulled during the pandemic and recently reinstated, so the overall effect on tourist numbers is unclear. Santorini’s local authorities have also managed to bring down the number of days each cruise ship can visit the islands to 48 days from 63 for this season — a number that’s set to drop even further next year.

Greece’s central administration is also seeking to impose restrictions on short-term leasing in congested areas, including most of its top destinations in the Aegean and the Ionian islands. The government has drafted a bill, which is currently under public consultation, which links the amount of short term rentals to the number of available hotels in each region.

The European Commission has recognized the problems on the islands, saying in a 2018 report that visitors brought €1 billion ($1.1 billion) a year to Santorini while swelling the population to as many as 107.8 tourists for every 100 inhabitants. Some of the negative impacts “have permanent consequences on the island and its community,” the report’s authors wrote.

Summer Protests

It’s a sentiment shared by other communities living among Europe’s star attractions. Venice has this year introduced an entrance fee and banned large and loud groups from entering. In the Spanish destinations of Mallorca and the Canary Islands, locals have been protesting to reclaim space from visitors. Barcelona has also become a focal point of anger over tourism squeezing out residents.

Some have taken emergency measures after local infrastructure buckled under pressure. In late June, the mayor of the Italian island of Capri announced a ban on incoming tourists due to a severe water shortage — though the measure was relaxed within a day once supplies were fixed, according to local media.

“The problem is not just limited to a few islands and it’s definitely not just Greek,” said Ioannis Spilanis, assistant professor of the University of the Aegean. “The problem has been more than obvious since at least 2018, then the pandemic came and we forgot about it and rushed to bring travel and tourism back to make up for the damage.”

During the summer of 2023, Greeks reclaimed beaches from sunbeds and beach bars, a protest known as the “towel movement.” The government adopted stricter rules on the use of beaches and has made sure they are being implemented with frequent inspections. In Greece, all beaches are by law free to access and cannot be private.

The stakes are high for the Greek economy. After more than a decade of austerity following the financial crisis, GDP remains much lower than it was before 2008. Tourism has been a bright spot, breaking pre-pandemic records and representing almost one fifth of economic output in 2023, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council.

The country attracted 32.7 million tourists in 2023, 18% more than the year before, according to the Bank of Greece, while the first quarter of 2024 has brought nearly 25% more visitors than the same period last year.

Endangered Sites

Meanwhile, the pressure continues to build in some places. A few islands away from Santorini on beach hotspot Serifos, mayor Konstantinos Revinthis said there are no restaurants open from December to February. “Nothing is for the locals in Serifos anymore,” he said.

Serifos, along with Folegandros and Sifnos, this year made it to the list of Europe’s most endangered sites compiled by heritage group Europa Nostra, which pointed to “rampant construction” and the degradation of natural resources. Wildfires have been breaking out in July as Greece’s heat wave smolders.

Revinthis said “tourists are set for a bad surprise this year due to water shortage,” and should also brace for worsening traffic jams that might cause them to miss their ferry departure time. “They must know that they will not be able to shower, if there’s no immediate solution.”