Campaign launched for responsible tourism in Himalayas

Seeking to encourage tour operators and tourists to adopt better practices for disposal of waste in the Himalayas and protect the fragile ecosystem, the World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF-India) Friday launched the Green Hiker campaign here.

‘Irresponsible tourism is increasingly rendering the high altitude regions and the fragile wetlands of the Himalayas vulnerable. The impact of travel in the Himalayan region needs to be dealt with by the travellers themselves,’ said Ravi Singh, secretary general and chief executive officer, WWF-India.

The campaign, which will cover the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh, aims to reach out to tour operators and tourists and encourage them to adopt responsible practices towards reducing the impact of tourism on the fragile ecosystem of the Himalayas.

Thus, it has been timed with the peak tourist season in the Himalayas.

Maninder Singh Kohli, a veteran hiker, said: ‘In my last five years of trekking I have seen the situation in the Himalayas degrading constantly. Although tourists litter the place, the worst offenders are the pilgrims who just don’t care at all.’

Arjun Vajpai, 16, the youngest Indian to conquer Mount Everest, has also been roped in for the campaign. He said: ‘Climbers should be properly trained in waste disposal by the government. More importantly, the number of people climbing the peak should be curtailed.’

As part of the campaign, an animation film on responsible tourism will be screened in airports, hotels, coffee houses, book shops and restaurants. Posters, bookmarks and post cards will also be distributed.

Workshops will also be conducted for tour operators, Contact WWF-India.

From Sify

Bollywood at Indian Film Festival of London

Apart from earning itself 14 nominations at the IIFA awards and having already won eight technical ones, 3 Idiots is now being screened at the Indian Film Festival of London 2010, as a part of a retrospective of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s films.

The festival that kicks off on August 25 and ends on August 29, will close the event with a screening of 3 Idiots for charity, the proceeds of which will be donated to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

For a cause
3 Idiots is a special film, it has changed my own daughter’s outlook towards education, as she has taken up full time classical dancing now. To have a charity screening for UNICEF only echoes what the film is trying to say and we are really proud to be associated with such a noble cause,” Chopra says.

The other films lined up to be screened are An Encounter With Faces (1978), Parinda (1989), 1942: A Love Story (1994) and Eklavya: The Royal Guard (2007). While Chopra will also be presented an award for his contribution to cinema, each film will be followed by an audience interaction with him, where members of the British film world will learn more about Bollywood.

About the IFFL
The Indian Film Festival of London claims to be one of the major film festivals, which is dedicated to promoting cinema from the Indian subcontinent.

While several mainstream and art house products from Bollywood are promoted here, the festival soon plans on branching out into getting films from other Indian film industries as well. Steps to rope in movies from film industries in neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh are also under way

From The Hindustan Times

Seychelles seeks better air links with India

Air connectivity will help to improve economic ties and promote tourism: James Alix Michel

Seychelles has sought better air connectivity with India to improve economic ties and promote tourism.

President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with President of the Republic of Seychelles James Alix Michel (centre) during a ceremonial recpetion at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: V.V. Krishnan

Speaking to industrialists here on Wednesday, Seychelles President James Alix Michel pointed to the “urgent need” to establish flights between Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai and Mahe.

He hoped negotiations later this month on the Bilateral Air Services Agreement between Seychelles and India would lead to an increase in exchange between business persons of the two countries, greater people to people contacts and tourism.

Earlier in the day, India and Seychelles signed a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement following delegation-level talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mr. Michel.

Business opportunities

Mr. Michel said that with the improvement in the balance of payments position and the signing of the BIPA, investment opportunities had opened up for India in offshore oil exploration, fisheries, marine and aqua culture projects; renewable energy, eco-tourism projects; IT and ICT business and specialised restaurants.

Official sources said the talks saw both sides touching on Indian assistance for a tighter security grid that would be able to stave off pirate attacks as well as make the seas around Seychelles safer for tourists.

India has stationed military advisors in Mahe and replenishes logistics for military hardware supplied by it.

From The Hindu

India, a safe place for foreign tourists

Toronto, May 21 (PTI) India is fast emerging as Asia’s top spiritual, medical and rural tourism destination and is a safe place for foreign tourists, Tourism Secretary Sujit Banerjee has said.

“India holds a strong appeal for Canadians to explore inexpensive Indian spiritual, cultural heritage and medical tourism,” Banerjee yesterday said at a road show organised by Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Indian Chapter to attract North American tourists.

The road show in which top 12 Indian tour operators participated is aimed at selling India as an exotic place to North Americans to further raise foreign tourist traffic from 5.1 million last year.

Top Canadians tour operators and civil aviation companies have shown keen interest in various Indian tourism products ranging from glimpses of India’s spiritual and cultural heritage, ecotourism, medical tourism, and wild life to rural tourism.

From PTI

Sighting beautiful Asiatic ibex

Ibex crossing the nullah - © Aishwaraya Maheshwari/WWF-India