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Travel News - April 2009

The road up to Rohtang Pass will be cleared for traffic by April 10

The road up to Rohtang Pass will be cleared for traffic by April 10

The tourists have to wait for some more days as Lahaul valley, the main connector of Manali- Rohtang Pass, will be cleared and made accessible by the 10th of April. I.R. Mathur, the Chief Engineer of 38 Border Road Task Force said that the snow clearance operation is being carried out on the Manali-Leh road from Manali to Rohtang Pass by GREF and insisted that this is possible only if the weather conditions continue to be on the favourable side. He added that the road up to Rohtang Pass will be cleared by April and a concerted effort will be given to clear the rest of the remaining distance and connect Leh-Ladakh to Manali by May.

This came as good news for the travellers, especially for those who are planning a trip to these destinations during the summer. Border Road Task Force has been provided with upgraded machines in order to make the process of snow clearance effective and less time consuming. Commander S.K. Doon declared that the thickness of the road around seven-kilometre to Marhi would be increased. Moreover, the surfacing of the 10-kilometre road at the Rohtang top would be laid this year. While talking before the media, he added that other challenges for the BRTF are the 74-kilometre stretch from Stingri to Rohtang Pass, 162 kilometres from Baralacha to Patseo and the 40-kilometres road from Rohtang Pass to Manali.

Rajdhani Passengers will soon get hotel booking facilities

Rajdhani Passengers will soon get hotel booking facilities

Those who are travelling on Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express would soon have the privilege to book a hotel while booking their railway ticket with Eastern Railway. This will be effective only for those hotels in New Delhi tied up with the Eastern railway. ER General Manager Deepak Krishan told reporters that Rajdhani passengers can now get their hotel booked along with their railway tickets. While Eastern Railways have tied up with Ginger Hotel in New Delhi, ER officials are also trying to tie-up with other economy hotels and retiring rooms in other destinations also. Krishan also added that tie-ups with luxury hotels can also be thought of provided the passengers demand so.

When asked about the impact of reduction of airfare and lowering of ATF prices on train fares, Krishan said that since fares of the Rajdhani had not been increased when there was a rise in airfare in the past, passengers are expected to show some loyalty. While asserting that constant surveys were carried out to find out the demands of the passengers, he added that some want Rajdhani to leave here at 7.00 pm so that it reaches New Delhi at 8.00 am the next day. He assured that it is possible to meet the demand at almost zero cost only if the state governments come forward to help.

India is only behind Thailand as a preferred destination for medical tourism

India is only behind Thailand as a preferred destination for medical tourism

A study conducted by healthcare researchers Deloitte for 2 years, has revealed the fact that India spends 12% of its GDP on health and comes second only to Thailand when it comes to take care of foreign patients. India ranks second in medical tourism with around 4.5 lakh patients from other countries have been treated in Indian hospitals in 2007. Thailand tops the list recording an influx of 12 lakh foreign patients in the same year. The research suggests that there has always been an inflow of patients from neighbouring countries and West Asia, but recently, it has recorded a significant rise in patients from the US, and Europe.

According to Vishal Bali, CEO of Wockhardt Group of Hospitals, apart from cheap treatment cost, especially during recession, other factors like recognized Indian clinical and paramedical professionals, JCI accreditation of some hospitals and international standard of treatment have contributed equally for the growth of medical tourism in the country. Intervention of third party through health insurance has also boosted medical tourism. While Thailand has revolutionized it medical tourism through cosmetic surgery, India’s success depends on cardiac, neurological or orthopaedic sectors. Treatment cost is lowest in India incurring 20% of the average cost in the US.

Mountain biking expedition organized in Sikkim

Sikkim is the first Indian state that organizes mountain biking expedition as the state hosted 2nd Kanchenjunga International Mountain biking expedition that concluded on March 30. The event saw around 50 cyclists participating from different countries like, United States, Nepal and Canada. The expedition was organized by the State Tourism Department in collaboration with Sikkim Tourism Development Corporation Limited. This 10-day long expedition was challenging fro the participants as they were required to cover 495-kilometer within that stipulated time. Teams from Army and Air Force also participated in the expedition along with four women participants.

According to Kazi Sherpa, an official of Department of Tourism in Sikkim, international participation will certainly boost adventure tourism in Sikkim. Sherpa also added that there has been a considerable increase in the number of participants this year. In 2008, there were twenty-two participants. Tim, one of the participants from US said that he took part in the expedition to explore more of India. The participants admitted that the hills of Sikkim are really toned for such competitions making it more challenging. The expedition came to an end on March 30.

Domestic Airlines in India offering economy airfares for the summer

Major domestic airlines in India are geared up to slash down the airfares for the coming summer months. Travelling around India during the summer will be more feasible by flight than to avail long-distance trains. Many domestic airlines are offering tempting discounts on tickets if they are booked more than 30 days prior to the journey date. This facility is available for those who will be travelling within June 30, 2009. It is to be noted that Jet Airways charges only 2,600 rupees including taxes for travelling from Mumbai to Delhi. On the other hand, a ticket for AC 2-tier on the Rajdhani Express train costs 2,000 rupees. The travellers will also be benefited by the convenience of booking flight tickets as reserving train tickets becomes difficult during the holiday season.

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