1. France to Operationalise five-year Schengen visa scheme for its Indian alumni.
President Emmanuel Macron, during his visit to India, announced a goal of hosting 30,000 Indian students in France by 2030. France will initiate the process of the 5-year Schengen Visa for Indian students completing their Master’s degrees in the country. As part of diplomatic initiatives, India will establish a new consulate in Marseille, and France will reciprocate with a French Bureau in Hyderabad.
2. Uttar Pradesh Tourism launches Caravan Tourism to boost family-oriented travel.
UP Tourism has tied up with Motohom to introduce caravan tourism in the state. Tourism and Culture Minister highlighted that this initiative will particularly benefit family- oriented tourism, providing a solution in areas lacking proper accommodation facilities. The Caravan has a capacity for six to eight people, with sleeping arrangements for six individuals.
3. Tamil Nadu Tourism to launch dashboard to monitor the inflow of tourists.
The Tourism Dept is set to launch a centralised real- time dashboard to monitor tourist inflow, both domestic and international. The dashboard will offer real-time data on facilities, status, travel options, attractions, and accommodation, providing visitors with comprehensive information. The system will collect feedback on tourists’ tastes and preferences.
4. Budget 2024: Boost for Tourism.
The MOT’s budget has surged to Rs 2,450 crore in FY 2024-25, a substantial 44.7 per cent increase from the revised figure of Rs 1,692 crore in the current fiscal year. However, there is a sharp 97 per cent reduction in overseas promotion and publicity allocation, including market development assistance, dropping to Rs 3 crore from Rs 95 crore in previous budget.
5. Tripura government announces host of innovative measures to boost tourism.
ourism Minister said that his govt will open 11 homestays in areas around Narikelkunja and four more in Jampui Hills. The state will also have 51 log huts in Chhabimura and plans to beautify the islands of Chittapara, Amulyasadhanpara, Twin Island near Narikelkunja.
6. US to hike visa fees for various categories of non-immigrant visas from April 1.
Non-immigrant visas like the H-1B, L-1 and EB-5 are most popular among Indians. The new H-1B application visa fee, which is form I-129, has been increased from USD 460 to USD 780. L-1 visas have been increases from USD 460 to USD 1,385, and that of EB-5 has jumped from USD 3,675 to USD 11,160.
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