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  1. ePassports to start by 2016 06-01-2015
     
    The ePassports are expected to be started by 2016 in India. “We are going ahead and are in the process of tendering. By 2015-16 we should be able to achieve e-passport,” Muktesh K Pardeshi, Joint Secretary (PSP) and Chief Passport Officer, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
     
    These passports, known as biometric or digital passports, will have an embedded microprocessor chip.
     
    India is aiming at 20 per cent growth in passport issuing this year, Pardeshi said.
     
    Kerala topped among the states with 10 lakh applications received and processed while Malappuram registered maximum applications among districts in the country.
     
    During January to December 2014, 1.01 crore applications for passport and related services were processed by the MEA. While 87.03 applications for passport and related services had been received, 84.69 lakh passports and related documents had been issued through the Passport Seva System, Pardeshi added. The government is expected to earn a revenue of about Rs. 2000 crore by March this year by issuance of passports as compared to 2013-14 fiscal when the revenue was Rs. 1,800 crore, he said.
     

     

    Source: TourismBreakingNews.com

     

  2. Situation Update: Thailand Political Developments 20-05-2014
     

     

    Issued at Bangkok at 09.30 hrs. (GMT+7) on 20 May 2014
    Further to our latest update released yesterday afternoon, there has been a new development on the current political situation in Bangkok. The Royal Thai Army declared martial law that covers the entire Thailand, effective from 03.00 hrs. today.
    This is not a coup, according to the army statement. The martial law has been invoked to restore peace and order for people from all sides. In the announcement, the army told the public not to panic and to live their lives as normal.
    There is currently no curfew in place in Bangkok or any other tourist destinations in Thailand. Local residents and international visitors can continue to travel within Bangkok and other destinations in the country as usual.
    The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is closely monitoring the situation, and would like to inform tourists and the tourism industry that all concerned public and private agencies will exercise utmost efforts to ensure tourist’s convenience. All public transport and tourist attractions, including airports, tourist sites and shopping malls, are currently open and operating as normal.
    Meanwhile, the situation at the rally sites of both anti- and pro-government groups in Bangkok remains normal.
    The anti-government groups’ rally sites are situated in areas surrounding Government House – at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue and Chamai Maruchet Bridge on Phitsanulok Road – and at Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road as well as at the Democracy Monument on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue (a camping site).
    The pro-government group’s rally site is on Aksa Road in Bangkok’s western outskirts.
    Tourists visiting the kingdom are advised to be vigilant and avoid rally sites and demonstration marches, as well as areas where crowds may gather.
    Roads in Bangkok’s areas where the protests are taking place may experience heavy traffic or a temporary closure due to large crowds gathering and blockage of traffic lane by the protesters’ rally activities.
    Despite traffic disruptions on certain roads in some small parts of Bangkok due to the current political demonstrations and the army’s movements, life in the most parts of the Thai capital and throughout Thailand continues as usual. All public transport and tourist attractions, including airports, tourist sites and shopping malls, are currently open and operating normally.
    Bangkok is a large city and so it is possible for local residents and international visitors to avoid the demonstration sites and rally routes. Traffic in the most parts of Bangkok is moving normally as almost all roads and expressways are not affected by the demonstrations.
    All major tourist attractions in the Thai capital, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace and the Temple of Dawn, are open normally. Tourists can visit all attractions using the usual means of transport, including buses, vans and car transfers by tour companies, taxis, the Skytrain, the subway or the boat and ferry service.
    Businesses, including banks, petrol and gas stations, hotels, spas, restaurants, entertainment venues, cinemas, convention centres, shopping malls, superstores, convenient stores, pharmacies, hospitals and the like are open and operating normally. Telephone both landline and mobile and Internet services are available 24/7 as usual.
    All airports in Bangkok and throughout Thailand are open and operating normally.
    Tourists with flights arriving in Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang International Airports) and wish to see Thailand’s wealth of cultural and natural attractions outside of the Thai capital are recommended to make use of the many daily domestic flights, as well as bus and car transfers, to get to other popular destinations, such as, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Khon Kaen and Sukhothai.
     

     

    Source: Thailand Tourism Authority

     

  3. Oral Polio Vaccine certificate requirement 08-02-2014
     

    Further to our earlier communication regarding the Oral Polio Vaccine certificate requirement, please find more information on the same:

     

    1. At departures, WHO will have two counters for administrating the OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine). They will also issue certificates for the same
    2. On arrival, they will have three counters for administrating the OPV

     

    Initially, they will be administratingthe OPV polio doses on arrival without quarantine for those who will arrive without it, but March onwards they would be quarantining guests without the vaccination.

     

    Source: Dr. Shivadikar (Head of WHO, Mumbai)

     

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