Foreign tourists can now visit Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur without a special permit, officials said on April 23. People from Pakistan, China and Afghanistan, however, will not be allowed to visit these locations.From April 1, 2018 foreign tourists will be able to visit the three Northeastern states– Mizoram, Nagaland, and Manipur in India without the Protected Area Permit (PAP). It has been halted for five years, reported PTI.Earlier, areas falling between the Inner line and the International Border of some states were declared as protected areas where foreign tourists were not allowed. Citizens of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China are, however, still not permitted to enter any of the current and previously restricted areas.Until April 1, 2018 foreign tourists were not allowed to enter whole of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, besides parts of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir. Some parts of Sikkim fall under the protected area regime while others under the restricted area, as per the report.Even Indian citizens have to apply for an inner line permit to visit the protected states. It is a temporary travel document to enter Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram. “A review is underway to lift the PAP from other areas too,” another official was quoted as saying in the report.The government had earlier allowed foreign tourists for a period of one year from Dec. 20, 2010 into Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, subject to some conditions.In other northeastern states such as Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, the home ministry either removed Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) or diluted it recently. In Meghalaya, the union home ministry removed the AFSPA and in Arunachal Pradesh reduced it to eight police stations.“AFSPA was totally withdrawn from all areas of Meghalaya from April 1. In Arunachal, it is down from 16 police stations to eight,” the official said, according to IANS.The Act was extended by another six months earlier in April in three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh–Tirap, Longding and Changlang–which border Myanmar and specific areas under eight police stations of seven other districts bordering Assam. AFSPA is present in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) but Assam and Manipur governments have the right to revoke it now.The government was earlier mulling relaxing the Restricted Area Permit provisions for some areas for foreign tourists to promote tourism in these places. “Discussions are on with the state governments to relax the Restricted Area Permit provisions for some areas for foreign tourists,” Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju had said earlier. Related Itemsforeign tourists in IndiaTourism
Iceland Travel, a leading DMC in Iceland has appointed Blue Square Consultants as its Sales and Marketing representative in India.Since its operations in 1937, Iceland Travel as a DMC has offered diverse product categories that will suit Indian agents, such as escorted tours, day tours and self-drive tours in Iceland. Iceland as a destination is gaining popularity in India because of its vast and varied landscape filled with volcanoes, glaciers, black sand beaches, lava fields and remote fjords.Jakobina Gudmundsdottir, Director of Sales & Marketing, Iceland Travel, said, “Recently, we have witnessed an increase in Indian enquiries to travel to Iceland. To foster this growth, we needed to have a strong representation in India. We felt that Blue Square Consultants is the apt partner to have in India because of their excellent track record; highly professional team and undisputed knowledge of Indian travel trade and travelers.”“At Blue Square Consultants, our emphasis has always been to associate with reputed and quality clients and we have achieved this once again with our recent alliance with Iceland Travel. We are confident that our association with Iceland Travel will not only be beneficial for them but also for Iceland as a destination as it has something new to offer to Indian travellers,” said Lubaina Sheerazi, COO, Blue Square Consultants.