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Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and her two children were among the first visitors to Corbett National Park when it opened up for visitors after a break. Along with Corbett in Uttarakhand, Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh has also opened for wildlife lovers, visitors and tourists. On the first day after opening, the famous Corbett was booked up till 30 Nov, with an estimated 140 tourists reaching the park on the first day. The park is known for elephant sightings at Dhakala and Ram Ganga river, where crocodiles are also a big draw. — IANS

Kolkata will get on the tourism radar with its first helium balloon rides early next year. It will become India’s second city after Ahmedabad to offer helium rides, according to an official of the Kolkata Improvement Trust that is partnering with Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority for the initiative. Filled with around 6,500 cu. m. of helium, the balloon rides will take off from a special park near Calcutta Rowing Club. The 7,000 sq. m. park will have ticket and food kiosks. Tourists will get a bird’s-eye view of the city and its edifices from a height of 400 feet while riding in the gondola that will have a capacity of 20 to 30 passengers. — IANS

Sri Lanka has been listed among the five new emerging travel destinations by the World Travel Market’s industry report. The other countries are Mexico, Malaysia, Indonesia and Argentina. Three key factors favoured Sri Lanka — its re-emergence after the civil war, its infrastructure investments and beautiful locations. The country’s tourism sector has been booming since the end of a three-decade war, and the government has targeted one million arrivals for 2012. — IANS

More than two million Cubans recently celebrated the 493rd anniversary of the founding of their capital. San Cristobal de La Habana, as it is officially called, was the fifth village founded on the island by Spanish settlers in 1519. The founding was marked with a mass conducted by Spanish priest Bartolome de las Casas under a mahogany tree near the coast. A neoclassic building called Templete or small temple stands on the exact spot and is visited by thousands of Cubans and foreigners each year on the eve of the city’s anniversary. According to tradition, visitors walk three times around the tree while casting coins at its base to get a wish fulfilled. The city’s name Havana is derived from native Indian chief Habaguanex, who helped Spanish settlers establish their new village. — Xinhua

Known for being one of the favourite nesting spots for the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle, Odisha has decided to use the annual phenomenon to promote tourism. Some of the ideas it is looking at include raising watch-towers and supplying binoculars so that tourists can watch the turtles. However, care will have to be taken to ensure that tourism does not disturb the creatures or their nests. The stretch of coastline between Ekakulanasi and Gahiramatha is the world’s largest nesting ground of the Olive Ridley, and Odisha has 50 per cent of the world population of these turtles. — Travel Biz Monitor

In order to fill up seats during the lean January-March season, Air India has announced promotional fares for more than 325 cities across the country, effective between January 16 and March 31, 2013. Sales are open from 19 November to 21 November, 2012. Under this scheme, one-way fares, inclusive of all taxes, range from Rs. 1,799 to Rs. 4,199. The Chennai-Delhi fare, for example, will be available for Rs. 3,699, while Chennai-Mumbai and Chennai-Kolkata will be available for Rs. 2,699.

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