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Saudi Arabia May Close Borders to Overseas Hajj Pilgrims for the Second Time

Ibrahim Uz  / Unsplash

Saudi Arabia is considering barring overseas pilgrims from the annual hajj as worries grow about the emergence of new variants. Ibrahim Uz / Unsplash

Skift Take: There’s still time until July 17 for the kingdom to make the call, but with uncertainty around the new Covid variants, it would be unwise.

— Matthew Parsons

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Hilton Glimpses a Recovery in Decimated Conventions and Corp Travel Business

Matti Blume  / Wikimedia

Leisure travel still leads the recovery at Hilton, but business and group travelers are signaling a return to booking rooms. Matti Blume / Wikimedia

Skift Take: If Hilton sees reason to be optimistic around a faster-than-expected travel recovery, that’s a major boost to all hotel companies, especially ones with less exposure to convention and business-transient customers.

— Cameron Sperance

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Nearly Half of U.S. Travelers Plan to Use Travel Advisors Post-Pandemic, Survey Shows

C Watts  / Flickr Commons

A bigger number of U.S. travelers interested in international trips will use travel advisors post-pandemic. C Watts / Flickr Commons

Skift Take: There’s cause for optimism for this at-risk segment of the industry, just as National Travel Advisor Day hits. Travel agencies that are quick to adapt have the potential to capture a new customer base that outlasts the travel recovery years.

— Lebawit Lily Girma

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Majority of Airlines Miss Environmental Efficiency Targets: New Skift Research 🔒

Sylvia Gorajek  / Unsplash

Airplane flying over natural vista in the U.S. Sylvia Gorajek / Unsplash

Skift Take: Fuel efficiency is integral to the bottom line of airline operators. Skift Research found that efficiency improvements fluctuate considerably by year and between companies. Most were unable to achieve efficiency goals set by the industry.

— Wouter Geerts

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Hotel Lenders Rush Back In Even With Growing Labor Shortage Crisis

Engin_Akyurt  / Pixabay

The active hotel lender market is throttling back to pre-pandemic levels. Labor is a different story. Engin_Akyurt / Pixabay

Skift Take: Hotels face massive worker shortages this summer, but investors don’t care and still want to buy up assets. Chalk this up to taking the long view and hoping hotels find a way to win back workers from other industries.

— Cameron Sperance

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Italy to Open to Vaccinated Travelers as Soon as Mid-May, Ahead of European Union

Hard Rock Cafe

The exterior of the Hard Rock Cafe in Venice, Italy. Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said on May 4, 2021, that his country would launch travel passes for vaccinated travelers by mid-May. Hard Rock Cafe

Skift Take: Forza, Italia! Prime Minister Mario Draghi (nicknamed “Super Mario”) said Italy would debut passes for vaccinated travelers by mid-month. But will the nation’s airports be ready to cope with a surge in passengers and new certification-related processing?

— Sean O’Neill

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Best Things to Do on Your Trip to Tirupati

 

If you’ve been to India or live in the country and have still not visited Tirupati, it’s time to get there! There are very few cities or locations that boast of such rich cultural heritage, architectural splendors and amazing festivals.

With its convenient airport, you can take advantage of regular and affordable flights from around India, such as flights from Hyderabad to Tirupati or from any other major city in the country. Famous as one of the most sacred pilgrimage spots within India, every year, thousands of tourists and pilgrims flock to this city located in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

When you do plan a trip to Tirupati, make sure you have sufficient time for the major attractions:

  • Sri Venkateswara Temple – This is a must-see temple in Tirupati, and the ancient temple is dedicated to Lord Sri Venkateswara. Also known as Tirumala Temple or Tirupati Balaji Temple, the Sri Venkateswara Temple is perched at the height of 2799-feet on the seventh peak of Seshachalam.
  • Talakona Waterfall – The Talakona Waterfall is very scenic and the highest waterfall in Andhra Pradesh. You need to trek for about two kilometers to reach the spectacular waterfall that is deep inside the forest. There is a wonderful lush aura around the waterfall during the rainy season.
  • Sri Vari Museum – Located near the Tirupati Venkateswara Temple, the Sri Vari Museum is known as a rich source of Vaishnavism, Traditions of Tirumala, and Hinduism and boasts thousands of historical and archaeological items.

  • Chandragiri – A major heritage site in Andhra Pradesh, Chandragiri is an ancient town that is famous for its magnificent palaces and excellent fort. Built by the Vijayanagara rulers, the castle is fortified by strong walls and is located at a height of about two hundred meters. The palaces and forts are an excellent example of Vijayanagara architecture and are made from brick, stone, and lime mortar.
  • Kapila Teertham – Another popular waterfall in the city, Kapila Teertham is located at the base of Sheshadri Hills, and its water body ends as a pond inside the Kapileswara Swamy temple. The beautiful waterfall is a major pilgrimage spot of Tirupati.
  • Srikalahasti – Known for its historical and religious significance, Srikalahasti is an ancient temple town, and all its temples are dedicated to Lord Shiva, Rahu, and Ketu. The religious significance of Srikalahasti lies in its name and is seen as the abode of Lord Shiva. It is also identified as the Kailash of the South, and this is what makes it one of the popular sites to visit in the city.
  • Deer Park – The Deer Park of Tirupati is maintained by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. Although it is named a deer park, one can enjoy observing several other species other than deers as the park is known for its impressive range of flora and fauna. There is immense nature surrounding the park, and it is a nice way to escape the bustle of the city and enjoy a peaceful afternoon.

Apart from the above main attractions of the city, there are many other places of interest near and around Tirupati. For example, travelers can visit Tiruchanoor Temple, which is just about 5 km from Tirupati. Some other temples around the city include Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple, Sri Veda Narayanaswami Temple, Sri Venugopalaswami Temple, and many sub-temples too. The Navratra and Dussehra festivals are also very popular here, and one can visit the city during those times to enjoy the colorful and festive celebrations.

 

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