Kashmir Plans Safaris

SRINAGAR ~ Where rebels once fought deadly gun battles with soldiers in Indian Kashmir, officials are now planning wildlife safaris, reflecting a sharp drop in violence.

Trips through grasslands and rocky outcrops – scene of many clashes between Indian forces and Islamic rebels – will give visitors a chance to observe nature “close-up,” senior tourism official Sarmad Hafiz said.

The first safaris will start by June in Dachigam wildlife sanctuary, 22 kilometers outside summer capital Srinagar, Hafiz said.

Cambodia, Qatar in Flight Deal

PHNOM PENH ~ Cambodia and Qatar have established direct flights aimed at promoting tourism between the Middle East and the tiny Southeast Asian nation, officials said.

The agreement was inked by Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who was on an official two-day visit to Cambodia last week, government spokesman Khieu Kanharith said.

No date has been set for the start of air services between Doha and Phnom Penh, said Mao Havannal, chief of Cambodia’s Civil Aviation Authority, adding that experts from both countries were studying potential flight schedules.

China ‘Bans Multi-Entry Visas’

HONG KONG ~ China has stopped issuing multiple-entry visas until after the Olympic Games, travel agents said this week, raising concerns among firms with business interests on the mainland.

“At the beginning of last week, we were no longer able to get any multiple-entry visas for anyone,” Daryl Bending, from Concorde Travel in Hong Kong, said.

“The main reason is to do with the Olympics, and we expect that after the Olympics things will return to normality,” he said.

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