Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have been jointly given the award for the First Prize in the category of “Best State/UT: Comprehensive Development of Tourism.” The second and third prizes in this category have gone to Kerala and Gujarat respectively.
The National Tourism Awards were given by Mr. Shashi Tharoor, Minister of State for Human Resource Development at a glittering Award Ceremony in the national capital today. Jammu & Kashmir was awarded in the category of Best State/UT under the North-East and J&K Region.
Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, UP won the prize for the Best Civic Management of a tourist destination in Category ‘A’ city.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Mr.Hugh & Ms. Colleen Gantzer, who are an Indian, writer-photographer, husband-and-wife team. They launched the first travel column in a national daily in India in August, 1977.
The Lifetime Achievement Award in the Hospitality Sector was given to the historians Mr. Aman Nath and Mr. Francis Wacziarg for their pioneering work in creating international consciousness on the heritage of Shekhavati and also restoring some 30 properties across 10 States in India.
The best Tourism Film Award went to M.P.State Tourism Development Corporation TV Commercial “Rang Hai”. Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad was awarded for the Best Airport (Class ‘X’ cities). Department of Tourism, Govt. of Kerala was awarded for Most Innovative use of Information Technology/Website/Portal. Bangalore city Railway Station was awarded for Best Tourist Friendly Railway Station. Andhra Pradesh won the prize for best Film Promotion-friendly State.
M/s Yatra Online Pvt. Ltd was awarded as the Best Domestic Tour Operator (Rest of India) category. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, won the award for the Best Hotel in Five-Star Deluxe Category while the Best Heritage Hotel in Grand category went to Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur. ITC Maurya, New Delhi, won the award for Best Eco-friendly hotel. Ms. Arti Thapa, Food Craft Institute, Hoshiarpur, won the award for Best Lady Chef.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Shashi Tharoor said that tourism was a vital segment to leverage our culture and our progress and earn precious foreign exchange. He said that the huge variety of tourism opportunities in India as well as the variety of cuisine and cultural experience that India offered made our country “truly incredible”. Mr. Tharoor said that increasing the tourist inflow was a challenge considering the fact that a small country like France with a population just around 5% of India’s population was able to attract 83 million tourists which is almost 12 times of the foreign tourist inflow in India. He outlined the number of steps that have been taken to facilitate the entry of tourists to India. He expressed the hope that this would enable the share of India in the global tourism to increase from the present 0.6% to 1% in the year 2016.
The National Tourism Awards are given annually by the Ministry of Tourism to felicitate outstanding work both in the public sector and the private sector under different fields associated with tourism.