The National Tourism Awards to honour the best performers in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry during the year 2008-2009 were presented here at a glittering function today. The awards were given away by the Vice President of India, Shri M. Hamid Ansari. Also present during the function were Kumari Selja, Minister of Tourism and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation alongwith Shri Sultan Ahmed, Minister of State for Tourism, tourism ministers from the various states, senior officials from the central and state governments, corporate leaders from the travel, tourism and hospitality industry and other dignitaries.
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India presents National Tourism Awards to various segments of the travel and tourism industry every year. These awards are presented to State Governments / Union Territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organizations in recognition of their performances in their respective fields and also to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism.
Over the years, new categories of awards have been introduced to keep pace with changing trends in the tourism industry and to encourage and acknowledge efforts made for development and promotion of niche tourism segments. This year a new category of Awards has been introduced for “Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination in India”
. This award has been introduced to encourage eco-friendly practices by various civic bodies in cities / towns / villages for the maintenance and upkeep of tourist sites / parks, etc. The objective of the Award is to proactively involve the municipal authorities and to get their commitment towards clean, hygienic and attractive surroundings in cities/towns/villages and to thereby enhance visitor experience. The Civic Management award has been jointly won by Tranquebar in Tamil Nadu and Yanam in Puducherry. Vishakapatnam has also been awarded a special award in this category for green practices.
The states of Rajasthan for best tourism related programs, Andhra Pradesh for best tourism infrastructure, Sikkim for best state from the North East for tourism related program, Kerala for its IT initiatives, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh for their tourism collaterals and Haryana for best maintained tourism friendly monuments have also won awards in different categories. A total of 79 awards were given away during the function. The awards were for the best performing hotels in various star categories, best heritage hotels and best tour operators and travel agents according to their foreign exchange earnings. Also awarded were awards for excellence in tourism publication, tourism film and various other categories of tourism promotion.
The Vice President of India, Shri M Hamid Ansari while congratulating the award winners mentioned that the industry has already shown its resilience in these adverse circumstances and with all stakeholders working together with the active support of the Ministry of Tourism, he was confident that “Incredible India” will emerge as one of the leading tourism destinations in the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Kumari Selja Minister for Tourism and Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation mentioned that Tourism works in synergy with all the stakeholders. The Government primarily plays the role of facilitator and can act as a catalyst for the development and promotion of tourism. It is the Stakeholders who are the driving force in the industry. The facilities and services provided by the travel and hospitality industry contribute to a large extent to the visitor experience. It is, therefore, of utmost importance to ensure that there is no compromise on the quality of facilities and services offered.
[caption id="attachment_9139" align="alignright" width="500" caption="The Vice President, Shri Mohd. Hamid Ansari presented the National Tourism Awards 2008-09"]