NEW DELHI: Gujarat bagged the top award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, besides winning in three other categories, while Madhya Pradesh was ranked first in six different segments of National Tourism Awards for 2013-14.
President Pranab Mukherjee presented National Tourism Awards in different segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry for the year 2013-14 at an event here which was attended by Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, senior ministry officials and representatives of states and various stakeholders of the sector.
Madhya Pradesh bagged a total six awards in different categories including ‘Best Maintained and Disabled-Friendly Monument’ for Bhojpur Temple. It also got award for tourist-friendly railway station at Habibganj.
The Tourism Ministry annually presents National Tourism Awards to States and Union Territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organisations in recognition of their performance in their respective fields.
Besides bagging the Best State Award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, Gujarat also got three more awards – Best Rural Tourism Project for Rann Utsav, Best Tourism Promotion Publicity Material for ‘Gujarat’s 50 Golden Destinations’ coffee table book, and Best Film Promotion Friendly State.
Speaking on the occasion, Sharma said, “India has got vast scope of tourism as we have eco-tourism, desert tourism, hill tourism, rural tourism and many other schemes.”
He, however, said safety and security is of paramount importance for the tourism sector as any incident related to safety and security of a tourist is a setback for the sector.
The Tourism Minister said the government has launched a tourist helpline 1363 which will soon have facility in 12 more foreign languages like Russian and Japanese. Currently the helpline operates in Hindi and English only.
‘The Great Backwaters of Kerala’ got award for the best tourism film. Indira Gandhi International Airport got award in the best airport category.
Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi highlighted the ‘Atithi Devo Bhavo’ theme, and said India still has a vast untapped areas which are of great tourism potential and the country can be made the most preferred destination.