The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Tourism Awards 2013-14 at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.
The President congratulated the award winners and said that these exceptional individuals and institutions who have been felicitated today have distinguished themselves through their dedication in promoting India as a tourist destination. He said that broader social contacts between tourists and receiving communities go a long way in enhancing mutual understanding, tolerance, and awareness between peoples.
The President said that with the growth of the Indian economy and the increase in disposable income of the people, we may expect tourist inflows to remain on a positive trajectory in the years to come. We must pay focussed attention to the building of a high quality tourism infrastructure in the country. The launch of two initiatives – Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive) – aiming at integrated development of circuits and pilgrim centres would go a long way in achieving this objective. He emphasized that the safety mechanisms that we create, the precautions that we put in place must reassure our guests – so that they never have to be apprehensive about their personal safety or that of their belongings.
Highlighting the contribution of tourism to the economy, the Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge), Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the country earned Rs1,23,000 Crore rupees of foreign exchange through tourism last year . It contributes 6.8% to the GDP. Tourism, he said is an ‘Industry of Smiles’ and the Government gives top priority to Swachhta, Suraksha and hospitality as the 3 pillars of tourism promotion in the country. Highlighting the recent steps taken by the Government, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that Welcome Booklet is being distributed at the International Airports, giving important information including DOs and Don’ts to the foreign travellers. Similarly, 24X7 helpline has been set up which is currently functional in Hindi and English and will soon be functional in 12 International languages.
Similarly, started in November last year, e-Tourist Visa facility has been extended to 113 countries in such a short span of time. Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the achievementsmade by the tourism industry could not have been possible without the contribution of the private stakeholders. The work done by the stakeholders has not only generated revenue but also given employment and contributed to women empowerment.
The Secretary, Tourism, Shri Vinod Zutshi congratulated all awardees. He said that the Tourism Awards will go a long way to catalyze & incentivize the tourism sector in India and encourage the stakeholders to give their best performance.
The National Tourism Awards are given in several categories including Comprehensive Development of Tourism, Best Rural Tourism Project, Best Heritage City, Best Hotels, Awards to Inbound Tour Operators and Travel Agents for their outstanding work, awards in the field of publicity/promotion and overseas marketing, use of information technology for tourism among others.
IndianBureaucracy.com wishes the National Tourism Awards 2013-14 Awardees its hearty congratulations !