NEW DELHI (TIP): President Pranab Mukherjee, March 18, presented National Tourism Awards for 2011-12 in New Delhi. Speaking on the occasion, Union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi said the Tourism Industry has immense potential to increase tourism arrivals. “For this, we need to constantly monitor trends and re-invent our products for the marketplace”, he added. Referring to the safety of tourists, the Minister said a code of conduct for Safe and Honorable Tourism has been adopted by the Ministry and stakeholders.
He said the code has been incorporated in the guidelines governing the approval of various categories of travel trade and related service providers as well as for the classification of various categories of accommodation including hotels. Chiranjeevi said, “The objective of the Code is to follow internationally accepted best practices of safe tourism applicable to both tourists and local residents giving special emphasis to safety of women and children”. The Tourism Minister said his ministry was working towards the electronic delivery of more than half a dozen services online; to enable anyone desirous of visiting India from any part of the world plan their trip to India and make actual bookings from the comfort of their home.
He said, “To provide roundthe- clock information to international tourists, the Ministry is also setting up a tourism information line which would be a multi lingual helpline in nine world languages”. Chiranjeevi said this year we have come out with a very important paradigm shift in our strategy to promote India within the country and abroad. He said “The ‘Go Beyond’ campaign focuses on promoting lesser known destinations to domestic as well as international tourists. The other campaign, themed as “Find what you Seek”, targets the international tourists who imagine a need and find its realization in India.
In the short span of four months our campaign has won international accolades”. Chiranjeevi said the Ministry of Tourism continues its holistic and integrated approach to marketing, branding and advertising that is designed to bring more visitors to our country. The Minister congratulated the awardees and expressed the hope that together we will achieve our target of being a world tourism destination in the near future. Andhra Pradesh has bagged the best state award for comprehensive development of tourism in the rest of India category of National Tourism Award 2011-12.
The Best Heritage city award has gone to Warangal(AP). Amritsar Heritage Walk and Delhi Heritage Walk have been declared joint winner of the best Heritage Walk Award. Every year the categories of awards are reviewed with new categories being added to recognize excellence in diverse fields, in accordance with the requirements of changing times.
It is an ongoing Endeavour of the Ministry to diversify the tourism products of the country by developing and promoting new niche segments, so as to attract different categories of tourists with diverse interests and to promote India as a year – round destination. In keeping with this thrust of the Ministry, new categories of awards for “Medical Tourism Facilities” and for “Tour Operators Promoting Niche segments” were introduced in 2011. In an attempt to encourage States and Union Territories to adopt effective mechanisms for maintaining cleanliness at tourist destinations, a new category of award for “Best State : Campaign Clean India” was introduced in 2012. New categories of awards for “Best Heritage City” and “Best Heritage Walk” were also introduced in 2012.
Recognizing the importance of Cinema as a powerful tool for the development and promotion of the destinations, the Ministry has instituted a National Tourism Award for “Best Tourism Film”. The Tourism Ministry has also announced special National Tourism Award for Mr. Yann Martel, author of the Book “Life of Pi”, for promoting India (Puducherry and Munnar) through the film. The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India annually presents National Tourism Awards to various segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. These awards are being given since the early 1990s and 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 performance in their respective fields and also to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism.