The National Tourism Awards 2016-2017 held in New Delhi on September 27 on the occasion of the World Tourism Day witnessed many top honours being conferred to the beautiful North-eastern state Sikkim. The state bagged the most coveted ‘Best State / Union territory: Comprehensive Development of Tourism’ award. The award was being presented by Union minister K J Alphons.
The award citation narrated Sikkim and its achievements in the tourism sector in this way: “Sikkim as a tourism destination has come a long way and has built its reputation as the cleanest safest and one of the most tourists friendly State in India. Sikkim has set new benchmarks for responsible travel in the country.”
The citation further stated that the homestays of the state are contributing a lot in building a sustainable community-based tourism and eco-friendly policies together with adding a new vigour to the virgin Himalayan wilderness that drapes the region’s mountains. The organic farming policy of the state too is being praised and the addition of the new airport will open the door to welcome more tourists to the state.
In addition to Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir and North-east India too won awards on the occasion. A host of other factors like State Governments/Union Territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organizations have won awards in different categories for their unmatchable contribution towards the promotion of tourism industry in the country.
Remarkably, the National Tourism Awards are being given annually since the early 1990s and it chooses particular organizations or people “in recognition of their performance in their respective fields, and also to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism.”
Other states to win top honours are Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa and Rajasthan. Andhra Pradesh won for promoting ‘Andhra Pradesh Tourism’, Kerala came second for comprehensive development of tourism and Rajasthan and Goa shared the third spot jointly. The award ceremony saw a total of 77 awards being presented to the tourism industry stakeholders, state governments, central agencies and individuals.