The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, today presented the National Tourism Awards 2017-18 on World Tourism Day in New Delhi. A total of 76 awards were presented in different categories. Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture (IC) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel; Secretary-General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Mr ZurabPololikashvili; Minister of Tourism of Paraguay Sofia Montiel De Afara; Secretary of Tourism Shri Yogendra Tripathi; DG Tourism Smt. Among those current was Meenakshi Sharma, senior officials of the Ministry of Tourism and 82 global delegates.
On this occasion, Vice-President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu encouraged all stakeholders in the tourism industry to pay particular attention to their ecological footprint and called for more active and sustainable tourism methods. He also encouraged individuals, particularly young people, to visit at least 15 tourist destinations in India by 2022 in order to stimulate domestic tourism, as suggested by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Shri Naidu encouraged learners to undertake’ Bharat Darshan’ to know about the different facets of Indian culture, heritage, dialects and cuisine and to improve their knowledge of the distinctive culture of India.
The Vice President also underscored India’s enormous potential in the field of medical tourism and said that India must leverage its ancient healing methods, such as Ayurveda and Yoga, to attract more visitors looking for holistic well-being.
The Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (IC) expressed his gratitude at having been chosen by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) as the host nation for World Tourism Day 2019. He congratulated all the awardees and said that we believe in’ Atithi Devo Bhava’ and that is why our guests are very essential to us. He added that the Indian government is continuously taking tourist-friendly decisions such as reducing the E-tourist visa fee, making available an extended e-tourist visa, reducing the GST on hotel tariffs being some of the most important recent ones that will go a long way to boost tourism in the country.
The Union Minister said that the tourism industry is a revenue-generating industry. But apart from revenue, we also want to alter perceptions. He added that over the last five years, India has significantly enhanced its place in the world travel and competitiveness index from 65 in 2013 to 34 in 2019. The credit goes to Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, who proudly introduced India at the global level as the country’s brand ambassador.
Later in the press briefing, Minister of Tourism Shri Prahlad Singh Patel & Secretary-General of UNWTO Mr. Zurab Pololikashvilian announced that the UNWTO Online Academy will also make accessible tourism associated classes in Hindi on their Academy portal. The Minister of the Union thanked the UNWTO for India in its efforts to encourage tourism. The Minister for Tourism also announced that, from next year onwards, there will be a fresh unique category in the Tourist Awards for individuals showing exceptional behaviour such as saving the life of a tourist in a life-threatening scenario, etc.
Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili said that India is a fast-growing economy and is also implementing the required reforms, all of which offer a lot of possibilities for the tourism industry. That is why more individuals need to be educated and trained rapidly, and UNWTO is pleased to be working with India on tourism-related possibilities.
The Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (IC) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel and Tourism Minister of Paraguay Ms. Sofia Montiel De Afara also signed a Tourism Cooperation Agreement after the event.
On this occasion, a workshop on’ Tourism Jobs of the Future’ was also arranged by UNWTO in partnership with its subsidiary in India, Outlook Responsible Tourism Initiative. The workshop was held to provide a base for small and medium-sized tourism and social entrepreneurs in India to discover how to respond to future trends in tourism, enhance their activities and tourism practices and develop more work possibilities in their societies.
A panel discussion on’ Maximizing the potential of tourism to generate more and better jobs’ was held in contrast to the UNWTO Presentation’ The Future is Now – The UNWTO Online Academy.’
National Tourism Awards are presented annually by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, to different sections of the travel, tourism and hospitality sector. These awards are provided to State Governments / Union Territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, authorized travel agents, tour operators, tour operators, private people and other private organisations in honour of their efficiency in their respective areas. Over the years, the National Tourism Awards have emerged as a valuable recognition.