Ever since the days of old travelers, India has always been a tourist destination and a travelerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s delight. Its unique diversity and its rich history and culture have attracted growing number of visitors to the country. Over the years, the tourism industry of Ã¢â‚¬Å“Incredible IndiaÃ¢â‚¬Â has made impressive headway in opening up its destination galore across its expanse to visitors. And the Tourism Ministry has been making continuous efforts, including awards presentation, to promote the industry keeping in view all aspects of it. The presentation of National Tourism Awards began in 1990Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, and since then the ministry has been giving away national awards every year to various segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry to support, promote and boost the growth of the sector.
The awards are presented to state governments and union territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organizations in appreciation and recognition of their performance in their respective fields and to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism.
Every year, the awards categories are reviewed with new categories being added to recognize excellence in diverse fields, in tune with the requirements of the changing times. Some of the new awards are:
Best Civic Management of a Tourist Destination in India: This category of award was introduced in 2010 to encourage eco-friendly practices by various civic bodies in cities, towns, villages for the maintenance and upkeep of tourist sites, parks, etc. The objective of the award was to proactively involve the municipal authorities and to get their commitment towards clean, hygienic and attractive surroundings in cities, towns, villages and to thereby enhance visitorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s experience.
Tour Operators Promoting Niche segments: This award was introduced in 2011, as a part of the effort to diversify IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s tourism products by developing and promoting new niche segments, to attract different categories of tourists with diverse interests and to promote India as a year-round destination.
Best Maintained and Disabled Friendly Monument: People with different abilities and older persons are now becoming a growing group of consumers of travel, sports and other leisure-oriented products and services. In an effort to tap the potential of this group for promotion of tourist destinations in the country, the Tourism Ministry has taken an initiative to make tourist destinations barrier-free.
Best Responsible Tourism Project: The ministry also has the specific agenda to promote tourism in the country in a responsible and sustainable manner. To encourage accessible and responsible tourism in the country, the government has instituted the award for best responsible tourism project.
Best Heritage City and Best Heritage Walk: IndiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cities are repositories of its rich heritage and culture. The monuments and other cultural manifestations of the city contribute to the promotion of that city as a tourist destination. In recognition of it, the two awards were introduced in 2012.
Most Film Promotion Friendly State/UT: In recent years, the medium and dynamics of cinema have grown and emerged as a powerful tool for the development and promotion of places and destinations. Several destinations have gained by being the venue / location of popular cinema. Recognising the importance of this medium, the ministry has instituted a national tourism award for the film-friendly states and union territories.