Agro-tourism has become a fast-catching trend these days, from mountains to the deserts, plateaus to the plains, for a country like India, with diverse terrains throughout the land, spanning the ruralscape is yet another travel mania. What with the busy urban culture we tend to be a part of, Agri-tours offer an escape to the tranquil countryside, away from all the chaos & commotion to greener, healthier spaces connecting to oneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s soil & roots. With the developing industry, there is a range of tours to choose from Ã¢â‚¬â€œ be it Farm & Village tours, Farm holidays & living, Rural exploration, Eco-tourism or specialized theme based ones like Animal breeding, Wildlife exploration, Agro-Institute tours, Wine plantation tours, Dairy Farming among countless others.
Gujarat bagged the top award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, besides winning in three other categories, while Madhya Pradesh was ranked first in six different segments of National Tourism Awards for 2013-14.
President Pranab Mukherjee presented National Tourism Awards in different segments of the travel, tourism and hospitality industry for the year 2013-14 at an event here which was attended by Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma, senior ministry officials and representatives of states and various stakeholders of the sector.
Madhya Pradesh tourism bagged a total six awards in different categories including ‘Best Maintained and Disabled-Friendly Monument’ for Bhojpur Temple. It also got award for tourist-friendly railway station at Habibganj.
The Tourism Ministry annually presents National Tourism Awards to States and Union Territories, classified hotels, heritage hotels, approved travel agents, tour operators and tourist transport operators, individuals and other private organisations in recognition of their performance in their respective fields.
Besides bagging the Best State Award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, Gujarat tourism also got three more awards – Best Rural Tourism Project for Rann Utsav, Best Tourism Promotion Publicity Material for ‘Gujarat’s 50 Golden Destinations’ coffee table book, and Best Film Promotion Friendly State.
Speaking on the occasion, Sharma said, “India has got vast scope of tourism as we have eco-tourism, desert tourism, hill tourism, rural tourism and many other schemes.”
He, however, said safety and security is of paramount importance for the tourism sector as any incident related to safety and security of a tourist is a setback for the sector.
The Tourism Minister said the government has launched a tourist helpline 1363 which will soon have facility in 12 more foreign languages like Russian and Japanese. Currently the helpline operates in Hindi and English only.
Tourism Secretary Vinod Zutshi highlighted the ‘Atithi Devo Bhavo’ theme, and said India still has a vast untapped areas which are of great tourism potential and the country can be made the most preferred destination.
While there is incessant buzz over the probable impacts global warming could have on our planet Earth, environmental experts and advocates from across the globe have been pouring concerted efforts to take control of the situation. Environmentalists are busy devising ways to help people Ã¢â‚¬Ëœgo greenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ in almost every aspect of their life. And tourism industry is no exception to this at all. Keeping this in mind the concept of Ecological Tourism, or simply Eco-Tourism, was brought in a few years back. Despite its immense utility, Eco-tourism is still into its nascent stages and only a few travel companies across the world have employed it as of now. Shikhar Travels takes the pride in being one of the forerunners who have championed the cause of Eco-tourism in India.
Eco-tourism, as the term itself suggests, includes implementing tourism practices that can help in preserving environment and natural luxuries, as well as fostering cultural integrity of the indigenous people. The International Eco-tourism Society has defined some guidelines that tourists need to follow in order to ensure maximum touring pleasure while causing no or minimal adverse impacts to the place they are visiting. Catching on the same, Shikhar Group of Companies has launched Shikhar Eco-Foundation. The first project of the Eco-Foundation is based in Agoda village of Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand, on the picturesque Dodital trek trail. We have already forged partnerships with the Uttarakhand Forest Ministry and Dodital Eco Vikas Samiti to carry out eco-friendly tourism activities in the region. As a part of our Eco-tourism drive, we have already conducted a two-day program for Ã¢â‚¬Å“Lodge Owners and Trekking GuidesÃ¢â‚¬Â in August 2010, in which we imparted training on ways to keep the Dodital trek clean and green. We issued guidelines to help the lodge owners develop eco-friendly lodges as well as planting saplings in their surroundings.
We owe to the community where we work, and this is very much evident in our efforts. In addition to preserving flora and fauna, providing employment opportunities to the natives and tendering due respect to the local cultures also feature at the top in Shikhar Eco-FoundationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s priority-list. Furthermore, we also encourage the use of alternate fuels in place of wood to save the purity of the environment. Not only this, Shikhar Eco-Foundation is also promoting the use of solar energy for electricity generation, which is by far less polluting and highly economical than its thermal counterpart.
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s high time you should start playing a proactive role in promoting the going green drive. Come explore the pristine and natural sites in India while serving the humanity with Shikhar Eco-Foundation.
For more, please visit www.shikhar.com