States of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have jointly been declared as the best in Comprehensive Development of Tourism at National Tourism awards in India. Awards, considered to be showcase of the Indian tourism industry were given on Tuesday. Two hotels from the city of lakes Udaipur were also among the winners in their categories.
Although the Indian Tourism Minister Chiranjeev stayed away from the awards function because of seemingly larger issue of bifurcation of his state Andhra Pradesh, the Andhra stamp writ large in the Awards. Andhra Pradesh shared the first prize for Best State for Comprehensive Development of Tourism with Madhya Pradesh, while Kerala came second, and Gujarat at the third place. In the Best Heritage City category, Tourism Minister’s own constituency, Tirupati became the winner. Two HMV drivers of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation were picked up for this year’ s Atithidevo Bhava Award for their act of preventing a robbery on a tourist bus. For another year in a row, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad was adjudged the Best Airport in the country. Other accolades for the state included Best maintained and disabled-friendly monument for Golconda Fort Hyderabad; Best Film Promotion Friendly state, and ‘Best standalone convention centre – Leonia International Centre for Exhibition & Conventions, Hyderabad.
Among the states of the North East and Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), the latter once again bagged the award for Best State for Comprehensive Development of Tourism. After a while, Kerala Tourism once again came back well to win few Awards. Kumarakom Grama Panchayat won the Best Civic Management of Tourist Destination in Catetory ‘C’ city, while the Kerala Tourism website became the winner in Most Innovative Information Technology Website category. The Kochi Muziris Biennale Project of Kerala Tourism was adjudged the Most Innovative Tourism Project. Kumbh Mela at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh won the prize for the Best Civic Management of a tourist destination
In National Tourism Award 2012-13, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has also recognised people for their outstanding contribution to the industry through the Life Time Achievement Award. The winners of this Award were Hugh & Colleen Gantzer, writer-photographer couple, who launched the first travel column in a national daily in India in August, 1977, and Aman Nath and Francis Wacziarg, for their pioneering work in creating international consciousness on the heritage of Shekhavati and also restoring some 30 properties across 10 States in India. .
Yatra.com, India’s leading online travel portal won three awards at the India Tourism Awards for its outstanding performance as a tour operator in 2012-13. Organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Yatra.com was felicitated for ‘Outstanding performance as a Domestic Tour Operator (Rest of India)’, ‘Outstanding performance as a Domestic Tour Operator in Jammu and Kashmir’ and ‘Outstanding performance as an Inbound Tour Operator – Cat C’. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, won the award for the Best Hotel in Five-Star Deluxe Category while the Best Heritage Hotel in Grand category went to Fateh Prakash Palace, Udaipur. ITC Maurya, New Delhi, won the award for Best Eco-friendly hotel.
The Indian Ministry of Tourism presents National Tourism Awards to various segments of the travel and tourism industry every year. These awards 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 performances in their respective fields and also to encourage healthy competition with an endeavor to promote tourism.