The President gives away National Tourism Awards 2013-14

The President gives away National Tourism Awards 2013-14

President Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Tourism Awards 2013-14 at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi recently.

Speaking on the occasion, the President congratulated the award winners and said that these exceptional individuals and institutions who have been felicitated today have distinguished themselves through their dedication in promoting India as a tourist destination. He said that broader social contacts between tourists and receiving communities go a long way in enhancing mutual understanding, tolerance, and awareness between peoples. India offers one of the best tourism experiences in the world, he added.

The President said that with the growth of the Indian economy and the increase in disposable income of the people, we may expect tourist inflows to remain on a positive trajectory in the years to come. We must pay focussed attention to the building of a high quality tourism infrastructure in the country. The launch of two initiatives – Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD (Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive) – aiming at integrated development of circuits and pilgrim centres would go a long way in achieving this objective. He emphasized that the safety mechanisms that we create, the precautions that we put in place must reassure our guests – so that they never have to be apprehensive about their personal safety or that of their belongings.

Highlighting the contribution of tourism to the economy, the Union Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Culture (Independent Charge), Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that the country earned Rs1,23,000 Crore rupees of foreign exchange through tourism last year . It contributes 6.8% to the GDP. Tourism, he said is an ‘Industry of Smiles’ and the Government gives top priority to Swachhta, Suraksha and hospitality as the 3 pillars of tourism promotion in the country. Highlighting the recent steps taken by the Government, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that Welcome Booklet is being distributed at the International Airports, giving important information including Dos and Don’ts to the foreign travellers. Similarly, 24X7 helpline has been set up which is currently functional in Hindi and English and will soon be functional in 12 International languages.

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