Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the National Tourism Awards 2017-18 on World Tourism Day in New Delhi today. A total of 76 Awards under various categories were presented. The Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (IC) Shri Prahlad Singh Patel;Secretary-General of United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Mr. ZurabPololikashvili; Tourism Minister of Paraguay Ms. Sofia Montiel De Afara; Tourism Secretary Shri Yogendra Tripathi; DG Tourism Smt. Meenakshi Sharma, senior officers of Ministry of tourism and 82 international delegates were  among those present on the occasion.

Speaking on the occasion, the Vice President Shri M Venkaiah Naidu urged all stake holders of the tourism industry to be especially mindful of their ecological foot print and called for more responsible and sustainable tourism practices. He further urged the people, especially the youth to visit at least 15 tourist destinations within India by 2022 to give boost to domestic tourism, as per the suggestion made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Shri Naidu urged students to undertake ‘Bharat Darshan’ to learn about various facets of India’s culture, heritage, languages and cuisine and enhance their understanding of the unique cultural mosaic of the country. The Vice President also underscored India’s tremendous potential in the field of medical tourism and said that India must leverage its ancient practices of healing such as Ayurveda and Yoga to attract more tourists who seek holistic wellness.

Union Minister of State for Culture & Tourism (IC) expressed his happiness at India being selected as the host country for celebration of World Tourism Day 2019 by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).He congratulated all the awardees and said that we believe in ‘AtithiDevo Bhava’and that is why our tourists are very important for us. He added thatthe Indian government is continuously taking tourist friendly decisions like reduction of E-tourist visa fees, making available an extended  e-tourist visa, reduction in GST on hotel tariffs being some of the recent important ones which will go a long way in giving boost to tourism in the country.

The Union Minister said that tourism sector is a revenue generating sector. But apart from revenue, we also want to change the perception. He added that in the last five years India has improved its position tremendously in world travel and competitiveness index from 65 in 2013 to 34 in 2019. The credit for it goes to the  Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi who has proudly presented India at international  levels as a brand ambassador of the country.

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