National Tourism Awards will once again go to Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim. The two states have once again been adjudged as the best states in terms of tourist-related infrastructure and for running successful tourism programmes.
Sikkim was judged as the best state in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir region while Madhya Pradesh won the first prize for the rest of India. Andhra Pradesh was adjudged the runner-up while Kerala and Rajasthan won the third prize.
Bhootgarh Rural tourism Project of Punjab won the Best Rural Tourism Project award. Caravan Bus of MP Tourism won the Most Innovative/Unique Tourism Project award. Meira Kumar, Speaker, Lok Sabha was the Chief Guest at the awards presentation ceremony. Bollywood actor Priyanka Chopra was the Guest of Honour.
Madhya Pradesh and Sikkim had won these awards last year as well. The National Tourism Awards are the biggest annual recognition of good work in tourism and honours outstanding performance not just by government departments but also hotels, restaurants, tour operators, tourism publications and other stakeholders.
Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahay said tourism was poised to become one of the main drivers of Indian economy in the years to come. He said that the Ministry of Tourism will carry out an audit of its Rural Tourism Projects to ensure that this important initiative is not lost.