Kerala Tourism scooped a high from National Tourism Awards for the year 2012-’13, on the strength of boosting tourist arrivals through the pioneering use of information technology, the successful Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Kumarakom’s Responsible Tourism model. In all, Kerala Tourism won four awards, including the second prize in the Best State category.
Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar received the National Tourism Awards for 2012-13 from MoS for HRD Shashi Tharoor at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Tuesday. In the Niche Tourism segment, the award for the ‘Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project’ went to Kochi-Muziris Biennale. The first edition of the mega art event, supported by the Dept of Tourism and held during Dec 2012-Feb 2013 had attracted nearly half a million visitors.
Kumarakom grama panchayat won in the Civic Management of a Tourism Destination in India category. Kumarakom is the first ever destination in India to successfully implement Responsible Tourism and has set a model for the rest of India. Kerala Tourism also won the award for the ‘Most Innovative Use of Information Technology.’
“The awards are an honour for the state, Kerala Tourism and all its stakeholders,’’ Minister Anilkumar said. The Kerala Tourism website (www.keralatourism.org) is one of the most-visited tourism websites in the world. The innovative technological initiatives by the state Tourism Dept during 2012-13 include a live webcast of Theyyam performance from the Velloor Kozhunthum Pati Kshetram in March last year. An online quiz competition, also in March last year, was held, in which, Shashi Tharoor was the Quiz Master. Kerala Tourism’s innovative use of the virtual media is set to see the state becoming the ‘world’s capital of travel bloggers’ next month. A ‘Kerala Blog Express’ bus will take 25 winners of a contest, all of them among the world’s top bloggers, on a tour of the state. ‘’The National Awards are a huge encouragement to Kerala Tourism’s new policy of practicing a community-involved and eco-friendly, sustainable tourism to enhance the quality of the visitor’s experience,’’ said Tourism Secretary Suman Billa.
The remarkable achievement of four National Tourism Awards in 2012-13 comes close on the heels of Kerala Tourism winning the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Ullysses Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism last month.
The award, for the Tourism Dept’s Responsible Tourism model in Kumarakom, is the first ever UNWTO honour for a tourism board in India.
‘’The honour is the result of a meaningful partnership between the public and the private sectors, along with the people of Kerala,’’ said Kerala Tourism Director S Harikishore. In the private sector too, Kerala got four awards. Kumarakom Lake Resort Kottayam was named the best five-star hotel, Vivanta by Taj at Kumarakom was the best four-star hotel and Brunton Boatyard in Fort Kochi the best three-star hotel. T’Puram-based Great India Tour Company won the award for the Best Inbound Tour Operator (Category VI).