The National Tourism Awards, held on September 27, 2017, acknowledged the importance of tourism in the country and honoured those who strive hard to make India travel experiences truly incredible. TRAVTALK finds out from winners how this accolade inspires them to ensure inclusive tourism as well as economic development.
Suresh Periwal India Travel Award winner and MD, Clubside Tours & Travels
Receiving the National Award is the greatest recognition. It is rather humbling to join the list of awardees who have in the past been recipients of this award. Being a regional operator, we rely on the support from our partner agents and it is that confidence in us which has led to this. Over the years we have been working on tapping the potential of adventure tourism which is now bearing fruits. The National Awards are the ultimate recognition of these efforts and it has renewed our faith in what we do.
Vikram Madhok India Travel Award winner and MD, Abercrombie & Kent
We have received the National Tourism Award for the fourth time now, but it’s the first time we got the first prize under Category I. To be recognised by the highest body in tourism is another feather in our cap. We went back to the basics in terms of showcasing incredible India to the world. We rekindled partnerships with our existing partners and refreshed our packages to offer more experiential products. We tried to plug the gaps in the demographic of our source markets to add another layer to the type of markets we catered to. This award helps us to get recognised for our work and is an added advantage on a global platform.
Nilesh Cabral Chairman, Goa Tourism Development Corporation
I am honoured to receive such a huge recognition from the President of India for the Corporation’s innovative initiative. GTDC has worked in the right direction and has given a new face to Goa Tourism. The ‘Most Innovative Use of Information Technology’ award was for a campaign for the tourists and by the tourists which aimed at building the longest running digital testimonial campaign for a travel brand. The Best State/UT Award recognises Goa as a dream destination for all tourists and highlights Goa as a beach destination along with other tourism facets.
Arjun Sharma India Travel Award winner and Chairman, Le Passage to India
We are immensely proud of the team and the award itself is a great and resounding acknowledgment of our collective efforts. At the same time, the recognition is a motivation for us to pursue and reach new heights. We are committed to delivering to our clients a journey of a lifetime and we are going to aim to ensure we win many more awards in the future too. At LPTI, we have a proven track record and service delivery which has won us this award in the same category six times of which three were for consecutive years. We really appreciate that the Ministry recognised this remarkable achievement and inducted us into the Hall of Fame.
Harvinder Singh Duggal MD, Minar Travels, India Travel Award winner
It feels good when hard work is recognised and I feel happier for my team whose efforts have made this achievement possible. This is the 10th National Tourism Award for the company and the fourth time we have been awarded the first prize. The reason for being awarded is the consistency of the company in providing the highest standards of service and venturing into the new areas to successfully showcase the incredible India experience to foreign tourists. Prestigious awards like this one put a seal of trust on the company which is important in the long run for its brand value and the morale of the team. The foreign tour operators from far and wide feel secure when dealing with an award-winning organisation.
Jenu Devan, Managing Director, Gujarat Tourism
Gujarat Tourism has been undertaking several innovative initiatives to put Gujarat on the national and global tourist map. Every year, the tourism department organises a variety of fairs and festivals that showcase the beautiful mosaic of the state’s culture, traditions, practices, cuisines, dressing styles, art and craft, etc. While the state constantly focused on new innovations, ideas and initiatives, the tourism department has also concentrated on the livelihood and skill development through sustainable tourism initiatives. The award symbolises its endeavours in promotion of sustainable development through tourism.
B. Venkatesham Secretary, Youth Advancement, Tourism & Culture Department, Government of Telangana
For Telangana Tourism, it was a big win with four awards in different categories. I am extremely happy with the win and we’re adopting a different direction in terms of development of tourism products. Everyone is following the beaten track, and we are going in a different direction, including having niche sector as well as festival of our own. We don’t want to compete with other states, but we are planning to complement them, by working with them and offering extended stay for tourists visiting those destinations. Apart from that we will be focusing on Health Tourism as well.
Hari Ranjan Rao Secretary, Tourism, Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation
This year Madhya Pradesh got 10 awards including the Hall of Fame award as the Best State for Comprehensive Development of Tourism, which we have been winning for three years in a row. I am really delighted on this achievement and the entire credit for this goes to our team which has been working tirelessly to make Madhya Pradesh one of the best destinations in the country and we look forward to build upon this and keep getting awards like this. We are set to inaugurate the Jal Mahotsav in October which is going to be an 80-day affair this time. Also, we recently held a heritage run in Orchha and there will soon be a cycling expedition in Panchmari, called ‘Tour de Satpura.
Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism, Government of Kerala
Kerala Tourism was awarded a total of six National Tourism Awards including Hall of Fame Award for Most Innovative Use of Information Technology – Social Media / Mobile App and was also the second runner-up in the category for Best State for Comprehensive Development of Tourism. It gives us immense pleasure to be lauded with the prestigious National Tourism Awards in six different categories. Kerala Tourism has been focused on promoting the concept of ‘Responsible Tourism’ for protecting environment and conserving cultural heritage. And, receiving award for this significant initiative of the state emboldens the tourism department to keep up the positive momentum.
Manish Saini Director, Worldwide Rail Journeys, India Travel Award winner
I am delighted to have received national recognition after years of perseverance and dedication in the tourism industry. Within three years of the company’s inception, we became the largest General Sales Agent (GSA) of leading luxury trains in India, overtaking all the established players in the tourism industry. I achieved this due to the goodwill I created among the trade partners through my ethical and honest dealings and generated foreign exchange in this segment. This award will inspire me to cross new milestones and at the same time, offer my trade partners another reason to repose their trust on me.
Kapil Goswamy MD, Trans India Holidays, India Travel Award winner
It gives us immense pleasure to be a recipient of the National Tourism Award for the fourth time. Receiving this prestigious award, of course, has its PR value in terms of new customers that we try to pitch to, but other than that, it is also a huge motivation for our team. Through relentless efforts, we have been achieving significant yearon-year growth, both in terms of passenger numbers and overall foreign exchange earnings and it is both these parameters that helped us achieve a virtual Six Sigma quality in regards to customer satisfaction and also the national award.
Dhruv Shringi Co-founder & CEO, Yatra.com
We are honoured on being conferred with the tourism industry’s highest accolade, the National Tourism Award. This is our third consecutive win in the Best Domestic Tour Operator (Rest of India) category in the 10 years of the National Tourism Awards’ existence. Our continuous efforts at consumer engagement, overall user experience coupled with consistent delivery of services on ground have helped us achieve this milestone. This significant national recognition further inspires us to work tirelessly towards delivering best in class service to our customers.
Sanjay Jain, Director, Special Holiday Travel
To receive the award of the highest repute in our industry, that too for the second time gives us great pride and honour. We are humbled that the efforts we have been tirelessly putting in to provide a holistic experience coupled with complete satisfaction to all our associates and clients, have been given recognition by the President and the Minister of Tourism directly. We would like to credit this honour to our extremely dedicated team, the passion that drives us in our daily operations and collative support of all our longstanding associations and guests from across the world. We intend to grow from strength to strength, giving testimony to this award for the Best Inbound Tour Operator/ Travel Agent.
Sanjay Basu, Managing Director, Far Horizon Tours
Naturally, it gives us great joy and pride to receive this commendation. It is a great recognition for the company’s pioneering efforts which is bound to get noticed by the prospective markets, giving our experiential and soft adventure products, tours and activities greater publicity and growth potential. Through the last two decades, our company has invested over `50 crores in development of camps, eco-lodges and river cruise boats and ships in remote regions which has opened up a vast market that is seeing a strong growth both for us and the country’s overall tourism.
Sarab Jit Singh, India Travel Award winner and MD, Travelite (India)
It is an exhilarating feeling to witness Travelite (India) being conferred with the National Hall of Fame Tourism Award for consistently doing well in the inbound tourism sector. Ultimately, it is the hard work put in by the dedicated team working at Travelite (India) that is showing consistent results. The National Tourism Award certainly gives Travelite (India) recognition and places confidence in the foreign tour operators, who may be dealing with us for the first time, while, the existing tour operators feel better to be working with such reputed and recognised organisation.
Aditya Loomba, Jt. Managing Director, ECOS (India) Mobility & Hospitality
We are thrilled to have won the first prize for Best Tourist Transport Operator at National Toruism Awards yet again. This is our third win in a row, so we have been able to manage a hat-trick at the National Awards! This win is purely because of our team’s committed dedication to their work, combined with our clients’ and partners’ faith in ECOS (India) Mobility & Hospitality. And if the fact that winning a National Award wasn’t enough, receiving it from the President of India also boosts the morale of the entire company and also validates our stakeholder’s trust in the company.
Chander Mansharamani, Managing Director, Alpcord Network Travel & Conferences Management Company
It was a proud moment for us at the Alpcord network to be felicitated with a national award for the third time. The fact that it comes straight from the Government of India makes it all the more special. The recognition will definitely help us when we pitch for future conferences. bringing with it a sense of responsibility towards the industry and duty to maintain and supersede our performance. As an award winning company, the onus will fall on us to create a different brand for ourselves and take things to a higher level of service.
Zubin Songadwala, General Manager, ITC Maurya
ITC Maurya received National Tourism Award for Best Eco-Friendly Hotel recently. ITC Maurya is a manifestation of ITC Hotels’ more than three-decade old sustainable development initiatives. It is an amalgamation of world class green best practices with contemporary design elements, providing the best in luxury, in the greenest possible manner with ecoembedded products, eco-easy services and eco-sensitised associates. A role model for the global hospitality industry, ITC Maurya, is an epitome of the Responsible Luxury ethos and is the World’s largest LEED Platinum rated hotel in the EB Category (Existing Building).
Malavika Kumar, Assistant Operations Manager, Samode Hotels
Samode Group of Hotels has been in the hospitality industry for the past 30 years and it is an honour to receive such a prestigious award on behalf of the organisation. The Samode Haveli is a 200-year-old heritage property and it has been beautifully restored according to modern standards. It is the people of Samode Haveli who make this experience special with their discreet and personalised service for the guests. Awards like the National Tourism Award motivate the team to do well and at the same time, they help us in striving harder to achieve the high standards and goals of the organisation.