Sikkim bagged ‘Best State / Union territory: Comprehensive Development of Tourism (Jammu & Kashmir and North East including Sikkim)’ at the National Tourism Awards.
Union Minister KJ Alphons presented the awards at the national capital on Thursday.
“Sikkim as a tourism destination has come a long way and has built its reputation as the cleanest safest and one of the most tourists friendly State in India. Sikkim has set new benchmarks for responsible travel in the country,” the award citation read.
Homestay has rapidly made way for sustainable community based tourism and eco-friendly policies have lent new vigor to the virgin Himalayan wilderness that drapes the region’s mountains.
Organic farming is being promoted in a big way and with a new airport, the state is all set to welcome more tourists.
The awardees were chosen on the basis of several parameters including tourist footfall, initiative of the state government and policies implemented to make the state tourist-friendly.
A total of 77 awards were presented to the tourism industry stakeholders, state governments, central agencies and individuals, reports The Sikkim Express.
Speaking on the occasion, Alphons said that tourism is the cornerstone of the Indian economy as it is a major source of employment and foreign exchange. He also announced that India will be hosting the World Tourism Day celebrations for the UNWTO in 2019.
The tourism minister also launched the ‘Incredible India’ mobile app and the ‘Incredible India Tourist Facilitators Certification’ programme, which will showcase India as a holistic destination, revolving around major experiences such as spirituality, heritage, adventure, culture, yoga and wellness etc.