On the eve of World Tourism Day, Sikkim was awarded the ‘Best State for Comprehensive Development of Tourism’ by the Union Minister of Tourism K J Alphons in New Delhi at the National Tourism Awards 2016-2017 ceremony. The award citation reads, ‘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’.
‘Homestays have 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,’ it further stated. ‘Organic farming is the new mantra in Sikkim and is being promoted in a big way and with a new airport, Sikkim is all set to welcome more tourists.’
Meanwhile, the Ministry in a press statement via PIB, New Delhi informed that the awards are given annually in various segments of travel, tourism and hospitality industries since early 1990s. The awardees are chosen on the basis of several parameters including tourist footfall, initiative of the State government and policies implemented to make the State tourist-friendly.
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 and stressed that it is the responsibility of every citizen to build the image of the country as a safe tourist destination.