Panjim, Sept 27: Owing to consistent efforts by Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) in turning Goa into a premium adventure tourism destination during the last 4-5 years, Goa Tourism has received a huge laurel at the National Tourism Awards 2019 having bagged the prestigious award as the Best State for Adventure Tourism.
In yet another shot in the arm for Goa Tourism, the State has for the third consecutive year bagged the National Tourism Award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism (Rest of India). This hat-trick of National Tourism Award for Comprehensive Development of Tourism has been attributed to the outstanding performance of the State in providing amenities, facilities, new tourism services, initiatives, activities etc for tourists visiting Goa.
The awards were presented at a glittering function in the national capital on the occasion of World Tourism Day. The awards were presented by the Hon’ble Vice President of India, Mr. Venkaiah Naidu to the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister and Tourism Minister, Govt. of Goa , Mr. Manohar Ajgaonkar, Chairman, GTDC, Mr. Dayanand Sopte, Secretary Tourism, Govt. of Goa, Mr. J Ashok Kumar and MD, GTDC, Mr. Nikhil Desai. The Union Minister of State for Tourism, Mr. Prahlad Singh Patel and Secretary-General, UNWTO, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili were also present. This year UNWTO has declared India as a host country for the World Tourism Day celebrations.
The NTA awards have been instituted since 1990 and presented to State governments/UTs and several other tourism bodies in recognition of their performance in the respective fields of travel, tourism and hospitality encouraging healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism.
Best State for Adventure Tourism: During the last 4-5 years Goa Tourism through the efforts of Goa Tourism Development Corporation has introduced a large number of new tourism services and adventure activities which includes scuba diving, hot air balloon rides, hop on hop off luxury double-decker bus tours, bungee jumping, sea rafting, electric bicycle tours, white water rafting and eco-trekking during the monsoons, cycling tours, kayaking, off-roading, motor cross etc. Goa Tourism also has a coastline of 105 kms which is popular for adventure water sports. All these draw tourists to Goa in large numbers. Over the last few years, adventure tourism has not only brought to Goa domestic and foreign tourists but has also increased the duration of stay of tourists visiting the State to avail of the large number of adventure tourism activities. The GTDC has also introduced other tourism activities which includes Raj Bhavan Darshan tours, tours to Tirupathi, supports activities which include heritage walks, bird trails, boat cruises, tourism related sports activities etc. Other segments that have also gained popularity in Goa with the introduction of adventure tourism includes, film & fashion tourism, wedding tourism, wellness tourism, MICE tourism, eco-tourism and hinterland tourism etc.
Comprehensive Development of Tourism: With Goa receiving close to Rs. 200 crore from the Union government under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme has been able to give a major fillip to overall development of tourism in the State be it infrastructure development, commissioning of tourism projects, launching of tourism products and services, initiatives taken on safety and security, cleanliness and hygiene, policies, marketing and promotion, events and activities etc. Goa Tourism through GTDC also launched GoaMiles, Goa’s first app based taxi service to provide transportation facilities for tourists visiting Goa. Beach cleaning, lifeguard services, parking facilities, public utility facilities like toilets, changing rooms, lockers, tourist information centers, good accesses to tourist locations, beautification, CCTV surveillance systems and a lot more. Major tourism related infrastructure projects at Morjim, Mayem, Candolim-Calangute, Baga have already been commissioned while several projects like a state-of-the-art Convention Center at Patto, Institute of Hotel Management, Aguada Jail Museum project are underway.
On receiving the National Tourism Awards the Hon’ble Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for Tourism, Govt. of Goa, Mr. Manohar Ajgaonkar said, “It is truly an honor for Goa to receive two prestigious awards and to increase its award tally at the prestigious National Tourism Awards platform. We take pride in noting that we have been recognized as the Best State for Comprehensive Development of Tourism for the third time in a row. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every stakeholder, official and team member who have collectively contributed towards this success. Special mention also goes out to our Hon’ble Chief Minister Dr. Pramod Sawant, who has always extended his wholehearted support to the tourism industry in the State. My hearty congratulations to Mr. Dayanand Sopte, Chairman of GTDC and his team of officials for the hard work put in by the Corporation and their contribution to the development of tourism in the State.”
While speaking about the Awards, Mr. Dayanand Sopte, Chairman of Goa Tourism Development Corporation said, “The National Tourism Awards are very prestigious and I am delighted that Goa is getting due recognition for its efforts in developing the state as a tourism destination. An award as the Best State for Adventure Tourism is a feather in our cap and will encourage the GTDC to launch new and innovative activities. I thank the Hon’ble Chief Minister, Dr. Pramod Sawant, the Hon’ble Tourism Minister, Mr. Manohar Ajgaonkar, GTDC Board of Directors, all officials, engineers and partners who have helped us achieve success in all our plans and projects.”