By Robin Gomes
A tour operator based in remote north-east India has bagged a National Tourism Award in the Best Inbound Tour Operator category at the international celebration of the World Tourism Day in New Delhi on Friday.
The International Pilgrimage Revolution (IPR), that was honoured in the Best Inbound Tour Operator category, was represented at the at the award ceremony by Father Tomy Joseph, a Catholic Priest based in Miao Diocese in eastern Arunachal Pradesh state.
World Tourism Day is commemorated each year on 27 September, with celebrations led by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). Its purpose is to foster awareness among the global community of tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution the sector can make in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.
The theme of this year’s World Tourism Day was: “Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all”. The UNWTO decided to celebrate this year’s observance in the Indian capital. The occasion was used for the National Tourism Awards 2017-2018, to honour states and various segments of the tourism industry for their contribution.
Indian Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu was the chief guest at the function and gave out some of the awards. UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili of Georgia was the special guest who joined Union Minister of State for Tourism and Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel, in giving away the other awards.
Fr. Joseph, who received the award from Patel, said that the recognition will give the entire North East region some much-needed visibility. “North East region has a huge tourism scope. Sparing a few places, the region has not found a place in the wish list of the tourists. We hope this award will attract more tourists to the region and IPR can facilitate them for a hassle-free visit”.
Bishop George Pallipparambil of Miao Diocese, who was instrumental in bringing IPR to North East region, also expressed joy over the award. “Each state in the North East Region has its unique and identity and beauty,” the Salesian bishop noted. “It has every feature to become a tourist’s delight. This award will go a long way in capturing the attention of the tourists across the world”, the 65-year old bishop said.
In its first move to promote tourism in the region, IPR brought a group of 13 Germans for a week-long trip to the North East.
They visited Kaziranga National Park, Majuli Island, Sibsagar Rang Ghar, Namsai Golden Pagoda, Miao Tibetan Settlement, Jairampur World War Cemetery and Namdapha National Park from 22 to 27 September.
“It is the first time we have experienced such a beautiful culture, traditional houses and food”, said Mr. Hild who visited India for the fourth time. “This is an overwhelming experience and totally different”, said Ms. Eisenreich who visited India for the sixth time.
A north-east based operator winning a National Tourism Award and Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu vigorously promoting tourism in the State augurs well for the future of tourism in the region. (Source: Miao Diocese)