India Bags International Tourism Awards

New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) India Friday won three prestigious awards at the international travel mart in Macau for its rural and eco-tourism projects, an official said here.

At a glittering function organised by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel Mart, the tourism ministry bagged the PATA Grand Award and two PATA Gold Awards, the official said.

PATA, founded in 1951, is a non-profit membership association and works for building responsible development of the Asia Pacific travel and tourism industry.

While the PATA Grand Award was given under the heritage category for the Rural Tourism Project at Hodka village in Gujarat's Kutch district, the two other awards were given to the ministry for marketing its products in an innovative manner.

About the Gujarat project, the organisers said: "The scale of this project is very welcome and could have major positive impacts on the community."

The rural tourism project is owned and operated by the Village Tourism Committee of the people of Hodka village. A rural resort, which boasts of totally modernised facilities, it is surrounded by the natural beauty of Kutch.

Art, craft and textiles made by the villagers is sold to customers, thus providing a livelihood to the villagers.

While the first marketing award was for promoting various destinations in India, the other was for creating a buzz about eco-tourism products.

Every year, the PATA Travel Mart gathers tourism stakeholders from around the world to network and seek business opportunities.

PATA's membership boasts more than 100 government, state and city tourism bodies, over 50 airlines and cruise lines, and hundreds of travel industry companies.

Around 1,000 delegates from across the world congregated for the three-day event. The Indian delegation was led by Tourism Secretary R.H. Khwaja.

The PATA Travel Mart 2011 will be held in Delhi in September, the official added.


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