Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Tourism's pioneering use of IT to boost tourist arrivals, the successful Kochi-Muziris Biennale and Kumarakom's Responsible Tourism model Tuesday helped "God's Own Country" scoop four National Tourism Awards for 2012-13.
Of the awards, Kerala Tourism won the second prize in the best state category.
Kerala Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar received the awards from Minister of State for Human Resources Development Shashi Tharoor at a function held at the Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.
In the niche tourism segment, the award for the "Most Innovative and Unique Tourism Project" went to Kochi-Muziris Biennale.
The first edition of the mega art event, supported by the Department of Tourism, was held December 2012-February 2013. It attracted nearly half a million visitors, including thousands from outside the state and abroad.
Kumarakom Grama Panchayat won in the "Civic Management of a Tourism Destination in India" category, with its president Dhanya Sabu receiving the award.
Kerala Tourism also won the award for the "Most Innovative Use of Information Technology".
"The awards are an honour for the state, Kerala Tourism and all its stakeholders," said Anil Kumar.
"It is a recognition for our unceasing efforts to promote sustainable tourism with the help of the local community even while we make use of the advantages of technology," he said.
"These awards are a huge encouragement to Kerala Tourism's new policy of practicing a community-involved and eco-friendly, sustainable tourism to enhance the quality of the visitor's experience," said Kerala Tourism secretary Suman Billa.
These awards come close on the heels of Kerala Tourism winning the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Ullysses Prize for Excellence and Innovation in Tourism last month.
In the private sector too, Kerala got four awards.
Kumarakom Lake Resort Kottayam was named the best five-star hotel, Vivanta by Taj at Kumarakom was the best four-star hotel and Brunton Boatyard in Fort Kochi the best three-star hotel. Thiruvananthapuram-based Great India Tour Company won the award for the Best Inbound Tour Operator.