After getting the "Most progressive state in tourism" award from the Centre, Punjab has bagged "Best rural tourism initiative" award at International Tourism Conclave and Travel Awards (ITCTA) held in Shimla to mark World Tourism Day.
At present there are 17 approved farm houses under this scheme and the state government plans to add more, based on response from travel industry. Basanta Raj Kumar, IFS, executive director, Punjab Heritage and Tourism Promotion Board (PHTPB) received the award from Virbhadra Singh, chief minister of Himachal Pradesh.
An official spokesperson of the Punjab tourism department said that PHTPB’s marketing efforts to reach out to travel trade has been successful and travel industry has well appreciated the product — farm tourism. In its bid to facilitate farm owners, PHTPB said, it has been organizing workshops by industry professionals and further create a platform to promote through interaction with tour operators at various travel exhibitions and travel industry forums.
He said that farm tourism operator acts as guide and host to the guests visiting to Punjab who wish to enjoy the rustic way of life as an experiential tourism. These farm houses are approved by PHTPB on pre-qualification criteria basis which also come along with certain benefits and special dispensation from Punjab government, he said.