Express TravelWorld Awards celebrate innovators of the industry

The late Lalit Suri, a pioneering hotelier who, even at the height of militancy in Kashmir, dared to operate the only five-star property in Srinagar, has won yet another accolade the GMR Express TravelWorld Awards 2010-2011 for Lifetime Achievement for his vision and commitment to the hospitality industry. As his wife, Jyotsna Suri, and their son received the statuette, stalwarts of the Indian travel and hospitality sector who had packed the Taj Palace Hotel on Wednesday for the ceremony gave a standing ovation.

"I accept the ovation for Lalit," said Jyotsna, "He deserves this award for it was his constant endeavour to promote tourism with complete faith." The GMR Express TravelWorld Awards 2010-2011, given out by Express TravelWorld, a publication of The Indian Express Ltd, and infrastructure major GMR Group, sought to salute the most innovative practices that have taken the travel, tourism, hospitality and aviation industry forward. This is the eighth year of the Express TravelWorld Awards and, as Shekhar Gupta, Editor-in-Chief, The Express Group, pointed out, "The number of entries has been the highest this year for each of the 17 categories. Moreover, there is also a leap in the level of imagination and innovation." Fittingly, chief guest, Union Minister of Tourism, Subodh Kant Sahai announced that India, despite its tourism potential, attracted only "half per cent of the world's travellers", and the ministry planned to double this number.

Kingfisher Airlines carried home two awards Innovation in Operations, Full-Service Carrier Airlines segment and for Category of Customer Experience, Innovation in Airlines. Madhya Pradesh Tourism and Malaysia Tourism were the joint winners of the award for Innovation in Operations for Tourism Boards, while the prize for Innovation in Operations for Travel and Tour Operators went to IRCTC and Kuoni Travel (India). Innovation in Operations, Low-Cost Carrier Airline category went to Air Arabia. Carzonrent carried away the trophy for Innovation in Operations, Car and Bus Rentals; and Ibis, Gurgaon was awarded for Innovation in Operations, Hotels.

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