New Delhi: Pitching for accelerated development of the tourism sector, Tourism Minister Subodh Kant Sahai on Wednesday sought active involvement of industry to achieve the target of increasing foreign arrivals to 11 million by 2016.

At present, India attracts nearly six million foreigners in a year.

"Efforts are on to promote India as a 365-day tourist destination to attract tourists with specific interest and to ensure repeat visits by tourists and also diversifying the tourism products by developing and promoting the nascent and upcoming niche products of the industry," Sahai said at the national tourism awards 2010-11 ceremony here.

President Pratibha Patil gave away prizes to 78 awardees in over 50 categories.

Sahai said, "The tourism sector is actively led by the industry and only facilitated by the government."

Awards were given to states and Union Territories, hotels, travel and tour operators and private organisations among others in recognition of their performance in their respective fields and also to encourage healthy competition with an aim to promote tourism.

While Madhya Pradesh got four awards in different categories, Sikkim got three awards for tourism infrastructure and tourism related programmes.

Tourism industry being the dynamic sector, every year the categories of awards are reviewed with new categories being added to recognise excellence in diverse fields in accordance with the requirements of changing times.

(Agencies)