100 Miles, a travel agency in Kolkata received International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Award 2023 on September 30 at The Leela, New Delhi. The travel agency received the Award for Best of Addressing Climate Change for their unique 'Bhasa Sutra' initiative which is cross-border bicycle tour between India and Bangladesh.
The initiative was first launched in 2012 to promote alternative tourism in alternative mode of transport. Swarojit Roy, proprietor of 100 Miles said, “When we started this initiative, we did not expect this to continue. We thought it would be a one-time thing but we ended up doing it every year until Covid. Two years of the pandemic we could not do it but we resumed again this year.”
On February 14, about 15 cyclist set off from Kolkata to Bangladesh to pay homage to the martyrs of Bangladesh on Bhasha Divas on February 21. Filmmaker Goutam Ghose, who is working on a documentary on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, flagged off the rally in the presence of several officials of the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission. The cyclist covered 350 kilometers in seven days via Narail, Bhanga and Mawa.
Speaking about the initiative, Roy said, “The initiative every year pays homage to legendary personalities. We have paid tribute to Rabindranath Tagore, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose etc. We plan the tour in a way that covers the places related to the dedicated person, where people haven't touched upon. So it is more like a historical and cultural tour that involves both the countries.”
The Responsible Tourism Awards are divided into six categories — Best for Tackling Plastic Waste; Best for Meaningful Connections; Best for Local Sourcing, Craft and Food; Addressing Climate Change; Best for Diversity and Inclusion, and Best for Nature-Positive Tourism. This year, several organisations from across the country have received awards in the categories mentioned above. Those that win Gold in the India Awards will go forward to win the Global Awards to be announced in London in November 2023.