By: Abid Bashir
Srinagar, May 24: The high-profile three-day G-20 event in Srinagar Wednesday culminated peacefully with foreign delegates all praise for the natural beauty of the capital city of Srinagar. Many delegates hoped that the summit will help bring more foreign tourists to Kashmir from the ensuing year and that there was a hope that countries will lift the “negative travel advisory imposed on J&K.”
A local news gathering agency had a chance to speak to some foreign delegates, who took part in the three-day G-20 Tourism Working Group meeting at SKICC on the banks of Dal Lake, during their brief visit to the newly renovated Polo View market in Srinagar.
“This place is more beautiful than what we had expected. People are amazing. Normally, you travel long to see mountains and lakes but in Srinagar, people can enjoy natural beauty right outside their homes, that’s awesome,” said a woman delegate from Singapore, after buying handicraft items from a shop at Polo View market.
She said that they took part in the brainstorming sessions at SKICC and are hopeful to see more and more foreign tourist arrivals in Kashmir from the ensuing year. “We will definitely spread a word about beauty of Kashmir in our respective countries. We are hopeful that the Kashmir’s great tourism potential gets a boost. We will play our part back home for sure,” the delegate said, adding that “I have fallen in love with this place and its people. I would like to come again, maybe this year only.”
A South Korean delegate, wishing not to be named, said that India has a great culture and Kashmir is bestowed with natural beauty. “Our country has no advisory on its people who want to travel to Kashmir. I would spread a word that countries who have barred its citizens from visiting Kashmir, should immediately lift such advisory and let their people see nature closely. There can be no better place than Kashmir, nevertheless we have just seen Srinagar only,” he said.
A delegate from Netherlands identifying himself at Joche told KNO that he has visited Kashmir for the first time. “This place is awesome. People, food, culture, lakes, roads and hospitality is unmatched. This place needs a push at the global level. I am hopeful that more people from my country will come here,” he said. “We are going back tomorrow but we will come again with our families and friends. When Srinagar is so beautiful with a lot of greenery around, other places, the beauty of other places can be well imagined.” He said travel to Kashmir has to be made easier as “this place is blessed with nature.” He stressed that green-tourism needs to be explored by all means in Kashmir.
The J&K administration had made elaborate security arrangements for the G-20 summit in Srinagar as the event was first of its kind post abrogation of article 370 on August 5,2019.
Marine commandoes, NSG and drones were pressed into service to ensure smooth conduct of the three-day mega event. Srinagar was decked up to greet the foreign visitors.
The J&K is hopeful that the summit will help give a push to J&K’s tourism potential—green tourism, eco-tourism, film tourist and off-beat tourism. The UT administration is all set to open 300 new destinations to revive the film tourism in Kashmir.
Official sources said that 53 foreign delegates will fly to their respective countries on Thursday. “The event remained peaceful and all the delegates were happy during their stay,” an official, who was part of the arrangements, said, adding that the positive outcome of the meeting will be seen on ground in the months ahead. (KNO)