New Delhi: The third G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting held in Srinagar was “very successful” and this will contribute to boosting of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and help in “allaying any fears” in the minds of visitors in future, a top official said on Friday.
Addressing reporters here, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh also said that during the TWG meet held from May 22-24, G20 member countries, invited countries, and international organisations gave inputs and feedback on the GOA Roadmap for tourism as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development goals and G20 Tourism Ministers’ Declaration.
There two documents were the two key deliverables of the tourism track meet in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir, and Singh said, G20 members have broadly reached an agreement on the five inter-connected priority areas — green tourism, digitisation, skills, tourism MSMEs and destination. These priorities are key building blocks for accelerating the transition of the tourism sector and achieve the targets for 2030 SDGs.
“Some members will give their suggestions in writing by today, and then the final draft will be prepared,” he said.
The final versions of the documents will be placed in the fourth TWG meeting and Ministerial meeting, slated to take place in Goa next month. The GOA Roadmap and a ministerial communique endorsing it will be released after the last meeting of the G20 tourism working group that will take place from June 18-22.
“We have had three meetings of the G20 Tourism Working Group so far. The third one being just held in Srinagar, and it was very successful,” the Union Tourism Secretary said.
At the media interaction held on the G20 meet in Srinagar, Tourism Ministry officials made a presentation on the host of events held as part of the meeting, which included various events on promotion of films and visit to scenic places such as Nishat Garden and Pari Mahal, shikara ride on the Dal Lake and a meet at Royal Spring Golf Course, on the banks of the Dal Lake.
Asked if the G20 meeting held in Srinagar will bolster tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said, tourism in general will get a fillip from it, and film tourism in turn will get promoted which will feed into overall growth of tourism in the region.
He shared that in 2022, Jammu and Kashmir registered a record footfall of 1.88 crore tourists, out of whom 26 lakh had visited the Kashmir valley, adding that the number is expected to cross the two crore-mark for the year 2023.
These are domestic tourism figures, but foreign tourists arrivals is also expected to grow after the devastating impact on the sector by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, a group of tourists from Singapore had arrived in Kashmir in a chartered flight recently, around the time the G20 meet took place, he said.
Later interacting on the sidelines of the press conference, Singh said it has been seen that any place that hosts G20 meets registers a jump in tourism, and the successful organisation of the G20 meet in Srinagar will also help in “allaying any fears” in the minds of visitors in future and dispel any unfavourable notions they might have had.
Besides the main working group meeting, a side event on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ was organised on May 22-23, focusing on strategies to promote film tourism in Jamuu and Kashmir.
A draft ‘National Strategy on Film Tourism’ was unveiled to provide a roadmap for harnessing the role of films in promoting tourist destinations during the Srinagar meet.
The G20 delegates experienced local culture of Jammu and Kashmir and got to see handicrafts and other works of artisans during their visit.
Papier-mache boxes, saffron, walnuts, Qahwa cups and brass spoon among other items produced locally, were given to delegate as souvenirs. (Agencies)