Srinagar was all set to host the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting, preparations were put in place while security was kept on high alert as this was a first major international event after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped in 2019.
For the three-day G20 Summit, from May 22-24, Kashmir was under a three-tier security grid. From aerial surveillance drone monitoring to National Security Guard (NSG) and MARCOS commandos being deployed around the venue. Jammu and Kashmir Police’s special operation group (SOG) were also deployed at several places to prevent any untoward incident. Srinagar city’s walls and roads were decorated to welcome the delegates.
The delegates after arriving at Srinagar international airport were driven straight to SKICC where the discussion and deliberations on the five key priority areas: Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, MSMEs and Destination Management were held.
Spain, Singapore, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil and India were among seven countries to discuss the global perspective of film tourism, as well as, its economic benefits and impact in J-K. The side event on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ was a part of the mega third Tourism Working Group Meeting to be organized in Srinagar between May 22-24.
The visiting G20 delegates at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) showed a resounding interest in Kashmiri handicrafts, spending hours watching live demonstrations by artists. The delegates also purchased local handicrafts from vendors on the second day of the third Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar on Tuesday.
Numerous craftsmen and handicraft vendors had set up stalls at the SKICC with the goal of bridging the gap between overseas consumers and local vendors by displaying their handcrafted goods to the attendees.
There were many products on display including a tapestry of Kashmir’s artisanal brilliance, from the plush Pashmina shawls, hand-woven carpets, and exquisitely carved walnut wood masterpieces to the Kangris (fire pots), papier-mâché art, and delicate hand-embroidered fabrics.
On the third and final day, the delegates from different G20 countries on Wednesday visited iconic Mughal Gardens in Srinagar.
At Mughal Gardens, delegates wore traditional Kashmiri attires while marveling at the scintillating view.
While women delegates enjoyed the traditional attire, men from the visiting group enthralled themselves by playing golf in the picturesque Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar.
The visit would have been incomplete without a tour to the newly renovated classic Polo View market in the heart of city. Thus, it was completed as the delegates were taken to this historic place amid rains.
Traders associated with handicrafts and other tourism-related businesses have expressed their expectations that foreign countries would remove restrictions on travelling to Kashmir, which they said would give boost to the local economy.