Srinagar: Secretary, Union Ministry of Tourism, Arvind Singh Sunday said that the third Tourism Working Group meeting to be held in Srinagar from May 22 to May 24 has registered the highest participation compared to the first two working group meetings held in Rann of Kutch and Siliguri.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that addressing a news conference at SKICC in Srinagar, Singh said that the stage was set for discussions and deliberations on final deliverables and there were two key deliverables of the Tourism Working Group, which include Goa Roadmap for Tourism as a vehicle for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and G20 Tourism Ministers’ Declaration.
He said that this was the only working group meeting taking place in Srinagar as part of G20 effort with excellent response from all the member countries, all the invited countries, and the international organisations, having the highest participation registered compared to the first two Tourism Working Group meetings at Rann of Kutch and Siliguri.
Singh said that the G20 member countries, invited countries, and international organisations would give valuable inputs and feedback on these two draft documents and after negotiations with G20 member countries on these drafts, final versions would be placed in the fourth Tourism Working Group meeting.
He said that the third Tourism Working Group meeting would deliberate on the five key priority areas – green tourism, digitalisation, skills, MSMEs, and destination management.
Singh said that these priorities were key building blocks for accelerating the transition of the tourism sector and achieving the targets for 2030 SDGs.
He said that a side event on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ would be organised on May 22 and 23, focusing on strategies to promote film tourism in J&K.
Singh said that the event would witness the participation of G20 member countries, invited countries, international organisations, and industry stakeholders.
He also said that a draft ‘National Strategy on Film Tourism’ would be unveiled to provide a roadmap for harnessing the role of films in promoting tourist destinations.
Chief Coordinator G20 Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to ensure that the message of India’s G20 Presidency was taken down to the grassroots level through Jan Bhagidari process and lot of efforts were made to sensitise the people of this country about G20.
He appreciated the efforts of the J&K government to sensitise the people about goals and purpose of G20 through multiple public activities.
Chief Secretary of J&K Arun Kumar Mehta said that the change in J&K was evident on the ground with the arrival of 1.88 crore, the highest number of tourists in 2022.
He said that seeing the influx of tourists with each destination providing enough to the tourists, 300 new tourist destinations would come up in J&K.
Mehta said that the influx of the highest number of foreign tourists was a healthy sign for J&K tourism.
During the third Tourism Working Group meeting, the delegates would also visit the Art and Craft Bazaar organised by the J&K government showcasing local handicrafts, work of artisans, signifying the importance of community participation.
The delegates will also have ‘hands-on’ experience through DIY activities at the craft bazaar.
During the news conference, it was also informed that the Union Ministry of Tourism was also promoting local products of J&K by handing souvenirs to delegates from ODOP like papier-mâché boxes, saffron from Pampore, Kehwa cups and brass spoons, and walnuts from Anantnag, Shopian and Kupwara.
It was also informed that this G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar aims to strengthen economic growth, preserve cultural heritage, and promote sustainable development of the region.
The Union Ministry of Tourism welcomed the participation of delegates from G20 member countries, invited countries, and international organisations to collectively work towards advancing the tourism sector and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
It was informed that the G20 event presents a unique opportunity to highlight the tourism potential and cultural richness of the region.
Additional Secretary, Rakesh Verma, also made a detailed presentation about the event.
Additional Director General PIB Region, Rajinder Chaudhry and Secretary Tourism J&K, Syed Aabid Rasheed Shah were also present at the media briefing.