Organisers finalising last-minute details

J&K set to showcase tourism potential at G20 Tourism Working Committee Meeting
"Over 200 delegates from different countries, and international and national organisations, will participate in the mega event, which is scheduled to take place from 22-24 May."
"Over 200 delegates from different countries, and international and national organisations, will participate in the mega event, which is scheduled to take place from 22-24 May."Special arrangement

As the Srinagar airport comes into view, the preparations for a significant international event are evident. Officials are busy decorating the area with a touch of local culture, showcasing the region's beauty. Rows of lamp posts adorned in green, white, and orange, the colours of the Indian national flag, guide visitors along the airport road—billboards featuring India's Group of 20 logo welcome guests to the area.

This event marks a historic moment for Kashmir, as it hosts an international multilateral meeting for the first time, and that too on tourism, which the region is famously known for as "heaven on earth."

Over 200 delegates from different countries, and international and national organisations, will participate in the mega event, which is scheduled to take place from 22-24 May.

The region's charm is distinctive as newly painted Shikaras, with bright yellow and red tapestries, float majestically on the still blue waters of the Dal Lake. The majestic houseboats, standing in a row, with hanging umbrellas on their terraces, surrounded by snow-covered mountains, offer a glimpse into the serenity and comfort of the area.

In addition to the G-20 countries, India, as the host, has invited around half-a-dozen non-G20 member countries and several foreign-based non-governmental organisations. Local media reports suggest that tourism secretaries from several states and union territories will also attend the G-20 third Tourism Working Group (TWG) meeting in Srinagar.

This event is expected to boost tourism in the region and showcase the beauty and hospitality of Kashmir to the world. It is a significant step towards promoting prosperity in the area, and it is hoped that this event will pave the way for further growth and development.

Lt Governor Oversees the preparations

As the preparations for the G-20 meeting in Srinagar continue, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has been closely supervising all the arrangements. He recently inaugurated the upgraded Polo View Market, which features new walkways and parking areas with no hanging wires and all green around.

The Lieutenant Governor will address the international delegates and highlight the tourism potential of Jammu and Kashmir, among other issues. Union Minister for Tourism, GK Reddy, and Union Minister in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Dr Jitendra Singh, will attend the meeting.

The Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) will serve as the venue for the conference. The Centre is situated on the bank of Dal Lake and offers a breathtaking view of the surrounding Zabarvan range of hills, which look stunning with fresh snowfall and thick green pine trees that reflect in the still waters of Dal Lake.

The participating delegates will take a Shikara ride on Dal Lake, and cultural programs will be held in the evenings. Additionally, the representatives will visit Gulmarg, located an hour's drive from Srinagar, to attend a technical session on promoting the film industry to use the surrounding locales. Bollywood film industry representatives, producers, and others will attend this session.The Lieutenant Governor's close supervision of the arrangements is a testament to the government's commitment to ensuring the meeting's success and promoting the region's tourism potential.

Delegates will participate in working group sessions on Green Tourism, Digitalisation, and Destination Management. India is committed to ensuring sustainable and responsible growth of the tourism sector in the country. It is taking all initiatives to make India a seamless, modern, and smart tourism destination.

The discussions will also focus on linking the tourism sector with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and leveraging tourism development to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The G20 delegates will also participate in a panel discussion that will focus on the development of "Adventure Tourism and the film industry".         

Pakistan's attempts to persuade other countries not to attend the meeting in Kashmir are likely to fail. Nearly all G20 countries, except China, have confirmed their participation in the event. The discussions will be concluded with the submission of a joint declaration at a final round in Goa ahead of the summit.

The event will also provide an opportunity to encourage Jammu and Kashmir's tourism potential globally. The union territory is a beautiful destination for summits, meetings, global business conferences, or simply for relaxed tourism. The G20 is an excellent platform to showcase this potential to the world.

Security Arrangement

The security arrangements for the G20 meeting in Srinagar are methodically planned to ensure a smooth and safe event. High-level meetings were held in both Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir to review the security situation and have a maximum vigil in and around the venues and scattered towns of the Union territory.

Specially trained commandos are likely to be deployed to provide strong security cover for the water bodies around the summit venue. In addition, drones embedded with smart technologies and police persons in civvies will be on standby to enhance the security drill during the delegates' stay in Kashmir.

Scores of bunkers in Srinagar have been given a facelift, and several barriers have already been removed from roads to facilitate smooth movement. Local media reports suggest that the deployment of security personnel, traffic management and crowd control measures are finalised.

The security arrangements aim to ensure the delegates' safety and promote a positive image of Jammu and Kashmir as a safe and secure tourist destination.

Author is a regular contributor to Greater Kashmir

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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