The third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting is scheduled to take place in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir from May 22-24.
This is the first major international event held here after the revocation of the special status of the state under Article 370 of the Constitution and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Countries Which Are Attending The Event
About 60 delegates from G20 countries are taking part in the event. It will also witness the participation of invited countries, international organizations, and industry stakeholders.
However, China is skipping it as its ally Pakistan has raised objections to the event being held in Kashmir. Also, Turkey, which had made critical remarks against India after the BJP government scrapped the Article 370 in 2019, is not attending the G20 meeting.
The G20 is an inter-governmental forum of the world’s 20 leading economies comprising Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States, and the European Union.
Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the UAE are the special invitee guest countries for the G20 event held in Srinagar.
All About G20 Event in Srinagar
The meeting will be held at Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC). “The delegates will mostly go to Dal Lake for sightseeing and watch cultural programmes on May 22 but the real business will be happening during the next two days,” Union Minister Jitendra Singh said.
“Under India’s G20 Tourism Track, the TWG is working on 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.There are two key deliverables of the TWG, which are GOA Roadmap for tourism as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development goals and G20 Tourism Ministers’ Declaration,” the Ministry of Tourism said in a statement.
The statement further said that the Ministry of Tourism is making “positive progress” on finalising the two key deliverables. During this meeting, G20 member countries, invited countries, and international organisations will give inputs and feedback on these two draft documents.
The final versions will be placed in the fourth TWG meeting and Ministerial meeting, which will be held in Goa n June, after negotiations with G20 member countries on these drafts.
A side event titled ‘Fostering Film Tourism for Economic Prosperity and Cultural Conservation’ has been scheduled for May 22, with a primary objective of devising effective approaches to bolster film tourism. According to officials, the gathering will witness the active involvement of G20 member nations, invited countries, global organizations, and key figures from the film sector, including esteemed producers.
“This side event will also include unveiling of the draft ‘National Strategy on Film Tourism’ that will provide a roadmap for harnessing the role of films in promoting tourist destinations. Besides, a panel discussion featuring speakers from G20 member countries, invited countries will shed light on country-specific enablers and challenges in promoting destinations through films,” the Tourism Ministry said.
Delegates to Experience Local Culture
The delegates will get to experience local culture of Jammu and Kashmir. They will get the opportunity to see handicrafts and other works of artisans during their visit to Srinagar.
As part of the event, they will also visit the art and craft Bazaar organised by the state government, showcasing local handicrafts, work of artisans, signifying the importance of community participation, the Tourism Ministry said.
The delegates will also have hands-on experience through DIY (do-it-yourself) activities at the craft bazaar, it said. The Ministry of Tourism is also promoting local products of Jammu and Kashmir, and products under the ODOP (one district one product).
So, papier-mache boxes, saffron, walnuts, Qahwa cups and brass spoon will be given to delegate as souvenirs, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh told reporters on Friday.
The delegates will have the opportunity to embark on a serene shikara ride across the picturesque Dal Lake, where they can relish cultural performances along its tranquil shores. Additionally, the mayor of Srinagar will host a luncheon for the G20 delegates within the city, while the Lt Governor of J&K will organize a gala dinner in their honor.
Importance Of The Event
This G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar aims to strengthen economic growth, preserve cultural heritage, and promote sustainable development of the region. A successful event held in Kashmir can change the perception about the region and boost tourism. Politically, it will send out a message to the world that things have returned to normalcy in Kashmir after the abrogation of the Article 370.
Overall, it will be a big opportunity for India to show Kashmir’s true potential.