G20 meet generates hopes

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As the Third G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting in Srinagar city is concluding and delegates will return to their respective destinations on Wednesday, there is lot of hope among the people in Kashmir that the very commencement of the event here would have promising results for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and this place will emerge on the global tourism map with more promising and prominent place. It is satisfactory that the even generated quiet great response from the member countries and had the highest participation registered compared to the first two Tourism Working Group Meetings at Rann of Kutch and Siliguri. The participants of the event will deliberated on the five key priority areas — Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, MSMEs and Destination Management and will now give valuable inputs and feedback on draft documents and after negotiations with G20 Member Countries on these drafts, final versions will be placed in the ‘Fourth Tourism Working Group Meeting’ to be held in Goa.

While one should appreciate the Union Government for its decision of holding this event here, the UT administration too needs to be credited for organising it aesthetically and creatively thus showcasing Kashmir’s scenic beauty, crafts, heritage and culture in a proper manner. It goes without saying that Kashmir is the most sought after tourism destination domestically and used to attract good number of foreign tourists as well. However, the violence that erupted in early 90’s has had very adverse impact on tourism. While several countries issued travel advisories to their citizens against visiting Kashmir, the turbulent atmosphere also reduced the domestic tourist footfall drastically. Once the flourishing business sector tourism, adding to the GDP of the state, came trembling down and the people associated with faced too many problems.

Fortunately, post 2019, this sector has once again picked up following the improvement in the situation and a huge tourist footfall was witnessed in 2022 and hopefully, 2023 is going to see much more visitors in comparison to previous year. The event which is concluding on Wednesday is going to be a game changer as it would undoubtedly send a message world over that Kashmir is all ready to receive tourists from any part of the world. The delegates have seen it for themselves that how peaceful and beautiful the place is and undoubtedly will be the ambassadors of Kashmir to promote the tourism industry here.

People of Kashmir have very high hopes and expect to see a bloom in tourist sector. Thankfully the UT administration too is serious about the issue and has been concentrating on infrastructure building to make the place more tourist friendly. The beautification of Srinagar city under Smart City Project is one such step that will help the tourism sector in days to come.

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