By Dr Himanshu Talwar
India undertook G20 Presidency from Indonesia on the 1st of December 2022 with the theme of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam (One Earth · One Family · One Future). The G20 Leaders’ Summit, 2023 will be the country’s first time as a host nation. It offers India an opportunity to further its own economic agenda by promoting its influence on the collective economic agenda of some of the most influential nations in the world. The G20 also grants India a chance to display its diversity as the largest democracy in the world as well as showcase to the member nations its excellence in various areas ranging from economic progress to science and technology, space, innovation and start-ups.
To briefly touch upon, the Group of Twenty, or G20, is a premier intergovernmental forum for international economic cooperation which brings together the world’s major advanced and developing economies. The G20 countries include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, EU, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, UK and USA. Together, these countries represent around 90% of global GDP, 80% of global trade, and two thirds of the world’s population.
The first instance of the G20 countries coming together was seen in December 1999. In Berlin, Germany, the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of advanced and emerging countries met to discuss key issues for global economic stability. Since then, Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors have met annually. In 2008, G20 was raised to the summit level to address the global financial and economic crisis of 2008.
Bali Summit 2022
The 17th annual G20 summit, which was held on 15 and 16 November, 2022 in Bali, Indonesia was a significant one. The three priorities of the Indonesian G20 presidency comprised of a series of economic measures and political commitments involving global health, the sustainable energy transition, and the digital revolution. The Bali Summit was the first in a row of Global South G20 presidencies, which marks the growth of the role of the emerging countries from the Global South. This was the first fully fledged in-person leaders’ meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic began and the Russia Ukraine crisis started. In addition to the ongoing tussle between the two nations, other issues of geopolitical tension, economic slowdown and rising food and energy prices were dwelled upon.
India’s G20 Presidency in 2023
In addition to various initiatives by the Government, India’s G20 Presidency aids at helping India promote itself as a major tourist destination. Under the aegis of India’s G20 Presidency, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India will be organizing the country’s first Global Tourism Investors Summit (GTIS) in New Delhi in May 2023, where all G-20 member countries will be invited to join in. India’s goal is to host more than 200 G20 meetings at over 50 sites, including chief tourist attractions in Rajasthan, Goa, and Jammu & Kashmir regions, as well as near the archaeological site of Dholavira in Gujarat and other historical memorials. It is pertinent to note that Government of India is also working towards pushing green initiatives to promote responsible tourism in the country and authorities plan to guarantee resources for green investments to small businesses and to create job opportunities.
Indian Tourism and G20 Presidency
The Government of India envisions of USD 56 Billion forex, creating around 140 million jobs in tourism by 2030 through inclusive growth and are specifically focusing on various forms of tourism such as wellness, spiritual, cruise, eco, adventure and many others. India’s commitment, especially the Ministry of Tourism’s can be gauged from the example of revamping and relaunching the Swadesh Darshan 2.0, a scheme which plans to focus on sustainable and responsible development of tourist destinations.
Be it the railways, aviation, roads, highways, waterways and various other departments/ ministries/ Authorities have been investing in sustainable development of tourism supporting infrastructure and parallelly promoting the tourism and hospitality sector through various other schemes and initiatives. India has already added various new airports, laid down miles of new railway tracks, constructed roads, and to welcome tourist have been providing online visa services for travellers/ delegates from about 160 countries. With an open and transparent investment policy government allows foreign investors to invest 100% in tourism related businesses, which would soon result in rapid and robust growth of the sector. Additionally, there are plans, and discussions are on to further ease visa rules and introduce/ implement more tourist-friendly immigration facilities at airports.
Outcome for India
The G20 Presidency provides India a great opportunity to boost its significance on the global stage. India’s tourism sector contributes 250 Bn USD GDP annually, it is one of the biggest sectors in the country. Uplifting the tourism sector during India’s G20 Presidency can pave the way to the growth of its tourism sector globally and lead the nation to a prosperous future.
Dr Himanshu Talwar is an Independent Consultant, who is working to promote Indian Tourism.
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