During the recently concluded 3rd G20 Tourism Tourism Track meeting in Srinagar, the member countries, invited countries and international organisations actively participated by providing inputs and feedback on the Goa Roadmap for tourism, which serves as a means to achieve the five priority areas set aside, as well as the G20 Tourism Ministers’ Declaration.
Adding that the Ministry of Tourism had high quality discussions with the delegates, Tourism Secretary, Govt of India, Arvind Singh said that these two deliverables served as the primary outcomes of the tourism track meet that was held from May 22 to May 24.
Singh, while addressing a media briefing, said that some members were expected to provide their suggestions in writing, following which the final draft of the documents would be prepared by UNWTO. These final versions will be presented at the fourth TWG meeting and the Ministerial meeting. Subsequently, the Goa Roadmap, along with a ministerial communique, will be officially released following the conclusion of the G20 tourism working group’s last meeting, which is set to take place in Goa from June 18 to June 22.
During the third G20 Tourism Working Group (TWG) meeting which was attended by over 60 delegates from various countries, substantial strides have been made in the finalisation of the Goa Roadmap for Tourism, aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The participants in the meeting have reached an agreement on the five interconnected priority areas leading to these goals, said Singh. These include green tourism, digitisation, skill development, support for tourism micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and destination management.
“We have had three meetings of G20 Tourism track and the one in Srinagar was a huge success,” he affirmed.
The delegates also termed their Srinagar visit as “entrancing” and worth it and are hoping to spread the positive word out about the region’s prominence as a tourist destination. Speaking about the potential impact of the G20 meeting on tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh expressed optimism and said that it would provide a significant boost to tourism in the region, which already is becoming a thriving hub for both domestic and international tourists.
Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a record footfall of 1.88 crore domestic tourists in 2022, with 26 lakh visiting the Kashmir valley, shared Singh. These tourism numbers are expected to surpass two crore in 2023, indicating a positive trajectory.
While these figures primarily represent domestic tourism, the arrival of foreign tourists is also anticipated to increase. Citing a recent example of a group of tourists from Singapore who arrived in Kashmir via a chartered flight, coinciding with the timing of the G20 meeting, Singh said this indicates the growing interest and potential for international tourism in the region.
During the event, the Draft National Strategy for Film Tourism was revealed in the presence of senior government officials followed by a MoU which was also signed by the Tourism Ministry with FICCI for jointly promoting film tourism.
In addition to the main proceedings and inaugural session, a side event titled ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ was organised with a focus on implementing strategies to promote film tourism. Following this panel discussions were also held on the sidelines deliberating on the challenges related to country-specific facilitators implemented to promote destinations through films and it also underscored the significant impact that film tourism can have on these destinations.
“Post 1990s, filmmakers have consistently recognised and explored the potential of Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in the attraction of numerous tourists to the region. The J&K govt has also rolled out a film tourism policy a couple of years ago and is providing lucrative incentives along with easing the clearance process. As a result, the government has given a nod to almost 300 films in the last two years and numbers are poised to grow further,” Singh added.