New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir is all set to host the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar today, its first major international event since the abrogation of Article 370. For the three-day Summit, the Union Territory has been put under a three-tier security grid and the National Security Guard (NSG), the MARCOS commandos, and Jammu and Kashmir Police’s special operation group (SOG) have been deployed in and around the Sher Kashmir International Convention Center (SKICC), the venue for the meeting.
The meeting will witness the participation of G20 member countries, invited countries, international organisations and industry stakeholders, and will deliberate on the five key priority areas — green tourism, digitalization, skills, MSMEs, and destination management. The foreign delegates will also be taken to the markets of Srinagar and will be introduced to the arts and crafts of Jammu and Kashmir.
Addressing a press conference at SKICC on Sunday, G20 Chief Coordinator Harsh Vardhan Shringla said that Srinagar has gone through a massive make-over and developmental works in the last few years, particularly in the last few months to welcome delegates from different countries. The G20 Tourism Working Group meeting has the highest delegate participation and will be the ‘most significant event’ held in Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
“The very idea is to use this meeting to bring attention to Jammu and Kashmir and how it can help revive handicrafts, etc. It is an opportunity to present our rich culture and heritage. No other working group does it better than the tourism group,” Harsh Vardhan Shringla said.
This will be the most significant event in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
“We have hosted 118 meetings from the Rann of Kutch to Kohima and from Kanyakumari and now to Kashmir. There has been a sense of attachment everywhere and I have no doubt it is the same in Srinagar… As we drive around Srinagar, we see a completely transformed city. Srinagar today is vastly more beautiful. (It has) better amenities. It is truly a smart city, which you would want to showcase to the world,” he said.
A side event on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ will be organised on May 22-23, focusing on strategies to promote film tourism in the Union Territory. A draft ‘National Strategy on Film Tourism’ will also be unveiled to provide a roadmap for harnessing the role of films in promoting tourist destinations.