G20 Meeting Takeaway

FLUSHED with the success of the two-day G20 Tourism Working Group meeting, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday expressed his optimism during the press conference that capped the event. The LG Sinha said that Jammu and Kashmir would soon rise as one of the world’s top 50 global tourism destinations. He affirmed the government’s commitment to promoting region as a diverse and inclusive destination, showcasing its natural beauty, and prioritizing sustainable tourism practices.

The G20 meeting was one of the most significant international events held in J&K since the nullification of Article 370 in 2019. By hosting this event, the Indian government showed that most of the major world powers not only endorsed the move but also acknowledged the prevailing normalcy. The effort of both the central government and the LG administration is now to build on the gains in peace and use it to bring more tourists to the region.

However, improving infrastructure, including road, rail connectivity and the accommodation, is crucial to attracting tourists. Sinha emphasized that tourism cannot thrive in isolation; it requires robust infrastructure, well-defined policies, and efficient administration, reflecting the government’s recognition of the necessary factors for creating an enabling environment for tourism to flourish. Sinha is also correct in stating that J&K is more than just a tourism destination as it represents a blend of diverse cultures and histories. By leveraging this unique identity, the region can attract a global audience.

Last year, J&K witnessed a record over one crore tourists, contributing 7 percent to its GDP. To sustain this growth, the government has identified 300 new destinations for promotion, emphasizing green tourism, micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and the active participation of local communities. Such initiatives will not only enhance tourism but also contribute to the region’s overall development. The rise in the number of movies filmed in J&K further signifies the region’s increasing popularity and the positive impact it has on the local economy and people’s lives.

Recently, the LG Sinha also set an ambitious goal of hosting two crore tourists in the UT. in 2023. But as rightly pointed out by him at the press conference, the administration needs to focus on building and upgrading its infrastructure before bringing more tourists to the region. Improving transportation infrastructure, providing quality accommodation, ensuring basic amenities, and addressing security concerns must be the top priority for the government. Only then can Jammu & Kashmir truly capitalize on its potential as a tourism destination.

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