City Sprucing Up Work In Srinagar Almost Over, Foolproof Security Arrangements: Union Tourism Secy On G20 TWG Meet

New Delhi, May 19: Days ahead of the third G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting to be held in Srinagar, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh on Friday said “foolproof security arrangements” are there for it, and work on sprucing up of the capital city of Jammu and Kashmir for the event is almost over.
At a press conference here, he also said that of the member countries, which are part of the G20, three have not registered till date, though the last date to register is May 22. Singh added that about 60 foreign delegates are expected to take part in the event to be held from May 22-24.
In response to a query, Singh said, the delegates will take a ride on shikara on Dal Lake and attend cultural performances on its bank. The mayor of Srinagar will host a lunch for G20 delegates in the city, besides a gala dinner to be hosted by the Lt Governor of J&K.
The Group of Twenty (G20) is an inter-governmental forum comprising 19 countries – Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States, and the European Union.
Asked if Turkiye and China have registered, officials said, not so far.
Two Tourism Working Group (TWG) meetings of the G20 have already taken place at Runn of Kutch in Gujarat and Siliguri-Darjeeling, and the stage is now set for the third one which will take place in Srinagar from May 22-24, Singh said.
A side event on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ is being organised on May 22, focusing on strategies to promote film tourism. The event will see participation of G20 member countries, invited countries, international organisations, and industry stakeholders including leading producers from the film industry, the officials said.
This side event will also include unveiling of the draft ‘National Strategy on Film Tourism’ that will provide a roadmap for harnessing the role of films in promoting tourist destinations. Besides, a panel discussion featuring speakers from G20 member countries, invited countries will shed light on country-specific enablers and challenges in promoting destinations through films, the Tourism Ministry said.
Inputs will also be taken on this draft at the TWG meeting in Srinagar, and after multiple discussions, it is expected to be completed in “three months”, officials said.
Along the sidelines of the main event, a national-level side event is organised along with FICCI which will focus on ‘Promoting Incredible India through Film Tourism,’ offering states and union territories an opportunity to share their policies and best practices that have facilitated the development of film tourism. Industry stakeholders will also provide suggestions on encouraging filmmakers to shoot in various locations across the country , it said.
India is currently holding the presidency of the G20, and special invitee guest countries are — Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the UAE.
Egypt has not registered so far for the third TWG, the officials said.
The G20 meet in Jammu & Kashmir is being billed as the first major international event being hosted in the state after the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and the bifurcation of the erstwhile state into the Union Territories of J and K, and Ladakh.
It was on August 5, 2019, when the Centre had ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and restrictions imposed in the region had severely impacted tourism there.
In the last two years, J&K has registered a rise in tourist influx.
Asked about the security arrangements for the event, Singh told reporters, “I cannot tell you much on it, as this aspect is being taken care of under the aegis of the Home Ministry. The Home Ministry is making all foolproof arrangements. The Home Secretary himself visited there. Last week, he took two meetings, in which senior officials of J&K, the chief secretary, the DGP, and I, were there in the meeting. So, nothing to worry from the point of view of security. Very foolproof arrangements there”.
Hectic work is underway in Srinagar ahead of the crucial event, and the Smart City project works have also been sped up.
“In a meeting yesterday, the chief secretary assured us that almost all sprucing up work from airport to the city, and of the city area under the Smart City project, is almost over. And, balance work will be over by tomorrow, May 20. So, by the time delegates arrive, work should be over,” he said.
In Srinagar, delegates will be treated to cultural programmes at the Sher-e-Kashmir Convention Centre.
Later, they were to go to Gulmarg for gondola ride. A technical session on promotion of film tourism was also planned to be hosted there.
However, Gulmarg has now been dropped out of the itinerary, with Singh saying that “we were expecting a smaller number of participants”, but, it was now felt that it will lead to a lot of “logistics issue”.
The delegates will have an excursion in and around Srinagar.
Under India’s G20 Tourism Track, the TWG is working on five inter-connected priority areas — green tourism, digitisation, skills, tourism MSMEs and destination. These priorities are key building blocks for accelerating the transition of the tourism sector and achieve the targets for 2030 SDGs.There are two key deliverables of the TWG, which are “GOA Roadmap for tourism as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development goals and G20 Tourism Ministers’ Declaration”.
The Ministry of Tourism is making “positive progress” on finalising the two key deliverables. During this meeting, G20 member countries, invited countries, and international organisations will give inputs and feedback on these two draft documents. After negotiations with G20 member countries on these drafts, final versions will be placed in the fourth TWG meeting and Ministerial meeting, slated to take place in Goa n June.
The ministry has also planned a side event along with CII on ‘Ecotourism as a vehicle to achieve Sustainable Development Goal’. (Agencies)

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