NEW DELHI: India is planning to host a total of 215 G-20 meetings over 55 locations next year. The probable venues for the upcoming meetings include Kashmir, Siliguri, Rann of Kutch and Goa. The first three venues have been shortlisted for the tourism track meeting led by India’s G20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant. Goa has been identified for the ministerial-level meeting of G20 leaders.
After the abrogation of Article 370, the Government is keen to underline the normalcy in Kashmir. In the past, it had organised visits of foreign dignitaries, diplomats and envoys representing various countries to the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir. The Valley’s selection will take the above exercise to new heights. The tourism industry, in particular, will get a big boost.
The G20 tourism track and ministerial meeting present a rare opportunity to share time-tested and feasible steps or strategies that can be utilised to ensure that people working in tourism industry are optimally educated and skilled in line with contemporary advancement in the digitisation. These meetings facilitate exchange of best practices in the field of entrepreneurship, industry traits and market needs and wants.
In his virtual address at the valedictory session of the National Conference of State Tourism Ministers in Dharamshala early this week, Kant had said, “Every visitor who comes to India to attend the G20 summit should return as a brand ambassador and elevated as an Indian both spiritually and physically.
For this, states must not copy the West but go back to their roots to leverage what makes them most unique.”
Approximately 60 of the 215 meetings will be G20 working group meetings and around 50 will be engagement group meets. According to highly placed sources at G20 Secretariat, the high-level ministerial meetings will take place in 13 different cities from Agra to Kochi. Many of these meetings will also be at the level of non-Governmental interactions: civil society groups, think-tanks, business, media and other such groupings from G20 countries.
Several cultural and heritage sites are also being finalised to host some of these meetings. These include Unesco World Heritage sites such as Ajanta Caves in Maharashtra, Hampi in Karnataka and Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu. According to Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh, the Central Government is putting all efforts to highlight India as the preferred tourist destination. The G20 Secretariat is working in close coordination with the Union Ministry of Tourism and Union Ministry of Culture, on an elaborate itinerary which includes identifying hotels, travel agency and tour guides etc.
The delegates landing in India for various meetings will be taken on familiarisation tours to scenic spots across the country. “With all the major economies in attendance, this is an excellent opportunity to leverage India as a major tourism destination during the G20 presidency,” Singh said.
Also, during India’s G-20 presidency, more than 250 cultural events will be organised on the sidelines of key meetings for delegates.
Later this year, before assuming the G20 presidency, India will also take part in the World Travel Mart in London from November 7-9. During the conference, India will stress on its G20 presidency. The Government has also begun the process of identifying and appointing tourism officers to highlight and promote the country as a tourism hub through its missions abroad.