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Rebranding Kashmir: G20 Meeting Sets the Stage for a Thriving Tourism Industry, Leaving Terrorism Behind 

Srinagar, India, May 24: The ‘Third G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting’ concluded successfully after a three-day event, held from May 22nd to 24th, 2023 in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir. With around 57 delegates representing 17 countries in attendance, this meeting witnessed the highest participation recorded for a Tourism Working Group Meeting this year, surpassing the previous gatherings at Rann of Kutch and Siliguri.  

The event showcased Kashmir’s breathtaking scenic beauty and rich cultural heritage, marking a significant step toward reviving the region’s tourism industry while leaving behind the shadows of terrorism

Key discussions during the meeting centred around five priority areas: Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, MSMEs, and Destination Management. These priorities serve as fundamental pillars for accelerating the growth of the tourism sector and promoting long-lasting peace and prosperity for the people of Kashmir. 

In recent years, the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir has notably improved, decreasing terrorist attacks. The number of incidents has dropped from 417 in 2018 to 229 in 2021, instilling confidence among potential tourists.  

With over 26.7 lakh tourist arrivals in 2022, the highest in three decades, Kashmir’s tourism industry is finally experiencing a long-awaited recovery. 

This influx of tourists has had a significant positive impact on the local Kashmiris, benefiting various sectors associated with tourism, such as hotels, guest houses, houseboats, homestays, resorts, and other related services. 

The central government has made substantial investments in infrastructure development, with a foreign investment of INR 33,000 crore (~450 million USD) received last year from Gulf countries, including the UAE. 

The G20 meeting held in Srinagar will help attract international tourists to explore the diverse locations of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.  

Delegates had the opportunity to visit several renowned attractions, including the famous Mughal Gardens situated on Dal Lake, the Pari Mahal nestled at the foothills of the Zabarwan hill range, and the bustling Polo View Market in Srinagar’s commercial hub. 

Enthusiasm for exploring Kashmir’s beauty was palpable among the international delegates, as reflected in numerous interviews.  

Felix De Paz, a delegate from Spain, expressed his happiness with the decision to hold the G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting in Srinagar, Kashmir, emphasizing the perfect location. De Paz further endorsed the objectives and goals set by the Indian G20 presidency, recognizing tourism as a powerful tool for fostering lasting peace and prosperity for the people of Kashmir. 

An important side event during the meeting focused on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation.’ This discussion shed light on the historical contribution of Bollywood movies, which showcased the scenic beauty of Kashmir and its surroundings, greatly boosting the region’s tourism sector.  

The return of the national and international film industry to Kashmir is expected to rejuvenate tourism further. 

Undoubtedly, this event will be pivotal in rebranding Jammu and Kashmir from a land scarred by conflict to a heavenly paradise of unrivalled beauty.  


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