The Bold Voice of J&K

G20 will Bluster Tourism in J&K

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Omkar Dattatray

There is no controversy and doubt that the three day G20 working group meeting which recently concluded in Srinagar will boost and bluster the tourism economy of Jammu and Kashmir. It will provide much needed and badly needed employment opportunities in the UT and benefit the educated unemployed youth of the Jammu and Kashmir. There is vast untapped tourism potential in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and according to the film stars who visited the UT in connection with the third tourism working commented that there is vast untapped opportunities which will take next 95 years for exploitation.
It thus follows that the UT has enormous tourist potential which requires to be exploited and tapped for developing the vast tourist spots in the UT. There is great need to exploit the tourist potential of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and this will give imputes to the tourist economy of the UT because a big number of the people of Jammu and Kashmir are directly and indirectly associated with the tourist industry and therefore there is great need and necessity to exploit the tourist potential of Jammu and Kashmir so that the benefit if livelihood is provided to a big number of the residents of J&K who are dependent on the income from tourism and so this important sector if he UT’s economy needs to be tapped and developed for the benefit of large number of the people who depend on their livelihood on tourism and allied activities. Post high profile G20 meeting, all the stakeholders in tourism and trade are upbeat that accruing benefits of the decisions taken in the meetings are on anvils.
The focus of G20 is sustainable tourism. The G20 presidency provides a strong platform for India to promote its agenda of developing sustainable/green tourism practices. The G20 presidency could not have come at a better time for India ,especially its tourism sector. India is witnessing a revival of inbound arrivals and domestic travelers. The G20 will capitalize to achieve pre COVID 19 number and perhaps even exceed them this year and lay out the long term agenda for promoting sustainable tourism globally. Tourism in the Jammu and Kashmir supports and sustains local economies by creating economic opportunities and employment for local communities.
We aim to empower local communities through tourism and meet sustainable goals. This narrative has been received favorably by delegates in G20 meeting in Srinagar as well .The power of sustainable tourism cannot be undermined especially since as it has high employment generation potential which can be created by imparting skills to local people. At the same time we want to unleash the power of digitization to provide much needed ease of Tourism which benefits domestic and international tourism. Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir had recently hosted the 3rd G20 tourism working group meeting and it has extensively deliberated on the scope and potential of tourism development in Jammu and Kashmir and the tourism department of J&K will focus on the development of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.
The feedback of the G20 meeting will be done and it will be seen how the tourism sector of the UT will be developed and will get a boost. The department of Tourism, J&K is the main developmental, promotional and regulatory arm of the J&K government. It main role comprises of overall planning and execution of the schemes for the development of tourism. G20 summit in Kashmir gave massive fillip to tourism sector.
The G20 meeting will promote Kashmir as global tourism destination. With inclusive and sustainable initiatives taken by the Modi government, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir believe that the event can serve as a power booster for the local economy and a progressive factor for the business community in the region to explore multidimensional growth opportunities. The tourism industry, which has played a crucial role in the development of the UT. However years of instability have impacted the tourism industry, leading to a decline in the number of visitors. Tourism players in Kashmir believe that G20 summit can attract investors and tourists from across the globe. This meeting in Srinagar is set to boost tourism. Furthermore the meeting has provided our Jammu and Kashmir UT a platform to showcase its beauty to the entire world said Umar Bukari a local resident of Jammu and Kashmir.
He said, “Things are changing for the betterment of people here in J&K. Since the last few years we have seen the LG Manoj Sinha led administration massively investing on development which is a positive sign.” Locals apart, tourism players in the valley also believe that due to the developmental projects in ,the footfall of tourists has increased in J-K which indirectly is helping the trader community and in return is also boosting the economy.
“It is the first time we are seeing such a tourist season in the valley, Hordes of tourists from various parts of country are travelling to the valley as the Heaven on Earth -a sobriquet given t o Kashmir -is seeing tangible signs of return to normalcy,” Mehraj Ahmad, a tourist guide in north Kashmir’s Gulmarg said adding that the influx of foreign delegates and participants, along with showcasing the tourist destination can put UT Pedestal in terms of tourism. The GOI is also making a significant thrust to ensure better infrastructural facilities for the regions people and entire visitors.
This has resulted in a fortuitous surge in tourist activities with better law and order, a promising security system and maintenance of peace in addition to infrastructural and connectivity improvements.
Tourism is the life line of Jammu and Kashmir and all possible efforts need to be undertaken for retaining, maintaining and sustaining it. The LG has rightly expressed his gratitude towards honorable Prime minister Narendra Modi for sanctioning Rs 786 crore for the promotion of tourism and culture in Jammu and Kashmir, which is about Rs 508 crore more than last year’s budget.
Kashmir is heaven on earth but over the last years terrorism has turned it into hell.
Tourism in J&K is one of the most important sectors of its economy.
It is observed that majority of Kashmir’s are peace loving but they are not so vocal due to obvious threats.
Tourism has now become a significant industry in J&K contributing enormously to the UT’s economy and providing employment to large number of people. Tourism sector is being developed as per the vision of sustainable development goals.
Besides dedicated focus is given to strengthening the hospitality segment and for establishing a robust tourism infrastructure system. In brief the G20 countries recent summit is going to develop the tourism sector so that it attracts global attention and it becomes a means to develop the tourist sector in Jammu and Kashmir and provide employment opportunities to lakhs of people.
(The author is a columnist, social and KP activist).

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