G20 tourism summit : A historical opportunity for Kashmir . Cover story, 22 May , 2023.

G20 tourism summit : A historical opportunity for Kashmir 

News Kashmir Exclusive 

History has been written in golden words.On the shores of the Dal Lake, Sher-e-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) is all set to host this year’s largest international summit from May 22 to May 24. Kashmir hosting G20 summit on Tourism is a historically much optimistic news for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. 

Tourism players in Kashmir believe that the G20 Summit can attract investors and tourists from across the globe.

Stating that G-20 was purely a peoples’ event, Jammu and Kashmir’s Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on April 15 said the event would provide a great opportunity to push J-K’s handloom, handicraft, Pashmina, and dry fruit to international markets.

To make the occasion attractive and historic, Srinagar has been transformed into a smart city.

As plans were being finalised for the third meeting of the G20 tourism working group, Kashmir is getting ready to welcome visitors from a number of nations.

“G-20 which is scheduled to be held from May 22 to May 24 in Srinagar will provide an opportunity to push J-K’s handloom, handicraft, Pashmina, dry fruit, saffron and other products to international markets.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the real potential of the Union Territory to the world. It is not administration’s event but purely a people’s one,” the J-K LG said.

The G20 tourism summit would take place at a time when Kashmir is experiencing a boom in tourism and J-K draws significant investments in the tourism sector, besides medical cities, educational institutions, and other sectors.

We spoke to number of iconic personalities on the importance of the event for Kashmir. 

Rekha Mody, eminent women face of the country and head Stree Shakti and world traveller states:” G20 summit is a historical occasion for Kashmir. 

Biggest prospect of  prosperity of Kashmir valley is  tourism as in case of Switzerland. Peace will ensure flourishing tourism which will bring economic empowerment for all its native people. Both domestic and global tourism arrivals would see great change  with respect to Kashmir valley.”

Dr Kuwarani Ritu singh, eminent educationist and hospitality personality of the country stated :” 

Under the G20 presidency, the tourism and hospitality sector in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is poised to receive a significant boost to its economy. As one of the largest service industries globally, the tourism and hospitality sector plays a crucial role in driving economic growth and development. With the increasing influx of international tourists, Jammu and Kashmir has the potential to capitalize on this opportunity and further enhance its position as a prominent tourist destination.

The tourism and hospitality industry is one of the largest service industries in India. As other parts of hospitality rely heavily on the success of this all-encompassing sector, without travel and tourism, all businesses in any given location, would not be able to grow or even sustain themselves without this sector.

The recent upward trends in the growth of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir have greatly benefitted the hospitality sector. 

The rise in religious and experiential tourism can be catered to through Jammu and Kashmir’s cultural heritage, adventure sports, and spiritual tourism offerings along with sustainable and eco-friendly tourism practices placed ideally against the picturesque backdrop of Jammu and Kashmir’s breath-taking landscapes. 

The emergence of digital platforms and social media has transformed travel experiences, and hospitality businesses can leverage these tools to showcase their offerings.

By promoting film and adventure tourism, Jammu and Kashmir can diversify its tourism offerings and attract a wider range of travelers, ultimately bolstering the economy and creating employment opportunities within the hospitality sector.”

Elected representatives are also voicing their opinions. Safina Baig, Chairman DDC Baramulla stated : ” G20 session in Kashmir is a positive development of historic proportions.  The need of the hour is now that we build the required infrastructure to cater to growing needs of tourism and progress. Often escalating airfares is without a doubt a serious challenge and we need to take a holistic look into it and make them normal. Tourism , international summits all will contribute to peace and prosperity in region.”

Even eminent voices are sharing thoughts  on sustainable tourism.

Shahala Ali Sheikh, renowned entrepreneur and environmentalist stated :” 

 if you really think that the environment is less important than the economy – then try holding your breath while you count your money . We are hopeful that G20 Tourism summit in Kashmir would further strengthen the sustainable tourism in our entire region.”

Dr. Rashmi Singh, IAS, Commissioner Tax Jammu and Kashmir states :”Tourism promotion gives a significant boost to taxes we collect in form of GST.This is on account of hosts of services associated with tourism that come under tax net.

All hotels with room rents over 1000 have to charge GST as per recent notification. We are also bringing awareness amongst other service providers like house boat owners to collect and pay taxes on booking done by them

 Revenue thus collected after all goes to boost infrastructure which in turn further boosts tourism. So development and tax are interconnection.”

G20 tourism summit in Kashmir is a great opportunity to see peace and prosperity in entire region.