Srinagar: The Lieutenant Governor, Shri Manoj Sinha addressed the meeting of the 3rd Tourism Working Group (TWG) of G20, today.
Addressing the gathering, the Lt Governor underlined why J&K was selected by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for G20 meeting. He explained that Jammu Kashmir is witnessing a new era under the leadership of PM and it has opened up limitless possibilities of growth and peace.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi through development schemes that empowers masses and Union Territory’s effective administration isolated the terror eco-system which thrived with the support from across the border. Now even foreign investments are also coming into Jammu and Kashmir, green shoots of better times people are anxiously looking up to,” the Lt Governor said.
He also said that tourism in Jammu Kashmir is also a reflection of multi-religious and multi-cultural ethos of India.
The Lt Governor underlined the importance of peace for growth and tourism.
“Tourism cannot grow in isolation. The economics of it is fine, that tourism needs good infrastructure, sound policies and effective and responsive administration. No less fundamental to me is the fact that only peace and happiness of people can bring warmth in the hospitality, we Indians eternally enjoy,” the Lt Governor said.
He said today, Jammu Kashmir stands among the developed regions of India on some measurable milestones, and the administration is committed for people’s prosperity both economically and socially.
“Prime Minister Modi has completely eliminated injustice, exploitation and discrimination which several sections of society faced for seven long decades owing to circumstances that evolved mostly because of orchestration from abroad. We are ensuring social equality and equal economic opportunity to all citizens, which is also enabling them to contribute to the nation building,” the Lt Governor said.
Throwing light on the transformation of Jammu Kashmir, the Lt Governor said that the grass root democracy has been strengthened; new industries are coming up, rapid agricultural growth is making our villages prosperous, new institutions have been opened up in higher education, youths are being trained for Industry 4.0 technologies, infrastructure development is progressing rapidly and our emphasis on technology is transforming Jammu Kashmir into a digital society. He said in the past 4 years, the ranking of Jammu Kashmir on the various parameters of sustainable development goals have gone up, thanks to visionary leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
“The world can see that entire society, especially the young generation is scripting a bright future for themselves and the nation. The speed and scale of rapid development in Jammu Kashmir are awe-inspiring. Our speed to execute infrastructure projects has gone up almost 10 times,” the Lt Governor said.
Acknowledging the impact of covid pandemic on the tourism and world, the Lt Governor said, Covid pandemic made the world realize the hard way the virtues of traveller’s well-being and also the values of a shared vision One earth, One family and One future.
“The paradigm shift towards sustainable living, inclusive and sustainable development is also an opportunity to provide new impetus to sustainable tourism. I am truly delighted that under India’s G20 Presidency, the G20 Tourism Working Group is focusing on five inter-connected priority areas. Green tourism, digitalization, skills, tourism MSMEs and destination management will provide a roadmap for tourism as a tool for achieving sustainable development goals,” the Lt Governor remarked as he noted that Jammu and Kashmir is already working on a few of the priority areas identified by the G20 Tourism Working Group like on Green Tourism, Skills, Tourism MSMEs and Digitalization.
He emphasised that in the post-pandemic era five key building blocks will promote environmental awareness, protect the ecology and improve the economy and livelihoods of communities and inclusive growth of stakeholders.
Underlining that the G20 TWG meeting is taking place in the land of majestic peaks, crystal-clear lakes and serene green landscape, the Lt Governor said, Jammu Kashmir is more than a tourism destination.
“It is a poetry. It’s a land of realisation. It is an energy field vibrating with the ageless Indian cultural values. Under the guidance of Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi Ji, we have ensured that the transition in tourism sector in the backdrop of pandemic focuses on needs of travellers, interests of industry stakeholders, creates employment opportunities and promote environmental awareness,” the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor noted that a record number of 18 million tourists visited Jammu Kashmir And, the last year, the tourism sector made 7% contribution to Jammu Kashmir GDP. We have identified 300 new destinations to promote green tourism, small & medium enterprises, youth and women entrepreneurs and involve local communities to support the sustainable tourism.
“Tourism sector in Jammu Kashmir has been accorded the status of Industry and all fiscal incentives as per our Industrial Policy and I can tell you, we are receiving massive investment proposals from the industries in hospitality sector,” the Lt Governor said.
The Lt Governor said that after a long pause of almost 4-decades, J&K UT administration has revived the relationship with Bollywood and launched a film policy in 2021 to attract more investment into film sector. He also said that more than 300 movies were filmed in the region last year and such enthusiasm is bringing about a qualitative change in the lives of people.
“Our aim is to make the countryside and popular destinations more sustainable and preserve the beauty of fascinating heritage sites. I am confident, under the leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Jammu Kashmir will soon find its place in the top 50 destinations in the world and it will be on the travel bucket list of global travellers,” the Lt Governor observed.
During the inaugural session Union Tourism Minister, Sh. G. Kishan Reddy; Union MoS Dr. Jitendra Singh; Union MoS Sh Ajay Bhatt; G20 Sherpa, Sh. Amitabh Kant; G20 Chief Coordinator, Harsh Vardhan Shringla; delegates of G20 nations, invitees from observer countries and representatives from various multi-lateral organisations were present. (GNs)