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The 3rd G20 Tourism Working Group (TWG) meeting under India's G20 presidency culminated successfully with foreign delegates hoping that the summit will help bring more foreign tourists to Jammu and Kashmir UT in the ensuing year.
The meeting, held in Srinagar from May 22 to 24, was attended by more than 122 delegates, including 60 foreigners. The delegates were excited about the brainstorming sessions, place, and agenda of the meeting. "We are happy to be here. The place presents a beautiful look and gives a heavenly feeling. This place is more beautiful than what we had expected. People are amazing, so we will definitely spread a word about Kashmir's beauty in our respective countries," said a delegate in Nishat Garden.
A woman delegate after buying handicraft items at the newly renovated Polo View market said Kashmiris are "very welcoming". "I feel as if I'm at home, completely safe and happy. I will try to come here every year, because the valley is indeed a heaven on earth," she said, adding that the mountains covered with snowfall present a beautiful look and give a heavenly feeling.
Netherland's envoy Joyce said that they expect a good outcome from the G20 Summit as India has done good work. "Kashmir is a beautiful place and the government had made the best arrangements for them during their three-day stay in Srinagar," Joyce said.
Delegates say Kashmir was far more beautiful than they had thought it to be.
"I had imagined the beauty of Kashmir from my childhood. This place is certainly more beautiful than I imagined. I have captured the beauty and beautiful moments of Kashmir. These will stay with me. People, food, culture, and hospitality... I have no words, how beautiful this place is," another delegate said, adding that the place (Kashmir) needs a push at the global level.
The delegates walked around Boulevard Road on Dal Lake and visited Polo View Market in the heart of the City (Lal Chowk), where they shopped and explored products such as shawls, and handicrafts.
The event also provided an opportunity to the various stakeholders to give their suggestions and feedback on the factors that will encourage filmmakers to shoot in various locations in the UT.
"We hope this will promote tourism. We also hope foreign tourists will come and this will end unemployment here. Now, the entire world knows that Kashmiris are good hosts and we welcomed the delegates open-heartedly," said Imtiyaz Ahmad, a local resident of Srinagar.
G20 Sherpa, Amitabh Kant said, PM Narendra Modi believes that tourism has the biggest multiplier effect being the biggest job creator and this G20 meeting will lead to more job creation in J&K.
"There is no better film destination than Kashmir which has everything to offer to the film industry. Grateful to the wonderful people of Kashmir for making G20 an unforgettable experience! Thank you to the dynamic L-G Manoj Sinha, his team, and all officers whose dedication and hard work made this meeting a resounding success. Your efforts are greatly appreciated," G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant said.
Minister of State, PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh during the summit said the youth of Kashmir is highly aspirational, sensitive and forward looking who can see the enormous opportunities unfolded by PM Narendra Modi for the people of this country.
"This 3rd Tourism Working Group Meeting at Srinagar along with its side events will create job opportunities for the youth of Jammu and Kashmir as the new and peaceful Jammu and Kashmir is attracting filmmakers across the world due to its pristine beauty," Singh said.
This is the best time happening in Jammu and Kashmir under PM Narendra Modi as such events will have a multifarious enrichment for J&K, said Dr. Jitendra Singh.
Tuesday, while addressing the G20 gathering, Jammu and Kashmir Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha said that Jammu Kashmir is witnessing a new era and it has opened up limitless possibilities of growth and peace.
He said that tourism in Jammu & Kashmir is also a reflection of the multi-religious and multi-cultural ethos of India.
The Lt. Governor had 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 had said.
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, he had said.
"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 nation building," the Lt. Governor had said.