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J&K to become best destination in the world, find its place global travellers bucket: LG Sinha

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Srinagar: On the day 2 of G20 meeting, J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday said that 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 travelers.

The high profile third G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting kicked off in Srinagar on Monday amid unprecedented security. The three day G20 meet, is the first major international event in Jammu and Kashmir since 2019, when the erstwhile state’s special status was scrapped and it became a Union Territory.

Addressing the delegates during the inaugural session of the third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) Srinagar, the Lt Governor invited the world to Jammu Kashmir.

“Through this empowered gathering, I invite the world to Jammu Kashmir. Give us a chance to host you and, for you, to know us. Come, enjoy and rejuvenate yourself,” he said.

Lieutenant Governor said their 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.

He said a record number of 18 million tourists visited Jammu and Kashmir in the last year and the tourism sector made a 7 percent contribution to the GDP (Gross Domestic Product)

He said 300 new destinations have been identified to promote green tourism in Jammu and Kashmir and small & medium enterprises, youth and women entrepreneurs and involve local communities to support the sustainable tourism.

He said the tourism sector in Jammu Kashmir has been accorded the status of Industry and all fiscal incentives as per our Industrial Policy.

“I can tell you, we are receiving massive investment proposals from the Industries in the Hospitality sector”, he added.

Several destinations in Jammu Kashmir are living examples of connection between the ancient and the modern, inclusive culture, history, music and traditional cuisine that can truly provide elevated travel experiences to the people around the world, he added.

“It is not surprising that in the modern days, one of the oldest travel guide book publishers ‘Lonely Planet’ chose to call Jammu Kashmir as Switzerland of India”, he said.

“I am truly delighted that under India’s G20 Presidency, the G20 tourism working group is focusing on five inter- connected priority areas that will provide a roadmap for tourism as a tool for achieving sustainable development goals,” the Lieutenant said.

It’s encouraging for us to share 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.

The Lieutenant Governor said that after a long pause of almost 4-decades, they have revived the relationship with Bollywood and launched a film policy in 2021 to attract more investment into the film sector and to make Jammu Kashmir the most popular film shooting destination.

For almost 30 years, this land of peaceful co-existence of almost all religious sects had to suffer state sponsored terrorism by our neighbouring country.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji 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,” he said.

Jammu Kashmir is witnessing a new era that has opened limitless possibilities of growth and peace, he said adding now even foreign investments are also coming into Jammu and Kashmir, green shoots of better times people are anxiously looking up to.

“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. I would like to mention here that tourism in Jammu Kashmir is also a reflection of the multi-religious and multi-cultural ethos of India”, Lieutenant Governor said.

He said Jammu Kashmir stands among the developed regions of India on some measurable milestones, and we are committed for people’s prosperity both economically and socially.

“The world can see that the 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”, he said.

“Our speed to execute infrastructure projects has gone up almost 10 times. In the last financial year, we have completed 92,560 projects.This achievement is a testimony to our resolve of peace and prosperity and making all our citizens equal partners in this journey of growth”, he added.

He said they are developing the country’s largest book village on the banks of Wular lake and many hiking trails for tourists who love the tranquility of nature.

“Our aim is to make the countryside and popular destinations more sustainable and preserve the beauty of fascinating heritage sites, ” he added.

During the inaugural session Union Tourism Minister, G. Kishan Reddy; Union MoS Jitendra Singh; Union MoS Ajay Bhatt; G20 Sherpa, 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.

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