Union Minister of Tourism, Shri G. Kishan Reddy and Union Minister of State (Ind. Charge) Science & Technology, Dr. Jitendra Singh to inaugurate the 3rd G20 Tourism meeting

New Delhi: Union Ministers G.Kishan Reddy and Dr.Jitendra Singh will address the official inaugural ceremony ofthe 3rd G20 Tourism meeting scheduled to be held at Srinagar.

Following the inaugural ceremony, there will be two important working sessions, on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ focusing on strategies to promote film tourism and another session on ‘Eco tourism’. There is also time allocated for bilateral meetings among the delegates.
In an interview to a national news agency today, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh said, the very fact that the G20 meeting is being held in Srinagar is in itself an indication of the change that has happened over the last 9 years particularly after the pathbreaking initiatives taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Minister said that it is going to be a full-fledged, wholesome G 20 meeting, like at any other location. This is also an indication of the fact that now Jammu & Kashmir as a whole and especially Kashmir Valley, which was till a few years ago believed to be kind of a nerve centre of terrorism and militancy, is now in the same stream line of activity as any other city in the country.

The Minister emphasised that the event in Srinagar has been very professionally planned just like any other G20 event at any other place.

Additionally, for the delegates during their stay in Kashmir, soft events have also been added. One of them is hosted by the Department of Tourism, Government of India, which is dedicated to films. Some of the popular Stars from the film industry may also attend it. Another event is being hosted by the administration of the UT of J&K, which would be dedicated to highlight the various facets and the beauty of Kashmir, which is known as the Paradise on earth. A cultural programme has also been scheduled.

Dr. Jitendra Singh said that till a few years ago it was a taboo to visit Jammu & Kashmir and such kinds of events had virtually come to a halt since 1990. But what we see now is that of all the G20 meetings held all over the country, the maximum excitement is about the G20 meeting at Srinagar. The very fact that the location itself is Srinagar is adding an extra aura and enthusiasm, he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh said that he believes that this is also an opportunity for India to showcase the changed scenario of Jammu & Kashmir which has happened under Prime Minister Modi as it was a very committed approach accompanied with courage and conviction.

The Minister further said that the biggest change that has happened as a result of the outreach by Prime Minister Modi, apart from the fact that he was according special priority to Jammu & Kashmir as also to Northeast and also arranged for special visits by the members of other ministries, both to Northeast as well as to Jammu & Kashmir, but the change also has happened at the level of the common man. The common man walking in the streets of Srinagar now wants to move on. He has seen two generations getting sacrificed at the altar of terrorism, he said.

Talking about the youth he said that 70% of the population is below the age of 40 and the youth of Kashmir is highly aspirational. They are very well informed. They are fully aware of the enormous avenues, whether the StartUp avenues or avenues which Prime MinisterModihas made available to them and they don’t want to miss the bus.

The Minister said that is whypeople in general in Jammu & Kashmir, more so in Srinagar, are looking forward to this event with great enthusiasm. They also hope that they’ll be getting some business benefits out of it in terms of tourism revenue generation.

Talking about tourists coming back to Kashmir and Film industry also showing huge interest, the Minister said that film shooting is not new to Kashmir. Even in the early 20th century and even after Independence, Kashmir was one of the favourite destinations for Bollywood. The reason being that it had a versatility of locations and was very cost effective. So there was a series of movies which were shot in Kashmir. Then suddenly everything came to halt in 1990. Those movies which were in the midst of production actually had difficulty in finding an alternate locations, he recalled.

The Minister added that when the producers started shooting in other locations like in Europe, the cost was always higher.Shooting Tulip garden in Holland would not be same as a Tulip garden in Kashmir because you produce the same scenario, same video, but the cost is many times lower. And, in Kashmir within the radius of few kilometres, you have fountains, you have lakes, you have plateaus, you have snow bound peaks. And the confidence building has also happened because of the very successful tourist season that we had, recently, last year there were almost close to 2 crore people visiting Kashmir, he added.


All the hotels got booked and even home tourism got exhausted, the Minister said.Now, this is very peculiar because home tourism was never a culture in Kashmir. It was mostly household tourist, hotel tourist, hut tourist, but not home tourist. So this time the rush was so much that the visitors had no alternative and people threw open their homes and even homes got exhausted, he said.

Dr Jitendra Singh mentioned that it’s not only that India wants to convey a message that things are returning back to normal in Kashmir, it is actually happening. So when the delegates from G20 countries come, many of them visiting Jammu & Kashmir for the first time, and see with their own eyes and try to relate with what has been projected in certain sections of media, they will be able to carry the message and they will be the true messengers of not only Jammu & Kashmir but of India as a whole, as it has emerged under Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


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