The Second Tourism Working Group Meeting under G20 hosted by the Ministry of Tourism began with a side event of panel discussion on ‘Adventure Tourism as a vehicle for achieving Sustainable Development Goals’. The keynote address at side event was delivered by Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER Shri G.K Reddy.
The delegates were given a warm, colorful and traditional welcome which included a performance by folk artists at Bagdogra Airport. The panel discussion was attended by representatives from the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Germany, Japan, Brazil, ATTA (Adventure Travel Trade Association), ATOAI (Adventure Tour Operators Association of India) and Vik-run foundation. From India, representatives from the government of Uttarakhand participated in the discussion.
Among other topics, discussions were held on promoting Adventure tourism and presentations on Global and Indian scenarios of Adventure tourism were given.
Delivering the keynote address Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and DoNER Shri G.K Reddy said that India offers many avenues for adventure tourism across the four elements of land, water, sky and air. He highlighted that India has in its possession 70% of the mighty Himalayas, more than 7,000 Kilometres of coast-line, 70,000 square miles of sand desert apart from white salt desert in Kutch and cold desert in Ladakh, 700 sanctuaries and national parks including tiger reserves.
The minister said that Adventure tourism in India is gaining immense popularity among both domestic and international tourists. People of different age groups are actively participating in various adventure based tourist activities.
Shri G.Kishan Reddy opined that the topography of India is conducive for a variety of adventure activities like trekking, camping, water rafting, Mountaineering, bungee jumping, Skiing, Scuba diving, snorkeling, wildlife safaris among others. He said that, to take advantage of the full potential of adventure tourism in the country, the Government is making concerted efforts at the policy and strategy levels.
The minister said that India is determined to achieve the goals of Mission-LIFE, a sustainable Lifestyle for Environment. He informed that to create focused awareness among the youth in the country, Youth Tourism Clubs have been established in all educational institutions across the country. These clubs will create interest, awareness and a sense of responsibility towards our country’s natural, cultural, and spiritual heritage among youth and children. As youth have a natural affinity for adventure tourism, these clubs will be used to promote adventure tourism. Shri G.Kishan Reddy informed that the areas that would be focussed upon includes Development of Adventure Tourism Infrastructure, Financial Assistance to Adventure Tourism Destinations, Developing skilled personnel, Threat assessment, defining safety standards, Research and Development activities, branding etc.
The minister said that National Adventure Tourism strategy has also been framed which focuses on initiatives like State Ranking Criteria for the Adventure Tourism sites, Model Adventure Tourism Law, development of Mega Trails , development of Adventure Activity Guidelines, Adventure Tourism Rescue Centres and development of dedicated Website & social media pages for Adventure Tourism.
The minister said that the focus is now on placing India among the top Adventure Tourism Destinations of the World by developing infrastructure, and setting up high safety standards.
Delivering the welcome remarks G20 Chief coordinator Shri Harsh Shringla said that this part of the country affords visitors with the opportunity to see how people can co-exist with nature and nurture it in a sustainable way.
He also said that the visits of G20 delegates to different parts of our country is expected to acquaint them with the tourism potential of each of these destinations.
Tourism along with trade and technology are the 3Ts that the Prime Minister has stressed on for accelerating development in India.
Shri Harsh Shringla also said that with its climatic variations – from the tropical and the temperate to the alpine as well as desert – India is a continent-sized country with immense tourism potential.
He said that with its rolling mountain slopes, lush green forests, famous tea gardens and quaint temples and monasteries, this part of India is ideal for mountain and adventure sports including trekking, as much as for spiritual rejuvenation.The theme of our G20 presidency is “One Earth, One Family, One Future.”, he said.
Shri Shringla added “Our hope is that the discussions we have at the G20 level will benefit countries across the world especially in these challenging times ”.
In his concluding remarks Secretary Tourism, Shri Arvind Singh said that today’s side event of ‘Adventure Tourism as a vehicle for achieving Sustainable Development Goals’ is a great occasion to discuss, ideate possibilities to achieve the SDG’s. He said that the deliberations reiterate the notion that Adventure tourism can be a positive cause for achieving the 2030 sustainable development goals.
The panellists gave presentations and held discussions highlighting the best practices, success stories prospects, opportunities and issues in the field of adventure tourism.
The delegates and participants also visited Tea Estate & enthusiastically participated in the moonlight tea leaf plucking and tea tasting.
The main event tomorrow will be graced by Minister of Tourism, Culture and DONER Sh. G. Kishan Reddy; Union Minister of State, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Shri John Barla. The participants would be senior delegates from G20 member countries, invitee countries and international organizations.
The 2nd Tourism Working Group Meeting at Siliguri is being attended by more than 130 participants. Delegates of G20 Members, Invitee Countries and International Organizations, Industry partners, State Tourism are participating in the event.
The Ministry of Tourism has made all out efforts to introduce all the Delegates to local art & craft at Siliguri and Darjeeling. MSME & tourism Department of West Bengal has organized art and craft stalls and ‘Do-It-Yourself’ activities to provide an immersive experience of local arts for Delegates. Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling will also exhibit their equipment at the Mall Road during the meeting. The Ministry of Tourism is also promoting local products of West Bengal by handing souvenirs to Delegates from ODOP list of items like Wooden Owl set from Burdwan District, Dokra GI Hook fish from Bankura District, Banglshree Silk Pocket Square from Malda District and Chitpore Attar from Kalimpong District.
A key element of India’s G20 presidency is taking G20 closer to the public and making a truly People’s G20. An exhibition will be opened for the general public from 3rd to 5th April 2023 to increase awareness of India’s G20 Presidency and promotion of sustainable practices under Adventure Tourism at the Mall Road, Darjeeling. The Himalayan Drive Car Rally Flag Off has been scheduled on 2nd April 2023 from Siliguri.
During the first meeting of Tourism Working Group at the Rann of Kutch, Gujarat from 7th – 9th Feb 2023, the five priority areas (Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, Tourism MSMEs, Destination Management) were endorsed by all the G20 Members, Invitee Countries, and International Organizations.
Now in the second Tourism Working Group meeting discussion on the five priorities will be engaging and will cover broader aspects. This will give further shape to the Tourism Working Group Outcome Document: GOA Roadmap and Action Plan for Tourism as a vehicle for achieving SDGs.
Under India’s G20 Presidency, the Government of India is hosting over 200 meetings in more than 59 cities across the country. These destinations have been chosen to showcase India’s diverse geographical and rich cultural heritage.
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