Srinagar: As the third G20 tourism working group concluded on May 23, with 60 delegates from 27 countries spending three days in Srinagar, expectations to see a boost in tourist footfall in the Valley from some to these countries has risen among local residents. On the last day, the delegates were taken to several tourist spots across Srinagar to give them an overview of what the city has to offer.
In the last financial year, Jammu and Kashmir received 1.88 crore tourists, according to the Tourism Department’s figures. Even as a majority of them were Vaishno Devi-bound pilgrims, officials said the Valley got nearly 26 lakh tourists. They are now hoping this high-level summit will make international travellers aware about the safety aspect and restart the process for some of these countries to withdraw negative travel advisories on Kashmir.
J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said representatives from some of the countries that have issued such advisories were present at the meeting.
Stating that South Korea “supports India’s presidency of the G20”, the country’s ambassador to India, Jae Boo Chang, told The Indian Express, “There are some limitations to come here and we need special permits, but it was a pleasure to be here.”
At the farewell dinner for delegates, where Sinha was present, Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh remarked, “Overcoming the voices of doubt outside the country, inside the country, the meet has taken place successfully. There were doubts in the minds of some of your [member] governments also about security and other issues, but you voted for us to make this event happen.”