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2023. The year of India’s G20 Presidency. A universal acknowledgement of the country’s emergence as an economic power in the midst of many global challenges, and a matter of the utmost pride for all of us. The theme of India’s G20 Presidency 'Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam' - the very foundation of ancient Indian heritage symbolises 'One Earth, One Family, One Future'. In the G20 Presidency year, India will host over 200 meetings in over 50 cities, giving G20 delegates an opportunity to experience India’s rich diversity and magical cultural heritage.
The serene and lush valleys of Siliguri witnessed the congregation of representatives of the tourism sector of G20 countries during April 1st - 3rd, 2023. The 2nd Tourism Working Group Meeting combined adventure tourism with sustainable goals as two key areas which will constitute the building blocks for accelerating the transition of the tourism sector and help in achieving the targets for 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Green Tourism, Digitalisation, Skills, Tourism MSMEs & Destination Management.
Delegates from around the world were greeted warmly at the Mayfair Tea Resort of Siliguri, where they enjoyed the region's famed hospitality. The delegates were then taken on a visit to the Makaibari Tea Factory, where they witnessed the intricate process of tea manufacturing. The event's highlight was a keynote address and panel discussion by experts, members, invitee countries, and international organisations. The day ended on a high note with the delegates witnessing moonlight tea plucking, offering a gleaming glimpse into the region's rich culture and heritage.
The Working Group Meeting was inaugurated on April 2nd, with a gracious welcome address delivered by the esteemed dignitaries - Shri G. Kishan Reddy, Honourable Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER, Shri John Barla, Honourable Union Minister of State, Ministry of Minority Affairs, and Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary (Tourism), GOI - G20 TWG Chair. The other two members of Troika - Indonesia and Brazil presented their interventions around the meeting theme “Adventure Tourism as a vehicle for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals”, which were complemented by a thought-provoking presentation by UNEP on Travel for LiFE, among other key agendas discussed by Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, Australia, Italy and Indonesia.
On April 3rd, the delegates were privy to an array of captivating cultural activities complemented by some awe-inspiring sightseeing experiences. Commencing with a ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway train at the highest train station in India - the Ghum Railway Station, the delegates were welcomed with a sightseeing tour at Batasia Loop. The delegates then delved into the Raj Bhawan (Governor's House), accompanied by many other vibrant cultural activities. These exceptional experiences provided the delegates with a chance to relish the local culture of India.
The G20 meeting on "Adventure Tourism as a Vehicle for Achieving Sustainable Development Goals" saw the participation of esteemed dignitaries, who shared their interventions and insights on the subject. The third day of the meeting was marked by a series of captivating cultural activities and sightseeing experiences. The delegates enjoyed a scenic ride on the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway train, followed by a sightseeing tour at Batasia Loop. The visit to Raj Bhawan (Governor's House) was accompanied by many other vibrant cultural activities, giving the delegates a chance to appreciate and immerse in the rich local culture of India.
The breathtaking and spellbinding white sands of Rann of Kutch witnessed the congregation of representatives of Tourism Sector of G20 countries during 7-9 February 2023. The 1st Tourism Working Group Meeting identified 5 priority areas which will constitute the key building blocks for accelerating the transition of the tourism sector and help in achieving the targets for 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, Tourism MSMEs & Destination Management.
The Working Group Meeting was preceded by a side event on the evening of 7th February on the theme “Rural Tourism for Community Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation” where panelists gave presentations and held discussions highlighting the best practices, success stories, prospects, and issues in the field of rural tourism.
The inaugural session of the meeting on 8th February was joined by Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy, Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala where the focus was put on the 5 priority themes – Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, Tourism MSMEs and Destination Management.
The delegates enjoyed a rejuvenating sunrise yoga session at the White Rann before visiting the Harappan site of Dholvaira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where everyone was briefed about the effective and efficient water management system used by them. Post the excursion, a side event was organized on the theme, ‘Promotion of Archaeological Tourism: Discovering Shared Cultural Heritage’. This was followed by a cultural evening and lots of conversations.
The meeting of the 1st Tourism Working Group under India’s G20 Presidency concluded on the 10th of February. The meeting included 2 side events, an inaugural session, two days of working group meetings on the 5 identified priorities namely Green Tourism, Digitalization, Skills, Tourism MSMEs and Destination Management, a series of bilateral meetings, an excursion visit to Dholavira, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a trip to Smritivan Earthquake Memorial, the largest museum to be built in modern India.