2nd Tourism Working Group Meeting at Siliguri

Mar 31: Shri Harsh Vardhan Shingla, Chief Coordinator, G20 India and Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary Tourism, Government of India jointly addressed a Press Conference today at Darjeeling as a run-up to the upcoming 2nd Tourism Working Group Meeting to be held at Siliguri.

During the Press Conference, Shri Harsh Vardhan Shingla, Chief Coordinator, G20 India stated that the organization of the important G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting at Siliguri would go a long way in contributing to the positioning the destination as a tourism and MICE destination. Shri Shringla added that many of the most influential and large economies of the world are going to participate in the 2nd G-20 Tourism Working Group Meeting starting from April 1 in Siliguri. The delegates from the G-20 member countries will get the opportunity to discuss the ways of reviving the tourism sector which got affected due to the Covid pandemic, in this three-day meeting. He also pointed out that India; especially the North Eastern part of the country will get a big opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage and tourism potential dominated in the region. 10 ambassadors from the G-20 Nations who will be visiting the region will also get the opportunity to discuss with the local stakeholders the potential of the region, said Shri Shringla.

He commented that the foreign delegates will get exposure to the tea industry, the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway and adventure tourism. He stated that the Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and Development of North Eastern Region, Shri G Kishan Reddy and Union Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Shri John Barla will also attend the meeting. 

Shri Arvind Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India informed in the press meeting about the 2nd G-20 TWG meeting and said that the key aspects as well as suggestions from different stakeholders will be taken into account to carry forward in the coming days so far as the improvement of the tourism sector is concerned. He added that the delegates attending the meeting will be introduced to local tourism products of the region.

During the session, the media was briefed about key priority areas to be discussed during the event, arrangements being made at Siliguri/ Darjeeling, Side Events, Technical visits being planned for G20 delegates etc.

Darjeeling, the Queen of Himalayas and one of the prime tourist destinations of India, along with Siliguri, located at the foothills of the Himalayas have been selected to host the 2nd Tourism Working Group meeting from 1st to 3rd April 2023. 

The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India along with the support of the State of West Bengal, is fully prepared to host the 2nd Tourism Working Group Meeting. The meeting is to be attended by more than 130 participants including  Delegates of  G20 Members, Invitee Countries and International Organizations, Industry partners, State Tourism, and local tour operators.

The meetings will be graced by Union Minister of Tourism, Culture and DoNER, Shri G. Kishan Reddy and  Union Minister of State, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Shri John Barla.

 Darjeeling is famous world-over for ‘Darjeeling Tea’ which was given the first GI Tag in India in 2004. Tea tasting and moonlight tea leaf plucking experiences have been planned for all the Delegates at Makaibari Tea Estate, Kurseong.

Darjeeling is also known for Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, declared so on 5 December 1999. The Delegates will enjoy a ‘Toy Train Ride’ from Ghum, India’s highest railway station (altitude of 2,258 meters) through Batasia Loop to Darjeeling station.

A luncheon is being planned at Raj Bhawan Darjeeling, the summer residence of the Governor of West Bengal.

Delegates will enjoy cultural programs like Baul Songs, Tribal Dance, Traditional Tappa Dance, Tamang Folk Dance, Chhau Dance, India Army’s Pipe Band and many more performances that have been planned for the event.

A morning Yoga session is also planned at Mayfair Tea Resort, Siliguri in a lush green setting for Delegates in coordination with the Ministry of AYUSH.

The Ministry of Tourism has made all-out efforts to introduce all the Delegates to local art & craft at Siliguri and Darjeeling. MSME & T 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 its equipment at Mall Road.

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.

In recent years, adventure tourism in India is gaining immense popularity among both domestic and international tourists. Therefore, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is hosting a Side Event on ‘Adventure Tourism as a vehicle for achieving Sustainable Development Goals’. Mrs Gabriella Stowell (Vice President) from Adventure Tour Operators Association (ATTA), G20 Delegates and Padma Shri Awardee Mr Ajeet Bajaj, President of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI) are presenting Global and Indian Perspectives on Adventure Tourism respectively. Mr Vikram Rai, founder of Vikrun foundation will also share local perspectives.

A full-day event has been organized for domestic industry partners and the State Government of India to deliberate on Tourism in Mission Mode: Advantage Adventure Tourism. Local stakeholders will attend the side events on adventure tourism.

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 Mall Road, Darjeeling. The Himalayan Drive Car Rally Flag Off has been scheduled on 2nd April 2023 from Siliguri.

During the first meeting of the 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. A Ministerial Communique which is an endorsement for LiFE Mission through the “Travel for Life” Campaign is also being introduced during the working sessions. Envisaging Hon’ble PMs Vision, the Tourism Working Group is aiming at human-centric globalization, a new paradigm of the tourism industry.

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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