G20 tourism track meet: Main conference at Dhordo tent city, delegates to also visit Dholavira, quake memorial in Bhuj

NewsDrum Desk
31 Jan 2023

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Stage is set for the first G20 meeting under the tourism track in Gujarat's picturesque Runn of Kutch, with the main conference planned to be hosted at Dhordo tent city early February, and delegates will also visit the UNESCO heritage site of Dholavira and a memorial in Bhuj built after the deadly 2001 earthquake.

Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh on Tuesday said about 75-100 delegates, including both from India and foreign countries, are expected to take part in the main event that will be hosted from February 7-9.

"The Union tourism minister, Gujarat chief minister and some central ministers will participate in the event. The Dhordo tent city village site is the venue for the main event. All preparations have been done, and we are getting good response from delegates from foreign countries and members of some of the international institutions who will also take part in it," he said in response to a PTI query on the sidelines of an event.

Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy on Tuesday launched the Visit India Year 2023 campaign to encourage inbound travel to the country which is currently chairing the G20.

This year is very crucial for India as it chairs G20, and over 200 meetings will take place at 55 locations, and "over one lakh foreign delegates will visit India this year", he said after launching the Tourism Ministry's campaign and its logo.

"Our endeavour will be to showcase our destinations, monuments, culture, festivals to the visiting delegates. A lot of events will be held across India from tourism point of view. Each foreign delegate should return as a cultural ambassador of India, this kind of environment be created, is the vision of our PM," Reddy said.

Some departments have started preparatory meetings for the G20 events, and ministerial meeting for the tourism sector will be held in Goa, he said, adding that efforts are being made to work with Indian missions abroad also so as to boost foreign tourism in India. The Union tourism secretary said while the first working group meet under the tourism track is all set to take place in Runn of Kutch, the second one will be hosted in Siliguri in West Bengal in April, "the third meeting will be held in May in a place in north India", and the fourth one will be held in Goa.

Officials had earlier said that the third meeting will be held in Srinagar, but the tourism secretary said, "We are yet to decide on the place for the third meet, but it will be hosted somewhere in the hills on north India".

After the working group meet, the ministerial meet will take place in Goa, he added.

On the first meet slated to be held in Runn of Kutch, famed for its pristine white desert and tent city in Dhordo, Singh said besides the main event at the tent city, two side events would also be hosted.

"On February 7, one side event will be on rural tourism, to be held in Dhordo only, during which delegates will share their views. Then on February 9, they will visit Dholavira, a Harappan-era site and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And, there will be event on archaeological tourism," he said.

And, on February 10, the delegates will visit the Smriti Van memorial in Bhuj that has been built after the devastating 2001 earthquake.

"The memorial offers a simulative experience and visitors in a way can feel the impact," he said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August last year had inaugurated Smriti Van memorial, which celebrates the resilience shown by people during the devastating 2001 earthquake in the Kutch region of Gujarat.

The grand structure, which is the first such memorial in the country according to a Gujarat government official, is spread over 470 acres on Bhujio Hill near Bhuj town.

It celebrates the spirit of resilience in the wake of the death of nearly 13,000 people during the earthquake on January 26, 2001, which had its epicentre in Bhuj.

The memorial carries names of the people who lost their lives during the earthquake. It also has a state-of-the-art Smriti Van Earthquake Museum.

The Union tourism secretary said there has been "good response from foreign countries' delegates" on the tourism-track meetings.

India assumed the presidency of the influential bloc on December 1, setting the tone for the Tourism Ministry's calendar this year.

More than 200 meetings will be held across 55 locations, culminating with the annual G20 summit on September 9-10.

The Tourism Ministry is geared up to put its best foot forward and showcase to the guests from different countries the cultural heritage and culinary delights of India Singh said, besides the four tourism track meetings, a global investors conference is slated to be held in April.

Also, an international MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conference and Exhibitions)convention will be hosted in May in Bangalore, and an adventure tourism event is also planned. And, at each G20 meeting, World Travel and Trade Council (WTTC) organises a global CEO's forum, so that forum will be held in Goa before the ministerial meeting, he added. PTI KND CK

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