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The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meet held in Goa via video message today.
Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister invoked the spirit of Incredible India and said that the tourism ministers rarely get a chance to be tourists themselves even though they are handling a sector worth over two trillion dollars globally.
The Prime Minister said that India’s approach to tourism is based on the ancient Sanskrit verse ‘Atithi Devo Bhavah’ which means ‘Guest is God’. The Prime Minister informed that India during its G-20 presidency is organizing nearly 200 meetings in 100 different locations all over the country making every experience different from the other. “If you ask your friends who have already visited India for these meetings, I am sure that no two experiences will be alike”, he added.
The Prime Minister underlined that India’s efforts in the tourism sector are centered on preserving its rich heritage while creating a world-class infrastructure for tourism. Noting that India attracts pilgrims of every major religion of the world, the Prime Minister emphasized the development of spiritual tourism as one of the focus areas. He informed that the infrastructure upgrade in the eternal city of Varanasi, one of the major spiritual centers, led to a ten-fold increase in pilgrims taking the number to 70 million today. He also underlined that India is creating new tourist attractions and gave the example of the Statue of Unity, the tallest statue in the world, which attracted about 2.7 million tourists within a year of its inauguration. The Prime Minister expressed happiness that India is also recognizing the relevance of the tourism sector for the speedy achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.
“Terrorism divides but Tourism unites”, the Prime Minister remarked. He said that tourism has the potential to unite people from all walks of life thereby creating a harmonious society. Shri Modi expressed happiness that a G20 Tourism dashboard is being developed in partnership with UNWTO which will be a first-of-its-kind platform bringing together best practices, case studies and inspiring stories. The Prime Minister expressed confidence that the deliberations and the ‘Goa Roadmap’ would multiply the collective efforts to realize tourism’s transformative power. “The motto of India's G20 Presidency, ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ - ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ can itself be a motto for global tourism”, he added.
The Fourth Tourism Working Group meeting of G20 and the G20 Tourism Ministers’ meeting ended in Goa today.
The Ministers’ meeting was graced by Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and DoNER Shri G.Kishan Reddy; Minister of State for Tourism Shri Shripad Yesso Naik and Minister of State for Tourism Shri Ajay Bhatt . Ministers of G20 countries and delegates from G20 countries, invitee countries and International organisations attended the meeting.
Addressing the Ministers’ meeting Shri G.Kishan Reddy welcomed the Tourism Ministers and Head of Delegations from G20 member countries, guest countries, and International Organizations.
The minister said that we are all aware of the immense significance of the G20 and its role in global governance. The G20 brings together the world's leading economies to address key challenges and promote sustainable, balanced, and inclusive growth, he added. Shri G.Kishan Reddy further said that through our collective efforts, we can harness the power of tourism to accelerate progress towards the SDGs, ensuring that no one is left behind.
Highlighting the achievements of Tourism working group meetings, the minister informed that there were extensive discussions on the 5 priorities of Green Tourism, digitalization, Skills, Tourism MSMEs and Destination Management. There were insightful presentations by G20 member countries, shedding light on their contributions to the five priority areas, he added.
He remarked that Ministry of Tourism organized a series of events on the sidelines of the meetings of Tourism Working Group. These events have been instrumental in promoting sustainable and diverse tourism in which various themes have been explored, such as Rural Tourism, Archaeological Tourism, Adventure Tourism, Film Tourism, Eco Tourism and Cruise Tourism.
The minister said that both the outcome documents of G20 Working Group were welcomed. Speaking on Travel for LiFE , Shri G.Kishan Reddy said that "Travel for LiFE," incorporated in the GOA Roadmap is based on our Prime Minister’s visionary initiative 'Mission LiFE,' and urges individuals to act, to protect the environment against the effects of climate change. Travel for LiFE aims to nudge visitors and tourism businesses to adopt sustainable practices and contribute to the preservation of our natural and cultural heritage.
Union Minister Shri G. Kishan Reddy welcomed the Goa Roadmap and said, “We welcome the ‘Goa Roadmap for Tourism as a vehicle for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’ and reaffirms the pivotal role of the 5 key priority areas identified under India’s G20 Presidency for driving development, innovation, and cooperation in the tourism industry.”
In his concluding remarks, he said, “I am also delighted to share that a G20 Tourism and SDG online dashboard will be set up to showcase best practices and case studies of G20 members for achieving progress towards SDGs. This will help the stakeholders learn from the best practices and replicate them.”
“I would again like to emphasize that by leveraging the power of tourism, we can shape a better world for generations to come”, the minister concluded.
Earlier in the day, a thematic discussion on the ‘Public Private Dialogue: Importance of Travel and Tourism to the G20 Economies’ was organised.
The discussion was addressed by Union Minister Shri G.Kishan Reddy,and Ms Julia Simpson, President and CEO of World Travel and Tourism Council graced the occasion.
Addressing the occasion Shri G. Kishan Reddy said that today Tourism has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economic sectors. We are all aware that tourism is a major source of employment along with several socio-economic benefits such as -Trade, investment, infrastructure development and social inclusion.
He said that tourism employs more women and youth than most other sectors. and it also provides livelihood opportunities to disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
He added that tourism should become an investment magnet for both the Private and public sectors and there is a need to innovate, explore new areas and craft new strategies to not only achieve pre-pandemic status but to rise beyond that.
He said that the private sector has a critical role to play in all the 5 priority areas of green tourism, digitalization, skills, MSMEs, and destinations. As we move forward, the Private sector will lead the growth in Tourism and the Public Sector will become an enabler and facilitator.
He added “A sound Public Private Partnership will help in ensuring that sustainability and inclusion are at the heart of investment decisions and future growth”.