Srinagar: After the G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting there has been an increase in foreign tourist arrivals in Kashmir Valley, as compared to the previous year, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Tuesday.
“The G20 Tourism Working Group Meeting not only strengthened diplomatic ties, but also opened new avenues for global partnership that will help in tapping the tourism potential of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said, adding, “I am proud to inform you that since the G20 event, there has been an increase of 59% in foreign tourist arrivals in Kashmir Valley, as compared to the previous year.” Further, he said, 1.27 crore tourists have visited J&K till July this year and he described it as “another record in the history of the tourism sector”.
“Another milestone in the list of achievements of 2023 in Jammu and Kashmir is the ongoing Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra – 2023. This year’s yatra marks the longest pilgrimage of Baba Barfani in history. The message of peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir has attracted devotees not only from various parts of the country but also from abroad, fulfilling the decades old wishes of local & foreign citizens,” he said, adding, “Our Shia brothers were able to take out the procession on traditional routes to pay tribute to the sacrifices of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) on Muharram after 34 years.”
The Tourism Working Group Meeting, he said, has given a new recognition to the J&K on the world tourism map. “Peace and stability have taken this sector to new heights. Last year, a record 1.88 crore tourists had visited Jammu and Kashmir and till July this year, 1.27 crore tourists have already visited the J&K,” he said, adding, “There has been a 350% increase in foreign tourist arrivals as compared to last year,” he said, adding, “While preserving the cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir, 300 new destinations and sites are being developed. Tourism sector has been granted the status of industry, and we have launched a new home-stay policy, film policy and established tented colonies to strengthen the economy and create new employment opportunities for the youth and the people associated with the hospitality sector.”
He said the first Foreign Direct Investment proposal in the J&K was approved earlier this year. “Land has been allotted to Emaar Group for constructing a 1 million sq. ft. shopping mall in Srinagar and land for construction of two IT towers, one each in Srinagar and Jammu has also been allocated to the Emaar group,” he said, adding, “We have been ranked second among Union territories in NITI Aayog’s Export Preparedness Ranking. We are the first UT to be integrated with the National Single Window System in Ease of Doing Business.”
More than 175 services are being provided through a single window system, he said. “19 new industrial estates are being developed. GI tagging of 7 crafts has been approved. Handicraft exports have registered twice the growth in 2022-23 as compared to 2021-22,” he said, adding, “I assure all artisans of Jammu & Kashmir that we are fully committed to honor and nurture your skills and to provide you with access to the global market.”
Thousands of village units have been set up under PMEGP and countless employment opportunities have been made available to the youth and artisans, he added.