G20: Second tourism track meet to focus on adventure sport

The second tourism track meeting below India’s G20 Presidency– which will be held in Siliguri and Darjeeling in West Bengal during the first week of April – will focus on the potential of adventure tourism. The first tourism working group meeting, held in Rann of Kutch in Gujarat last month, focused on archaeological and rural tourism.

“The five priority areas – green tourism, digitization, skills, tourism MSMEs and destination management – were presented by India in the working session and supported by all G20 members, invited countries and international organizations,” said Arvind Singh, Union Tourism Secretary , told The Indian Express, adding that all delegates gave positive feedback.

The second tourism working group meeting will be held on April 1-3, during which delegates will discuss deeper and broader aspects of the group’s five priorities, he said. The first meeting offered a tour of Dholavira’s Harappan site, in keeping with the theme of archaeological tourism, the second meeting includes a full-day tour of Darjeeling, officials said.

With a presentation from the United Nations World Tourism Organization and interventions from the G20 troika (India, Indonesia and Brazil), the working session aims to finalize the first draft outcome, officials say. The draft will be considered during the tourism ministerial conference to be held in Goa in July and later at the G20 summit in Delhi in September this year, Singh said.

The main attraction will be the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, also known as the “Toy Train Ride,” which will depart from Ghum, India’s highest railway station at an altitude of 2,258 meters, to the Batasia Loop, which offers a view of Kanchenjunga peak, according to the officials say. Delegates will also be treated to a moonlight tea tasting and tea leaf picking session to promote the Darjeeling tea brand which received the first GI protection in India in 2004. You will also visit Raj Bhavan, the summer residence of the Governor of West Bengal.

The highlight of the three-day event will be an exhibition of products from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute and an exhibition promoting sustainable practices in adventure tourism at Darjeeling’s Mall Road.

Singh said the Ministry of Tourism is hosting a side event on “Adventure Tourism as a Means of Achieving Sustainable Development Goals,” which officials from the Adventure Tour Operators Association of India will also attend. A day-long event was organized for domestic stakeholders and state governments to discuss ways to increase adventure tourism in India, he added.

Delegates will also be introduced to a range of one-district-one-product. It contains a set of wooden owls from Burdwan district, a set of handkerchiefs from Malda, a Dhokra fishing hook from Bankura and attar (perfume) from Kalimpong.

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