After exactly four decades when Non-Aligned summit was held at New Delhi in 1983, India is again going to host major international event when G20 summit would be held in national capital on 9-10 September 2023. India will assume the Presidency of the G20 for one year from December 1, 2022, to November 30, 2023. Apart from head of the states of G20 member nations, India is likely to invite several other countries as an observer. In nutshell, it would be a very important world event.
India will position itself as a major tourism destination during its year long Presidency of G20 with visa reforms and ease of travel. The good thing is that Uttar Pradesh government is working overtime to attract head of the states, ministers, delegates, journalists and others attending the G-20 summit. Four cities of Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, Varanasi, Greater Noida and Agra, will host events of the G-20 summit.
Uttar Pradesh Chief minister Yogi Adityanath is himself taking meetings of state government officials in order to make four cities of the state fully prepared to host the visitors. It goes without saying that hosting the mega event in cities of UP will serve as an opportunity to introduce ‘Brand UP’ to the world.
Of course, Varanasi is the most venerable city in India for Hindus, Buddhists and Jains. Every Hindu wish to visit there at least once in his/her lifetime. And Sarnath is located 10 kilometres north-east of Varanasi, near the confluence of the Ganges and the Varuna rivers. It is here where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dhamma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence. And Parshvanatha, the twenty-third tirthankara of Jains, was born here. According to Jain tradition, it is the birthplace of three more tithankaras, namely Suparshvanatha, Chandraprabha and Shreyansanatha.
Meanwhile, all those who wish to visit India always think of visiting Agra to see architectural marvel Taj Mahal. It attracts millions of tourists every year as it has several other places too related to Mughal era, including the mausoleum of great Mogul Emperor Akbar. If Agra and Varanasi have very rich past, Lucknow is the seat of UP and Greater Noida is a bustling modern city with plethora of educational institutions and corporate offices. Hundreds of foreign expats work here. Surely, the choice of these four UP cities are fine to showcase the life and times of India’s most populous state.
As President Xi Jinping of China, France President Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, Russian President Vladimir Putin, John Biden, President of the United States, Liz Truss, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and many more influential leaders would be in India during the G 20 summit, Uttar Pradesh government is leaving no stone unturned to impress the G20 delegates. Of course, the world leaders would visit different places across India to know more about India. It is most likely that some big-ticket leaders visit UP. It may be recalled that the slain Japanese premier Shinzō Abe had a long association with Varanasi. He had visited the city along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 12, 2015 and attended the Ganga Aarti. He loved the people and mood of hold city. In any case, very large number of tourists from Japan and various Buddhist countries visit Varanasi every year. They visit Sarnath without fail.
All the UP cities would host the G 20 delegates according to the Indian spirit of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’. Accordingly, preparations are going on to make the event grand in these districts. UP had a rich history, and therefore, its ancient art, culture, history, and archaeological features should be compiled and presented at the G-20 platform. Yogi Adityanath has told his officials that “To make the whole world aware of the potential of ‘New India’s New Uttar Pradesh’, we have to systematically present the cultural, spiritual, social, economic and industrial features of the state. ”
G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union (EU). The G20 member nations are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh said India plans to position itself as a “major tourism destination” during its Presidency of G20.“We plan to ensure due rigour, dedication, and showcase our cultural richness while welcoming the world to our nation.“We plan to bring in necessary interventions including visa reforms, ease of travel, traveller-friendly immigration facilities at airports and openness to international travel.”
Not only UP, others Indian states should also work hard so that G20 summit gives them an international recognition. They have to realize the fact such summits do not take place very often. So they must grab this opportunity with both hands. Tourism sector in India has a massive potential to grow thick and fast. It gives foreign exchange and creates massive job opportunities. Foreign tourist arrivals account for the country’s third-largest share of foreign exchange (forex) earnings. Forex earnings from the tourism sector saw around 9.4 per cent annual growth in the 2011 to 2019 period. A further push to the sector can result in much higher forex reserves in India, which are of great significance, especially when the global energy and food prices are northward bound.
Data suggests that G20 member nations account for the highest foreign tourist arrival numbers in India.
Surely, if UP and other states improve their tourist places, India would reap huge fruits in to come. It is said that Saudi Arabia was predominantly seen as a religious destination, people were visiting it mainly for Mecca and Medina. Post G20 Presidency, it is open to travellers from Europe and other countries. Hence, it is an opportunity for India to truly utilize G20 in 2023. This is an event that we should look forward to, the Government of India looks forward to, for positioning and projecting India as an important destination for the rest of the world.