G20 Meeting in Gujarat’s Rann of Kutch to project Rural, Archaeological Tourism

For the first G20 Tourism Working Group meeting to be held in Rann of Kutch next week, India’s rural tourism and archaeological tourism potential will be projected to the world. Besides delegates from the member nations and guest countries, participants for the three-day meet (starting February 7) also include those representing the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), and International Labour Organisation (ILO).

“We are working on rural tourism to improve the experience and promote best practices with suggestions from international boards. We are planning archaeological tourism; the slides of India’s tourist sites will be shown to all delegates,” said Union Tourism Secretary Arvind Singh.

In keeping with this, delegates will be taken on an excursion to Dholavira, the southern centre of the Harappan Civilisation. Named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2021, Dholavira is believed to have been occupied around 3500 BC (pre-Harappan) till around 1800 BC (late-Harappan period). It is the fifth largest of eight major Harappan sites, including Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Ganeriwala, Rakhigarhi, Kalibangan, Rupnagar and Lothal.

For this, the signages and facilities at the ancient site have been spruced up by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), and the road from the Dhordo Tent City (venue of the meeting) to Dholavira has also been repaired. Delegates will be given an audio-visual presentation about the significance of the site, besides a guided tour. There will also be a panel discussion on the subject of ‘Discovering Shared Cultural Heritage’, with the participation of representatives from Spain, Mexico and Indonesia.

Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy will give his keynote address on the opening day, which is devoted to ‘Rural Tourism for Community Empowerment and Poverty Alleviation’. A panel discussion on tourism policy’s support to rural development will be held, while India will highlight the most successful and innovative initiatives of rural tourism from various states.

The next tourism track meeting will be held in April in Siliguri/Darjeeling, while the third meeting will be held in May “in one of the north Indian hill states”; the final ministerial meeting will be held in Goa on June 19-22, officials say.

“The idea is to cover and showcase the geographical expanse of the country – with Gujarat in the West to Siliguri in the North-East, going up till the northernmost regions,” said an official.

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