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India G20: Challenges and opportunities

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India has taken over presidency of G20 (December 1, 2022 to November 30, 2023) at a crucial time when the world is facing a myriad of economic and geopolitical challenges, while the threat of the covid19 pandemic is not quite over.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) Chief, Kristalina Georgieva, in a recent interview stated:

“We expect one-third of the world economy to be in recession,”

The global uncertainty arising out of the Russia-Ukraine war, the recent outbreak of covid19 in China, it’s impact on global supply chains, and China’s strained relations with the west and India are likely to be some of the major challenges for the global economy.

As Chair of G20, India will seek to improve ties between Russia and the west and put an end to the Russia-Ukraine war. India has reiterated the point, that today is not an ‘era of war’ and stabilising global supply chains of essential commodities like medical products, fertilizers and food.

The long-term challenge of climate change is also likely to be high on the agenda during the G20. The theme of India’s Presidency is One Earth. One Family, One Future’. India has said that it will articulate the concerns of the Global South which are often neglected.

While there is no doubt, that a host of complex global issues need to be addressed, India’s presidency of the G20 could also give a boost to the Indian economy. It is an important opportunity for different Indian states to show case their economic potential as well as culture and heritage. Over 200 events are likely to be held in 50 cities (certain events  have already been held Udaipur, Bengaluru). These events are likely to help these cities in showcasing their culture, heritage and economic potential. Several stateshave already stated that they will use this opportunity to not just promote tourism, but also show case their economic potential. Steps are already being taken to spruce up infrastructure in different cities.

The G20 is also likely to give a boost to India’s tourism sector, with international delegates likely to visit different cities. India is likely to declare 2023 as ‘Visit India’ year with the aim of attracting more tourists.

At a time when there is a threat of a global recession, and India’s economy while being in a relatively position is not likely to be totally immune, a boost to India’s tourism and its hospitality sector would be truly welcome for the Indian economy. While it is true that India’s hospitality sector has witnessed a recovery ever since the removal of covid 19 restrictions in the past two years, with a rise in domestic travel, there is scope for further growth of the hospitality sector because of India’s presidency of G20.

In a media interview, Rajeev Menon, president, Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), at Marriott International said:

‘..travel demand is pretty robust for 2023 and specific to India, with all that is going on around G20, India could be well set up for a few strong years in terms of travel and tourism at large’.

Hotel Association of India Vice President KB Kachru in a media interview also flagged the importance of India’s G20 Presidency for its hospitality sector. Kachru in a mediainterview said that this would give a tremendous fillip to the hospitality sector. Said Kachru:

‘Countries participating in G20, all the key people are visiting India and they’re going to different places. We have to actually make them our ambassadors, who will project India and who will be talking about India’.

In conclusion, while the key focus during India’s presidency of G20 is likely to be on key global issues – economic and geopolitical – India’s hospitality sector could benefit immensely.