After 10 years, the tourism hierarchy at ITB

The world’s leading travel trade show ITB, which is staged annually in Berlin where the leading 180 countries in the business of tourism meet to discuss key trends whilst contracting the top deals for a country, will be represented by Minister for Tourism and Sports Navin Dissanayake, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Dr. Rohantha Athukorala and Tourism Development Authority Chairman Paddy Withana after a lapse of almost 10 years.
One industry stalwart commented: “It is strange, but the previous regime, whilst alienating the private sector which accounted for almost 99% of the tourism industry of the country in the decision-making process, also worked in isolation of the global community for almost a decade. We see the new development of the tourism hierarchy very positively. Now it is about fast decision making that is required given the entrenched competition.”
On 5 March at the main press room Sri Lanka will stage a press conference for the global community of journalists where Minister Dissanayake will lead the delegation on the theme ‘Positive Transformation and the New Vision of the Sri Lanka Government’ together with Ambassador for Germany Karunathilake Amunugama.
“We will also emphasise on the need for sustainable tourism globally,” said Minister Dissanayake.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman will continue on the theme, highlighting the positive developments of brand Sri Lanka on apparel, Ceylon Tea, Ceylon Cinnamon and Ceylon Sapphire and then zero down on Sri Lanka as a tourism destination on the proposition ‘One Island, Thousand Treasures’. This was a positioning that has been consumer-tested globally and received strong reactions to differentiate Sri Lanka from its competitors. He will be supported by trade partners SLAITO President Mahen Kariyawasam, City Hoteliers President M. Shanthikumar and ASMET Head Sam Tegel.
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Paddy Withana will showcase Sri Lanka’s investment opportunities in the tourism sector and the many developments at play, giving a glimpse of the potential for the booming tourism industry of Sri Lanka in the years to come.
The industry has been dogged by a tough January 2015 due to the elections, visitor numbers registering only 7% growth and escalating costs resulting in hotel properties just breaking even.
The total Sri Lanka delegation include 53 top travel and hotel entities which makes it the highest delegation from Sri Lanka in the multitude of travel and trade fairs that Sri Lanka will take part in 2015, in the backdrop of the aggressive drive the country has seen by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau in the last one month.
This included the endorsement of Miss World 2015 Rolene Strauss on the ‘One Million Tree Stories Initiative,’ on which Sri Lanka Tourism partnered Rotary, aimed at arresting the declining forest cover of the country in the last two decades from 53% to 29%, said Dr. Athukorala.

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