Tourism promotion gets US$ 100m

Five institutions join to pitch Lanka’s publicity drive:
A guest taking a foot massage at the Sri Lanka stand with compliments from Siddhalepa Ayurveda. Siddhalepa Director, Asoka Hettigoda looks on. Pictures by Shirajiv Sirimane

Saturday, Berlin: For the first time a mammoth budget in excess of US$ 100 million will be allocated for 2015 Sri Lanka’s tourism promotions, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala said.

Speaking at the well coordinated and professionally managed Sri Lanka press conference for the international media at the ITB, he said that for the first time five institutions, Sri Lanka Tourism, the Tea Board, the Gem and Jewellery Authority, SriLankan Airlines and the Export Development Board will jointly promote Sri Lanka as a destination.

This clearly underlines the importance the government had given the industry and also proved that the CESS contribution made by the private sector is being used for destination promotions.

Minister Navin Dissanayake and Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorale launching a web with organizer of the event M. Monika at the ITB press conference.

He said that this in turn will also help to promote tourism investments to the country and to attract US$ 3 billion or more foreign direct investments to Sri Lanka by 2016.

The current room capacity of 16,000 with the ongoing projects will pass the 45, 000 mark by 2016. Currenttly there are 16,000 rooms in the country while there are over 10,000 or more in the informal sector.

Tourism will also help to almost double the present employment in the trade to 500,000 by the end of 2016 where 2.5 million arrivals are targetted. Spending of tourists too have increased and the figure which was at US$ 103 in 2012 had passed the US$ 150 figure in 2013 and it is expected to near the US$ 200 mark by 2016.

Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake said that today professionals have being appointed to run the industry and this would bring positive results. We ar ealso keen to promote Tourism in the North but would do it only after consulation with stake holders in the area.

Meanwhile curtains fell on the five day ITB Berlin with a record 10,096 exhibitors from 186 countries, more than two-thirds of whom were from abroad, were represented in 26 display halls which were fully booked cementing its position as the world’s leading travel trade show. Over 23,000 visitors (2014: 22,000) attended the ITB Berlin Convention, another new record.

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