MICE has become ‘vital’ part of SL economy – Acting SLTPB Chairman

The local MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Events) sub- sector of the tourist industry has become a “vital” part of the Sri Lankan economy, based on the attention it received in the recently unveiled 2016 national budget, according to P. M. Withana, Acting Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).

He further noted that 2016 would see many new tourism initiatives, aimed at getting from this year’s anticipated 1.8 million tourists, to 4.0 million in 2020, with the budget already having showcased plans to open up new conference and convention centres in the Town Hall and Battaramulla areas.

Making these comments at the launch of the Live Events- organised “Enrique Iglesias Live in Sri Lanka” concert, Mr. Withana also noted that his organisation was looking at going beyond roadshows and participation at tourism fairs, with entertainment being something the SLTPB was placing added importance in .

He also revealed that the SLTPB plan for 2016 involved two similarly big entertainment events locally, with renowned international entertainers coming to Sri Lanka, further adding that the SLTPB was also looking at international sporting events, like the annual surfing competition in Arugam Bay, where tourists would come and actually participate instead of it being a just-for-show event.

He indicated that these events were being planned in such a way that people from various countries would come, so they could stay an additional day or two and, for example, if they were here for a kite boarding event, experience Kalpitiya as much as possible.

Mr. Withana concluded by saying that, if one considered the future of tourism, with people finding out about destination by checking online, where they find out all about air tickets, hotel rooms, etc, the travel agent concept had less impact on the traveller and areas like social media were gaining greater importance.

Reiterating Mr. Withana’s point, Live Events Chief Executive Riyaz Shah Jahan noted that the Enrique Iglesias Live concert in Sri Lanka would receive a considerable number of visitors from outside this country, especially since it was the only Asian stop for this A- list pop star.

He also commented that Live Events gathered this from conversations it had had with tour operators who got in touch with them directly to block a certain number of tickets, since they have been getting inquiries predominantly from India, for example Bangalore and Chennai, as well as the Maldives.

Live Events Communication and PR Manager Blessie Keegel stated that, in just a few days, the company had sold over 50 per cent of their tickets, with the lowest priced ticket, namely the Bronze ticket category, having already been completely sold out.

Source : http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx

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