Tourism Minister to woo Chinese and Indians for weddings in SL

Minister of Tourism Development John Amaratunga on his visit to China to participate in the World Conference on Tourism for Development last Tuesday said he has plans to woo the Chinese to hold their weddings in Sri Lanka.

A flute player at Kandalama Hotel, which is also popular for weddings.“I was approached by many Indian parties to host their weddings here and also a few Chinese parties. In China I will explore this matter further and aim to get some mass weddings here,” Mr. Amaratunga told the Business Times.

He said that Sri Lanka has always been an ideal destination for exotic wedding ceremonies and currently it enjoys the third spot on most popular destination for weddings and honeymoons in the world.

Indians are famous for mass destination weddings here and in March Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone was in Sri Lanka with her boyfriend, Ranveer Singh, also an actor for her best friend’s destination wedding.

Mr. Amaratunga said that some Chinese parties have already expressed interest in destination weddings in the island.

For mass weddings, hot-air balloon drifting, a jungle setting, wide sandy beach with an elephant, a riverboat cruising, private island, tea plantations, to a private ceremony in an old church in the hill country are all possibilities that Sri Lanka can provide, ministry officials said.

According to Mr. Amaratunga the conference which coincides with the China Tourism Day, was to be addressed by Chinese leaders and bring together others in the areas of tourism and development to spur dialogue and create a better understanding of tourism’s contribution to development, including poverty alleviation and peace.

“I have also been appointed as a panelist for a discussion under the theme of peace and poverty. I also have been given the opportunity to meet the Head of the Chinese Tourism Ministry and my request to meet five leading travel agents in China has been met positively. I believe this will add considerable value to our industry.”

On this occasion, China, as chair of the G20, was also hosting the 7th G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting under the theme “Sustainable Tourism – An Effective Tool for Inclusive Development”. Kalpitiya The Government is entertaining proposals to develop islands in Kalpitiya and Jaffna, Minister of Tourism and Development, John Amaratunga said.

He told the Business Times that two hotel groups from Maldives and a company in Europe are interested in Kalpitiya and that the Ministry wants the diaspora to invest in the Jaffna islands.

“We want them to come and build properties in the Jaffna islands. We’ll have a programme for them soon to inform them of our intention,” he said. Some 11 islands under the Kalpitiya development project are to be given on 30-99 year leases and the Maldivian hoteliers are interested, he added.

Mr. Amaratunga said one hotel group was in Colombo last week to discuss possible development in Kalpitiya. He added that in Jaffna more than 35 islands can be turned into hotel resorts.

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