“I do’s” and more for Sri Lanka Tourism

The tourism industry is gearing to market Sri Lanka as a dream destination for not just leisure but also weddings with 200 Chinese set to wed in Colombo in a mass ceremony.

File picture of white water rafting, a popular activity among adventure travelersSri Lanka as one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world and fast becoming the most popular attraction in South Asia has become the target of Indian and Chinese weddings. In this regard, the Tourism and Christian Affairs Minister John Amaratunga announced in Parliament during the tourism ministry budget debate that reservations had already been made for a mass wedding of 200 Chinese in Colombo.

In the meantime, Sri Lanka is targeting 4.5 million tourists by 2020 and in this regard is set to achieve over two million arrivals by the end of this year, the minister said.

He explained that Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is currently growing at a rate of 15 per cent and was likely to achieve revenue in the range of over US$3.5 billion this year compared to the $3 billion gained in 2015.

By 2020 the country is set to achieve $10 billion in earnings from the tourism industry becoming the number one income generator in the economy.

The minister explained that he together with Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had held discussions with online travel agencies like Agoda, Expedia hotel and Tripadvisor to enlighten them on the state plans to regularise the growing informal sector in the tourism industry. In this respect, the government is hoping to gain assistance from these agencies as well.

Minister Amaratunga asserted that investments into the sector are continuing with the latest being the US based-Radisson Hotel showing interest in establishing at least two hotels in Sri Lanka.

The state is looking at the growing niche segment for marketing like yachting, ballooning and another key segment medical tourism with a special emphasis on Ayurveda, the minister said.

In addition, it was pointed out that today Sri Lanka has been able to attract large cruise liners set to call at the Hambantota and Colombo ports added to the charters that have now resumed to the country on an improved scale.

Sri Lanka is also hoping to double the output of its skilled workforce to the sector in collaboration with the Don Bosco Training Institute, Aquinas Training Institute and Gangaramaya.

Moreover, the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) has introduced a new course titled a Certified Hospitality Finance Management Accountant Professional developed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Sri Lanka (ICASL).

The minister also noted that a promotional campaign would kick off as part of the international destination marketing campaign in the first quarter of next year that was held up due to government regulations and procedures.

During 2016 the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) had carried out 122 country specific promotion campaigns that included participation at 58 travel fairs, the minister said.

He also explained that the policy framework established for the industry by the government was in line with achieving these targets.

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

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