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All set for Tourism Leaders’ Summit and International Research Symposium tomorrow

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Wednesday, 3 October 2018 00:00



  • 4th edition focuses on ‘Integration of Global Value Chains for Sustainable Tourism Development: Inclusiveness, Cooperation and Innovation’
  • Tourism Minister says sustainable tourism is key to long-term success, needs best brains in SL to plan route to sustainable tourism development
  • Calls on industry to be conscious of not killing the goose that lays golden eggs in the process
  • Dr. Silva affirms inclusive and participatory tourism can spur dialogue, foster mutual understanding, support efforts towards building the pride of the nation
  • Tourism Leaders’ Summit to discuss seven key topics, International Research Conference to recognise special contribution for Sri Lanka tourism development

By Charumini de Silva

The fourth edition of the Tourism Leaders’ Summit and International Research Symposium is all set to be staged this week to ensure sustainable tourism development in Sri Lanka and to strengthen its position in the global market. 

The two-day summit and international research symposium, titled ‘Integration of Global Value Chains for Sustainable Tourism Development: Inclusiveness, Cooperation and Innovation’, is an annual flagship event organised by Alumni Association of the Tourism Economics and Hospitality Management (AATHEM), Department of Economics in University of Colombo and Ministry of Tourism Development. 

The International Research Symposium will be held on 4 October, while the Tourism Leaders’ Summit will be held on 5 October at the BMICH in Colombo under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena as the Chief Guest.

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga believes this year’s summit will provide a constructive dialogue on the required policy and controls to ensure sustainable tourism development in Sri Lanka which will prepare the industry for the anticipated doubling of arrival numbers over the next few years.

“As we work towards the goal of making tourism the leading revenue generator for the country, we must also be conscious of not killing the goose that lays the golden eggs in the process. We must manage our tourism resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled, while maintaining the cultural integrity, ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems that sustain our tourism assets,” he added.

Emphasising on development of sustainable tourism is the key to long-term success of the industry, the Minister said industry needs the best brains in the country to map out the route to sustainability while meeting the needs of tourists, stakeholders and host communities alike. In this context, he believes it will ensure inclusive economic growth, satisfied local communities and most importantly the preservation of cultural and natural assets.  

“We need to focus on engaging the local communities in conservation, promotion and sustainable development through capacity building. We have to look at sustainable promotion of local culture, handicrafts, cuisine, dance forms, etc. while increasing the opportunities for social contact and protection of both the natural and built environment. Appropriate policies and business practices will lead to a sustainable tourism sector that will contribute effectively to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he pointed out.

Amaratunga said tourism is now a main pillar of Sri Lanka’s economy and its position will be further consolidated with the targets that have been set for the industry, namely four million tourists, 600,000 direct employees and $7 billion dollars in revenue by 2020. 

“Tourism has become the passport to prosperity for many countries and Sri Lanka should be no exception. However this prosperity will be dependent on how we manage this sector. This is where we require the input of the academics in order to ensure and enshrine sustainability at every level of the tourism eco system,” the Minister stressed.

He called on more academics to get involved in the tourism development process, noting that it was one key sector that trickles down its benefits to the lowest levels in the community.

The Minister commended efforts of the University of Colombo for hosting this important annual event to leverage it to deliver optimum results for the benefit of the economy and more importantly to the people.

The core objective of the summit and conference is to provide a constructive dialogue to deliver most required policy and management applications to strengthen sustainable tourism development in Sri Lanka, under the guidelines of the United Nations’ SDGs, while bringing tourism and hospitality sector professionals, practitioners, academia and policy makers to a single platform to create a national discourse to promulgate tourism as one of the key driving forces of the economy.

Founder of Masters in Tourism Economics and Hotel Management University of Colombo Dr. D.A.C. Suranga Silva was of the view that inclusive and participatory tourism can spur dialogue, foster mutual understanding and support efforts towards building the pride of the nation.

“Sustainability of our tourism can be ensured only if such tourism development guarantees the wellbeing of our people, prosperity for all, durable peace to the nation, protected environment and strengthened partnership will all key stakeholders,” he said. 

Dr. Silva pointed out that this event is held to stimulate and keep towards the direction of Sri Lanka tourism Development for the economic viability, local prosperity, employment quality, social equity, visitor fulfilment, local control, community wellbeing, cultural richness, physical integrity, bio diversity, resource efficiency, fair trade and environment purity.

The fourth edition of the Tourism Leaders’ Summit will discuss seven key topics: Diplomats Forum – ‘Global Expectation for Sri Lanka Tourism Development’, World Organization’s Forum – ‘Building Capacities and Enhancing Community Contribution for Inclusive Tourism’, International Tourism Organisations’ Dialogue – ‘Lessons Learnt from Global Best Practitioners’, National Tourism Organisations’ Forum – ‘Together for Tourism All’, Cooperate and Industry Leaders’ Forum – ‘Strengthening Cooperate Partnership for Implementation of Tourism Strategies’, Aviation and Travel Forum – ‘Enhancing Connectivity and Industry Networks’ and Human Resource Forum – ‘Multiplying Human Capital Investment’.

In addition, the Tourism Leaders’ Summit and International Research Conference focuses special recognition either on organisation or individuals for special contribution for Sri Lanka tourism under four categories which includes; Professional Excellence in National Contribution for Sri Lanka Tourism Development Award, Lifetime Award of National Contribution for Sri Lanka Tourism Development and Promotion Award, Excellence in Leadership for Sri Lanka Tourism Development Award and Academic Excellence in National Contribution for Sri Lanka Tourism Education Award.

Speakers of the conference include: World Bank Country Director Dr. Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Country Director Simrin Singh, World Federation of United Nations Associations, USA Special Advisor (DJur) Audrey Kitagawa, Singapore Tourism Board Regional Director - South Asia, Middle East and Africa, G.B. Sritar, European Union Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Tung-Lai Margue, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of Tourism management Associate Dean Prof.Brian King, The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, UAE Director Research Unit Prof.Sanjay Nadkarni, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management Director Prof.Sandeep Kulshreshtha, Shangri La Hotel Colombo Vice President and General manager Timothy Wright, ITC Ltd Executive Director Nakul Anand, Emirates Airline Area Manager Sri Lanka and Maldives Chandana De Silva, American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Sri Lanka President Dr. Kumudu Gunasekara, Triad Managing Director Dilith Jayaweera, Export Development Board (EDB) Chairperson Indira Malwatte, Jetwing Group Chairman Hiran Cooray, Dialog Axiata Plc Group Chief Executive Supun Weerasinghe, Kapruka Founder and Chairman Dulith Herath, Founder Nihonbashi and Ministry of Crabs Darshana Munidasa, National Human Resources Development Council of Sri Lanka (NHRDC) Chairman, Dinesh Weerakkody, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) General Manager Inoshini Perera, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Director General Upali Ratnayake, Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM) Chairman Sunil Dissanayaka, and Immigration and Emigration Department Controller General M.N. Ranasinghe.

The event is being held in Public-Private Partnership with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), SLTDA, SLCB, SLITHM, Mount Lavinia Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel Colombo, Hilton Colombo, Turkish Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Jetwing Hotels, PickMe, Scienter Techonologies, CINEC Campus, Ritzbury Chocolates, Travel Voice, Classic Travels, Senok Trade Combine Ltd, Barberyn Ayurvedic Beach Resort, Melwa Hotel & Resorts Ltd., Zam Resort Ltd. and Richard Peris and Company Plc.

Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe


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