From left: Nuwan Gamage - General Manager – Marketing, 4Ever Skin Naturals Ltd, Indika Amarasuriya - Marketing Manager, Mobitel Ltd, Ms. Achini Dandunnage - Senior Manager, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, Kosala Wickramanayake - Co – Founder Chairman of JITF, Aasim Mukthar - CEO, Lanka Exhibition & Conference Services Ltd., Saman Perera - Additional Secretary, Ministry of Industry & Commerce, K. Pooranachandran - Co – Founder Chairman of JITF and Past President, Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam, Husnie Rauf - General Manager, Lanka Exhibition & Conference Services Ltd, Chaminda Perera - Chief Executive Officer - Ideal Motors Ltd., Sanjeewa Gunasinghe - General Manager – Sales & Marketing, Industrial Asphalts (Ceylon) Plc and Shahnawaz Mohideen - Managing Director, Reliable Group of Companies - Pic by BhanukaKirinde
By Waruni Paranagamage
The Jaffna International Trade Fair (JITF), the most comprehensive multi-feature exhibition in the north, is scheduled to be held from 29 to 31 January 2016 at the Municipal Grounds in Jaffna.
Organised by Lanka Exhibition and Conference Services (LECS) for the seventh consecutive year, the exhibition aims to attract the building constructors from all over the island to Jaffna, in order to ensure higher construction growth in the Jaffna peninsula.
The exhibition, which was the first of the kind to be held in the northern region of the country, has throughout the years been renowned as the best and most effective platform for the meeting of investors, businesses and the masses in the region.
The organisers of the exhibition said that they were expecting over 60,000 visitors for the 2016 exhibition.
Co-Founder Chairman of JITF and past President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Yarlpanam K.Pooranachandran said that the SME sector of the country would get many business opportunities by participating to the exhibition.
“We need high-quality building constructors for Jaffna and we are seeking constructors from all over the island. The SME sector can obtain benefits in the long run by participating in this exhibition, rather than expecting short-term benefits.”
He said that Sri Lanka had received a grant from the USA for construction development in the North and North Central Provinces. “Hence, we welcome the island-wide suppliers to contribute in this endeavour of the development process.”
He added that the SME sector in the country had a favourable environment for their business development and opportunities to expand their network islandwide after the new Government took over.
The exhibition, which will also feature hospitality industry, food beverage and packing industry, automobile industry, ICT industry, financial services, apparel, agricultural, consumer goods and many others, will be held over three days.
LECS CEO AasimMukthar asserted the event is considered a pivotal meeting point by the business community in Jaffna.
“There is no event of this kind for the entire northern region and all businesses and locals of the region look forward to this event. The exhibition is considered the best meeting point between them and the rest of the country and the world. Therefore each and every visitor to the exhibition is focused in order to harness maximum value during the three days,” he added.
LECS General Manager HusnieRauf asserted that the exhibition also aims to uplift the exports of Jaffna peninsula and support the Jaffna SME sector to move to the next level of their businesses.
“In 2010 we underwent many barriers and we had only 150 stalls. But today the exhibitors have all the facilities for their business development in Jaffna. We expect over 200 exhibitors and 250 stalls at the trade fair in January. We also expect over 60,000 visitors,” he added.
JITF has been hailed to be the common platform under which networking and expanding of investments, business ideas, existing businesses and sharing of knowledge occurs, after the end of the civil conflict that ravaged the area.
The north is yet to be fully penetrated by private investments and remains ‘virgin territory’, with many of the resources in the area yet to be fully utilised. The Jaffna peninsula has among its natural riches and resources a vibrant community filled with passionate human resources who are willing to harness and expand their potential through such events.
The exhibition last year drew a record number of 50,000 visitors with each exhibitor achieving well beyond their expected targets in terms of all indicators.
The massive infrastructure development currently underway in the region has also paved way for many investment opportunities in the region which could not be afforded previously. The regions, roads, electricity, bridges and all other core facets are currently being developed in the Government’s endeavour to ensure the region is on par with many of the most potent business and lifestyle destinations in the world.
Many past repeat exhibitors have sighted this expo as a “gateway to the north”. Joint ventures, tie ups, large orders have been the highlights of business matchmaking between the people from the south and north.
The organisers have planned many concurrent events during next year’s show; some of the highlights will includea two-day musical evening with popular artistes, road show prior to the expo, children’s carnival and amusement park and much more.