Basil inaugurates ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ as post-war Sri Lanka celebrates tourism revival
Saturday, 28 June 2014 00:32
The fourth edition of Sri Lanka’s biggest tourism product mart and the only tourism fair in Sri Lanka, ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ was declared open by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre. The exhibition, organised by the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and Sri Lanka Tourism, will conclude today.
Sri Lanka is a top tourism destination in Asia and the industry’s superior hospitality services have helped boost the sector. Hence, ‘Sancharaka Udawa’ is considered an important stage in order to showcase industry portfolios under one roof, and at which to make direct contact with key industry players. A total of 300 stalls covering 150 related industries attached to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, displayed services and products at the event.
The event also displayed hospitality services such as travel, tourism and water sports now available in Sri Lanka. Hotel and restaurant services with special offerings such as ayurvedic therapy services, wildlife safaris, dolphin watching and open sea fishing, cycling, team sports, day tours, cultural and heritage tours, world tours and air travel services were also showcased at the event.
Speaking at the event, Minister Rajapaksa said that the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka has been able to attract tourists to Sri Lanka and contribute significantly towards the development of the sector in areas previously not known as destinations. “Today the industry has expanded to the north, south, west, east and even the central hills.”
Tourism as a fast growing industry in Sri Lanka has been able to attract many investors into the country as well. A Central Bank report revealed that in 2013, tourist arrivals to the country surpassed the initial target of 1.2 million to record 1.27 million arrivals a growth of 26.7% over the previous year. Earnings from the industry have also increased considerably in 2013.
According to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the improved hotel and related infrastructure facilities and an increase of arrivals of high-end tourists contributed to the growth in tourist earnings for 2013.
Rajapaksa also said that the stakeholders in the tourism industry are fully aware of the country’s cultural, natural, tradition and dignity, but cautioned against unfavourable business models that may lead to the destruction of the industry’s value.
This year, companies have taken the lead in displaying new services offerings for participants at the event.
Traditional dancers perform at the Sancharaka Udawa the two-day tourism exhibition at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre