UNWTO Chief arrives for Asia Pacific meetings in Colombo

Wednesday, 23 March 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The fast-recovering Sri Lanka tourism industry is getting another big boost with the World Tourism Organisation selecting Sri Lanka as the location for hosting the 23rd Annual Conference of South Asia and East Asia and the Pacific from 24 to 26 March 2011.

The conference fits in perfectly the 12 monthly themes of Sri Lanka Tourism where March is dedicated for meetings and conferences.

This esteemed event is an important programme in the calendar of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the specialised agency of the United ‎Nations in the field of tourism with a membership of 154 countries in seven territories and over 400 affiliate ‎members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations ‎and local tourism authorities.‎ UNWTO serves as a ‎global forum for tourism policy issues and a practical source of tourism know-how.‎

A number of tourism specialists and international media personnel are attending this conference and Sri Lanka is making use of this opportunity to show them around the country so that a positive message about Sri Lanka Tourism will be delivered to the world through this key influence people.

The conference will be held under the theme ‘Mainstreaming Tourism in the Media’ where eminent international speakers such as Marcelo Risi, Dr. Victor Wee, Alejandro Ossa, Susan Warren, Simon Calder. Zoltan Somogyi will address.

Some of the topics discussed at this conference would be ‘Positioning tourism – The media as an ally,’ ‘Successful promotion: Visit Malaysia Year Project,’ ‘Overcoming adversity: When the only risk is wanting to stay’ and ‘How to sell your story’ followed by panel discussions with participating global media.

“The World Tourism Organisation has recognised the important role tourism will play in the post conflict development of Sri Lanka and the unique advantage Sri Lanka has with our highly diversified product range to become one of the  most sought-after tourist destinations in the world,” said Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Dr. Nalaka Godahewa.

Dr. Godahewa has been invited to speak on ‘Harnessing Regional Cooperation in Tourism Development and Communication’ at the conference.

Apart from the said speakers, foreign participants consist of tourism ministers, senior officials, business leaders and marketing specialists from South Asia, South East Asia and Pacific and the UNWTO delegation is led the Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai. The occasion is expected to be graced by Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and his Deputy Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena.

Sri Lanka Tourism will make use this opportunity to show case Sri Lanka’s unique attractions and locations and will also add value to the event with  journeys on the steam engine train ‘Viceroy’ and the Jetliner Cruise while Sri Lankan dances and fashion parades will add colour to the evening functions.

Sri Lanka Tourism is taking all measures to convey through the participants that Sri Lanka is not only an ideal platform to exchange ideas of mutual interest, but also one of the safest destinations in the world as well as a location with wide diversity which offers a memorable experience to foreign delegates and visitors.