Dubai Chamber seminar explores Sri Lanka’s tourism potential for UAE businesses

Wednesday, 2 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Urges Sri Lankan companies to benefit from Dubai’s wide experience in the diversified tourism sector
Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called upon Sri Lankan companies to share Dubai’s experience in the tourism sector which is one of the leading drivers of the emirate’s economic growth. In its drive to promote tourism, the island country can benefit from Dubai’s diversified economy which is working to support the tourism industry and drive new growth through a number of visitor-friendly initiatives, said Al Ghurair. He was speaking at the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Seminar organised by Dubai Chamber in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy as he also urged Dubai businesses to invest in Sri Lanka’s tourism sector which offers ample investment opportunities due to the country’s open door policy and close proximity to the UAE. Welcoming the Sri Lankan delegation headed by M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, Deputy Minister of Economic Development (Tourism), Al Ghurair stated that the UAE was well connected to the island country with Emirates airline and a number of Sri Lankan carriers flying direct services between Dubai and Colombo. He also pointed out the presence of 270 Sri Lankan companies operating under the aegis of Dubai Chamber and expressed his desire to see these numbers increase, especially in the tourism sector, for the enhancement of trade and tourism between the two countries. Also speaking during the event were Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the UAE, Hizbullah, Deputy Minister of Economic Development (Tourism), and M.M. Raheem, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai. In his keynote address, Hizbullah lauded the economic development of Dubai which he said has set an example for growing economies of the world to follow stating that Sri Lanka serves as the point of entry to South Asia and has become a major global logistics hub due to rapid development of various sectors particularly in the port and aviation segments. The Deputy Minister of Economic Development added that tourism is the first beneficiary of peace and political stability in the country. Sri Lanka has seen a rapid increase in tourist arrivals and last year the country recorded over one million tourists and is poised to attract 2.5 million arrivals by 2015. With many UNESCO heritage sites, beaches, wildlife parks and hill country resorts bottled up in to a small space Sri Lanka is undoubtedly one of the best holiday destinations waiting to be discovered and celebrated, said Hizbullah. He also invited Dubai Chamber members to attend the Commonwealth Business Forum (CBF) 2013 which is organised on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, and will be held on 12-14 November 2013 in Colombo with the objective of exposing the investment potential of Sri Lanka to the region and the world as the country’s target is to attract FDIs worth a billion US dollars during the current year. Thanking Dubai Chamber for its invaluable cooperation in hosting the event, Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the UAE, called upon the UAE-based travel trade to support the promotion of Sri Lanka as a favoured tourist destination. He said Sri Lanka’s travel destinations provide an array of holiday experience from sun kissed beach holidays to a marathon of wildlife watching, adventure sports and pilgrimage to some of the oldest cities in the world. The smiles and hospitality of Sri Lanka is world famous and so are its spicy food, exotic fruits and array of sweets found nowhere in the world. With so many cultures living next to each other life in Sri Lanka continues among a series of festivities throughout the year, an ideal recipe for fun and leisure, said Balasuriya. M.M. Raheem, Consul General of Sri Lanka in Dubai, gave a presentation on Sri Lanka’s key economic sectors, its infrastructure and business development projects as well as major tourist attractions that drive hordes of visitors to the island country.