From left: SLTDA Director General Malraj Kiriella, PATA Sri Lanka Chapter Chairman Hussain Jayah, Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Secretary Janaka Sugathadasa, Minister of Tourism Development, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramanium – Pic by Shehan Gunasekara
Minister described PATA Annual Summit in SL as a vote of confidence in country’s rapidly-developing tourism sector
Expects 2.5m tourist arrivals, $ 4 b earnings this year
Representatives from 34 countries to participate, includes some of Sri Lanka’s key tourism sourcing markets
PATA SL Chapter Chair says the Annual Summit would garner global travel organisations’ attention to Sri Lanka
By Charumini de Silva
The Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) will hold its Annual Summit 2017 in Sri Lanka from 18-21 May under the theme of ‘Disruption, Innovation, Transformation: The Future of Tourism’.
The four-day summit is hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) in collaboration with PATA at the Jetwing Blue, Negombo, where representatives from 34 countries will participate which included some of Sri Lanka’s key tourism sourcing markets.
Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga described PATA Annual Summit in Sri Lanka as a vote of confidence in the country’s rapidly developing tourism industry.
“Last year the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) held an international conference in Sri Lanka followed by French Travel Agents conference, and now we have PATA holding their Annual Summit in the country. What better vote of confidence can Sri Lanka ask from global travel authorities?” he told journalist in Colombo recently.
The Minister also said that this year they were expecting the tourist arrivals to be 2.5 million and generate $4 billion to make tourism one of top foreign exchange earning sectors in the economy.
“Last year, we ended up close to $3.5 billion and this year we should reach about $4 billion — if all goes well and there’s no world war and disruption. This is just an estimated figure, it could be more,” he added.
The event will highlight issues related to sustainability, sharing economy, while disruptive innovation, marketing and research innovation, youth engaged in disruptive tourism, poverty and migration will also be discussed.
PATA Sri Lanka Chapter Chairman Hussain Jayah commended the Tourism Authorities for winning the bid to host this important event in Sri Lanka which would automatically garner a lot of attention from international travellers, international airlines and a large number of travel industry companies in Asia Pacific.
“I would like to congratulate and thank profusely on behalf of PATA, the dynamism of the minister and his team in securing and winning the bid to hold the summit in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Noting that PATA is a non-profit organisation responsible for the development of travel in the Asia Pacific region he said it consists of 95 government, state and city tourist bodies, 29 international airlines, airports and cruise liners and 63 educational institutions.
“With so many entities involved, the main advantage of the summit is the publicity and promotional activity created for Sri Lanka just by holding the event in the country,” he added.