Wednesday, 16 October 2013 00:00
Two Sri Lanka tourism promotion seminars were held in UAE recently under the patronage of the Deputy Minister of Economic Development M.L.A.M. Hizbullah as the Chief Guest.
These two seminars were the culmination of the vigorous tourism promotion campaign conducted by the Embassy under the initiative of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in UAE Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya from the beginning of 2013.
The diplomatic officers met more than 100 tour and travel operators in all seven Emirates of the UAE and collected their contact details and sought their assistance to promote Sri Lanka among local Emirati people as an ideal tourist destination.
The response from the tour and travel operators has been encouraging and promising. They have promised to extend their fullest cooperation to promote Sri Lanka tourism since it benefits both sides.
The contact details of those travel agencies will be distributed among their counterparts in Sri Lanka enabling them to share information about special packages, facilities and other promotions in future. This will be helpful to achieve the target of 2.5 million tourists to Sri Lanka in 2016.
The first seminar was held at the Dubai Chamber Commerce and it was sponsored by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Dubai Chamber of Commerce Chairman Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair welcomed the Sri Lanka delegation and the invitees for the event.
Ambassador of Sri Lanka for UAE Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya also made a welcome speech while Deputy Minister M.L.A.M. Hizbullah delivered the keynote address.
The main presentation was made by Sri Lanka Consul General in Dubai Abdul Raheem. In addition to the Chairman, several other senior officials of the Dubai Chamber attended the event.
During the question and answer session, questions were raised on the tax system and investment security in Sri Lanka. They praised the present peaceful environment in Sri Lanka which is conducive for investments in the thriving tourism and other sectors.
This seminar was well attended by representatives from leading tour and travel agencies from Dubai and northern Emirates and the excellent logistic facilities provided by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry was appreciated by the participants.
The second seminar was held at Le Meridian Hotel, Abu Dhabi and the participants were travel agents, Sri Lanka hoteliers and professionals from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
Ambassador Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya welcomed the invitees and noted that post 2009 the Government of Sri Lanka has taken tremendous initiatives in developing the country and its infrastructure to put Sri Lanka in the tourism world map and to invite holiday makers to visit the beautiful island, the paradise in the world.
Sri Lanka has witnessed increasing tourist arrivals in last three years and the figure touched 1 million travellers in 2012.
He further noted that the holiday makers and Arab travellers in the Middle Eastern region have chosen Sri Lanka to spend their vacations with their families. This shows that Sri Lanka has a very conducive environment for Arab travellers to spend their holidays without any fear since Sri Lanka has restored the peace and political stability in 2009, so that they could experience the Sri Lankan hospitality and make their holidays a memorable one.
By making the keynote address Deputy Minister gave details of the forthcoming CHOGM and Commonwealth Business Forum in Sri Lanka from 12 to 14 November 2013. “In parallel, we are also organising an exhibition on trade, tourism and investment from 12 to 17 November 2013. I am sure it will be another opportunity for businessmen from this region to meet and expand their business relations with Sri Lankan counterparts. More than 500 companies are displaying their varieties of products and services at this exhibition and we are expecting 1000 overseas participants and visitors to attend the trade exhibition in Sri Lanka. I take this opportunity to invite you and make the benefit of these opportunities in Sri Lanka” the Deputy Minister observed.
The main Sri Lanka Tourism presentation was made by Minister Counsellor of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Abu Dhabi Sunil Galagama. The President of the Sri Lanka Professionals in UAE Dr. Aruna Rabel moderated the seminar.