100 Chinese couples to say ‘I do’ in Colombo

Thursday, 30 November 2017 01:20 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

From left: China Embassy Cultural Attache Liu Dong, SLTPB Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara, Megapoils and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga, Waters Edge Chairman Chamath de Silva and Sri Lanka Green Leaves Entertainment Ltd. Managing Director Zhang Hong 

                                                                                                 - Pic by Ruwan Walpola


By Charumini de Silva

In a fresh attempt to position Sri Lanka as a wedding destination, the Government has planned to hitch 100 Chinese couples at a mass wedding ceremony on 17 December at Town Hall, Colombo.

Organised by the Tourism Development Ministry together with the Megapolis and Western Development Ministry, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and Green Leaves Entertainment Ltd, this grand Sri Lanka-China traditional mass wedding is expected to strengthen the two countries’ relations, with it being held under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga described the event as a significant occasion to promote Sri Lanka tourism, particularly amongst Chinese nationals. 

He said the 100 couples getting married in December would not be a one-off occurrence but a monthly event. “I am told they will be sending groups of young Chinese men and women to come to Sri Lanka and celebrate their marriage and enjoy their honeymoon every month following the mass wedding ceremony.”

Amaratunga asserted that there were many more couples requesting to join the mass wedding but the authorities had to restrict this as this was the first event and they needed to ensure that the facilities and planning were of the highest quality.

Noting that Sri Lanka was now the most popular destination in South Asia, the Minister said that there was no other country that could offer this level of diversity, saying the country’s appeal was immense.

He said these events would undoubtedly attract more Chinese to Sri Lanka, especially younger Chinese tourists.

Megapolis and Western Development Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka declared that the event was going to be a historic milestone for Sri Lanka to celebrate strong bilateral relations with China while showcasing the island’s rich heritage.

“The tourism industry is a thrust sector of our economy. Foreigners are attracted to the warmth of our people and this is one of the key reasons for these 100 Chinese couples to visit Sri Lanka to celebrate the most important milestone in their life,” he added. 

Stating that Chinese Admiral Zheng visited Sri Lanka in 1410 and took away then ruler King Alagiyawanne, who then married a Chinese lady, he added that the descendants of this King were still living in China.

According to the Minister, a princess’ son from that dynasty in China would be coming to Sri Lanka to get married in Colombo. “This is a historic event for our country as we may be able to have some links with our lost royal dynasty after more than 600 years.”

In addition, three Chinese Olympic medallists will also be getting married at the mass wedding. He called on all stakeholders to help make the event a major success.  

The Managing Director of the main organiser of the event, Green Leaves Entertainment Ltd, Zhang Hong, noted that there were over 500 couples registered in China, but they could not accommodate all of them at this mass wedding. 

It was revealed that the 100 couples were selected from various provinces of China and they hoped to have mass weddings in Sri Lanka on a monthly basis. 

Three Chinese celebrity chefs will also be flown in to provide catering for the mass wedding. 

Green Leaves Entertainment Ltd. Chairman Harendra Rodrigo told the Daily FT that they were expecting around 800 guests from China, including couples and their relatives who would be flying down for the event and staying in Sri Lanka from 16-23 December.

“All the couples will arrive on 16 December morning via three SriLankan Airlines flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. They will be staying at Kingsbury Hotel and Galadari Hotel,” he added.

Rodrigo said that on 17 December the wedding party will be ceremonially escorted to the venue by 100 cars and horse carriages. The main ceremony will take place at Town Hall from 4.00 p.m. to 6.30 p.m., while the dinner reception will be held at Waters Edge.

In the future he asserted that they hoped to conduct mass weddings at Waters Edge and also promote mass weddings in European countries as well, but not on this scale.