- EDB, Sri Lanka Tourism spearheading initiatives as focal points for six-month exposition
- Minister Prasanna Ranatunga holds key meeting with stakeholders
- Believes exposition will help enhance country’s international reputation as business location
- Lankan icons Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Peter Kuruvita drawn in as Brand Ambassadors
By Charumini de Silva
Two key agencies of the Government are firming up initiatives for Sri Lanka to seize maximum benefit from the six-month-long influential global event World Expo 2020 which is slated to start in Dubai in October.
Sri Lanka’s participation at Expo 2020 in Dubai is being spearheaded by the Export Development Board (EDB) which, together with Sri Lanka Tourism and Industrial Exports and Investment Promotion and Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunga, chaired a meeting this week with all relevant stakeholders.
Industrial Export and Investment Promotion Ministry Secretary Mapa Pathirana, Tourism and Aviation Services Ministry Secretary Marina Mohamed, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, Export Development Board (EDB) Chairman Prabhash Subasinghe and EDB Director General Jeevani Siriwardena participated in the discussions.
Expo 2020 Dubai is slated to be the most diverse expo in the world, and seeks to attract over 25 million visitors, 70% of whom are foreign, to showcase the best products from more than 200 countries. It is scheduled be held for 173 days (nearly six months) from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 and spread across a land area of 438 hectares located midway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
“We are confident that participation in Expo 2020 Dubai will contribute significantly in achieving the set targets and growth of the tourism sector, while also stimulating the development of the innovative export sector and investments,” Minister Ranatunga told the Daily FT.
He is of the view that this exposition will help enhance the country’s international reputation as a location to conduct business.
During the meeting, it was decided that all programs of Expo Dubai would be presented as Government initiatives. It is the first time that Sri Lanka has sought Cabinet approval to participate in an international expo as a public-private partnership.
Acknowledging that there had been a slight delay in the work’s progress, the Minister nevertheless said that plans with public and private stakeholders were now storming ahead, ensuring the effective implementation of the project.
With dedicated pavilions allocated for each individual country, Sri Lanka too will have its own exhibition area under the subtheme ‘Opportunity’ and will be branded under the title ‘Island of Ingenuity’. Sri Lanka’s pavilion will outline the country’s rich portfolio of offerings as well as promote it as an export hub driven by innovative products and services, prioritising identified focused areas in the National Export Strategy (NES).
Sri Lanka’s ‘Assisted Pavilion’, spanning over 212 square metres, was provided by the Government of UAE, which would otherwise have cost Rs. 600 million, will be designed by students of the Department of Integrated Design of the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Moratuwa.
The Sri Lanka Government signed the official participation contract with the Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau on 8 July 2019.
Given the magnitude and global attention, world-renowned Sri Lankan personalities Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Peter Kuruvita were also appointed Brand Ambassadors for Expo 2020 Dubai.
Permanent exhibitors (State sector) include: The EDB, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka (BOI), Sri Lanka Tea Board and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). Other participating sectors include export services, industrial products and agricultural products.