• Sri Lanka wooing investors, tourists


    Colombo, Sri Lanka: The government of Sri Lanka hosts an exposition on trade, tourism and investment parallel to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on November 13 to 17, 2013.

    Some 800 exhibitors, business delegations, buyers, equipment and technology providers, and other stakeholders from member-states of CHOGM are in the country for a five-day conference and exhibition to showcase the true essence of Sri Lanka’s trade, tourism and investment.

    The first-ever exhibition to be held in the country will be held at the Folk Art center in Battaramulla, Sri Lanka.

    At present, Sri Lanka is seeking to strengthen trade partnership between the Philippines and other investors, as well as bigger regional cooperation in developing various sectors in the country.

    “We are honored and proud to host the very first exposition on trade, tourism and investment in our country,” said H.M.G.R.R.K. Wijeratne Mendis, charge d’affaires of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila.

    “After 30 years of civil war, we are happy to share with the participants opportunity to source from diverse variety of quality products that Sri Lanka has to offer. Also, we are now opening our doors to investors who want to set up their businesses in the country,” Medis added.

    The conference is organized by Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Industry and Commerce together with Sri Lanka Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Board of Investment in Sri Lanka, Ministry of External Affairs and other line Agencies, which will be held parallel to the CHOGM where more than 2000 businessmen from local and commonwealth, as well as noncommonwealth nations will be participating.

    Mendis stressed that Sri Lanka is poised for aggressive growth in several key sectors of its economy. With almost all the areas open for foreign investment—including education, tourism, infrastructure and trade.

    “In these priority sectors, the government of Sri Lanka is actively encouraging foreign direct invest-ment to ensure strong and positive economic indicators,” she said.

    Lastly she said that she would like to invite the business community in the Philippines to explore the possibilities in Sri Lanka in these fields.

    For her part, Sarangi Thilaka-sena, assistant director for inter-national media affairs of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, said that this year’s biggest tourism event aims to create platform for local travel agents to have direct one-on-one dialogue with their counterparts in the world.

    At present, Thilakasena said that tourism is the third-largest income-generating asset for Sri Lanka with revenues of over 2 billion rupees annually.

    The Tourism Promotion Board is optimistic that it will exceed its 850,000 target for the number of tourists coming into the county this year. It also aims to reach about 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016 as part of its five-strategic tourism plan

    “We are very much on track with our targets for the year,” she said, adding that from January to October 2013 Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals reached 800,000.

    “To date, India remains the biggest number of people coming into the country. But we want to shift our focus more on western countries, as well as Asian countries,” she said, adding that they aim to capture two emerging markets—including China and Russia.

    Thilakasena said that Sri Lanka as a tourist destination is open to all countries, including the Philippines.


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