We need to support Sri Lanka in this hour of crisis and the devastation of a carefully nurtured tourism industry that rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the 30-year civil war that ended only a decade ago. The last 10 years of hard work, infrastructure development and good marketing have catapulted Sri Lanka into an attractive meeting and incentive travel destination in Asia. Sri Lanka has fought hard and earned the respect of the global tourism industry by holding their own against all odds. And that earns my respect and support.
The aftermath of the Easter bombings in Sri Lanka has been debilitating for the industry. Forty tourists died in the blasts, including foreign nationals from Australia, Bangladesh, China, India, Denmark, Japan, the Netherlands, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the US.
About 90 per cent of business events bookings in Sri Lanka have either been postponed, cancelled or put on hold for the months of May and June according to the country’s stakeholders. Sri Lankan tourism officials estimate cancellations could be as high as 50 per cent in coming months. The world’s largest wildlife conference – the 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora – which was originally scheduled from May 23 to June 3 and would had drawn 4,000 delegates from some 190 countries is another major event that has postponed. The conference has been tentatively moved to September this year, but a final decision is awaited. The World HR Congress with the participation of 2,000 people from 40 countries is also confirmed for July 2020.
The only immediate measure that Sri Lanka can take to reassure the world community is to root out the remaining suspected terrorists who are still embedded in the country, neutralise them completely along with their cache of weapons, expose the cleansing on global media and declare the country a safe zone. Thereafter, the country must exhibit the preventive security measures taken to effect safety as per global standards. The airports, hotels, meeting venues, public monuments and museums, galleries must demonstrate unequivocally their readiness to implement the strictest of checks and controls. This will surely bring tourists and MICE groups back to what is one of the most beautiful and tourist-friendly destinations in Asia and perhaps the world.
The choice of a venue should be aligned with the objective of the event being planned, the experiential giveaway that is intended and the long term impression the organisers wish the attendees to take away. A conference is an opportunity for you to be a leader of change; to collect some of the biggest and […]
The United Nations is to receive commitments from the event industry for the first time at the Sustainable Development Goal Summit in New York. Heads of state and government will gather at the UN headquarters on 24-25 September to review progress against the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For the […]
Latest research into the trends in incentive travel show ‘soft power’ is competing with sales and bottom line as a key driver in the industry. Of respondents to the Incentive Travel Industry Index, 67 per cent of incentive travel professionals cited soft power as one of the most important benefits of an incentive travel programme, closing the […]
Malaysia continues to prosper with rampant acquisition of business events and has secured four new major conferences. Among the winning bids are the University of Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS 2019), the 7th Asia Pacific Urban Forum (APUF 7) 2019, the 19th East Asia Regional Council of Schools (EARCOS) Teachers’ Conference (ETC 2021) and the Conference […]
India Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB), announced that it will strengthen its efforts and infrastructure to help and support associations and professional conference organisers (PCOs) to aggressively bid for large international conference and exhibition events during its 12th annual Conventions India Conclave in Kochi. Suman Billa, joint secretary of tourism and the chairman of ICPB said […]