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.
Paris has returned to the top of the ICCA City Rankings in emphatic style – hosting 40 meetings more than second place Vienna and knocking Barcelona off the summit. The French capital hosted 212 rotating international association meetings in 2018, 22 more than last time, and returned to the number one position it last occupied in […]
Thailand has extended its e-visa on arrival fee waiver until October 31 for 20 countries including India. Citizens of Andorra, Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Taiwan, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Malta, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan will be exempted from the Thai Baht 2,000 visa-on-arrival fee […]
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 – […]
Propelled by extremely strong demand for business events from India, the Penang Convention & Exhibition Bureau (PCEB) has appointed Alfa Destination Marketing as its representatives in India to manage travel trade strategy, public relations and industry alignment across both countries. India has proven to be a strong market for Penang and is one of the […]
Abu Dhabi’s premier conference and exhibition venue ADNEC is developing its Hall 4 to provide a fully flexible conference space following consultation with clients. With in-built AV capability and acoustic panelling, the new conference facility will offer 3,607 sq m of space with a ceiling height of 6.5m. It will be able to accommodate 3,000 […]