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.
Meetings fatigue is increasingly a reality with delegates and a nightmare for conference organisers. Attendees are becoming more selective about which events are worth taking time off from work to attend. Is the attractiveness of time well-spent waning because of a lack of attention to meeting design and content? Perhaps it is also how much […]
Expedia Group and Marriott International have entered into an agreement for the Expedia Group to become the exclusive global distributor of Marriott’s wholesale rates, availability and content to a network of global travel providers. Marriott is introducing changes to how it approaches the redistribution of the company’s wholesale rates and availability among third-party travel providers […]
Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) is aggressively promoting inbound travel from India, focusing on meetings and events, based upon a 43 per cent rise in tourist arrivals from India in 2018. The revenue generated was 80 per cent higher than in 2017. The kingdom has the infrastructure ready with convention centres, world-standard accommodation facilities […]
The European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS), a visa waiver pre-screening programme for visa-exempt visitors to the EU beginning January 1, 2020, has caused worry among some outbound incentive planners as well as corporate organisers operating incentive travel in the EU. Concerns include that Europe will become less appealing due to the additional security […]
In a move that augurs well for the Indian MICE industry overall, the Indian government has announced the availability of e-visas for attendees at all conferences. Thus far e-visas were extended to delegates attending conferences organized by the government or quasi-governmental agencies. This development has been met with enthusiasm from the Indian MICE industry which […]