Two Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Seminars were held in UAE under the patronage of Hon. M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, the Deputy Minister of Economic Development as the Chief Guest. These two seminars were the culmination of the vigorous tourism promotion campaign conducted by the Embassy under the initiative of H.E. Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in UAE from the beginning of 2013. The Diplomatic officers met more than 100 tour and travel operators in all seven Emirates of the UAE and collected their contact details and sought their assistance to promote Sri Lanka among local Emirati people as an ideal tourist destination. The response from the tour and travel operators has been encouraging and promising. They have promised to extend their fullest cooperation to promote Sri Lanka tourism since it benefits both sides. The contact details of those travel agencies will be distributed among their counterparts in Sri Lanka enabling them to share information about special packages, facilities and other promotions in future. This will be helpful to achieve the target of 2.5 million tourists to Sri Lanka in 2016.
The First Seminar was held at the Dubai Chamber Commerce on 30th September 2013 from 10.00 am to 12.00 noon. The Seminar was sponsored by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. H.E. Abdul Rahman Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce welcomed the Sri Lanka delegation and the invitees for the event. H.E. Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka for UAE also made a welcome speech while Hon. Deputy Minister made the keynote address. The main presentation was made by Mr. Abdul Raheem, Sri Lanka Consul General in Dubai. In addition to the Chairman, several other senior officials of the Dubai Chamber attended the event. During the question and answer session, questions were raised on the tax system and investment security in Sri Lanka. They praised the present peaceful environment in Sri Lanka which is conducive for investments in the thriving tourism and other sectors. This seminar was well attended by representatives from leading tour and travel agencies from Dubai and Northern Emirates and the excellent logistic facilities provided by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry was appreciated by the participants.
The second seminar was held on the 1st October 2013 at Le Meridian Hotel, Abu Dhabi and the participants were travel agents, Sri Lanka hoteliers and professionals from Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. H.E. Dr. Mahinda Balasuriya welcomed the invitees and noted that post 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka has taken tremendous initiatives in developing the country and its infrastructure to put Sri Lanka in the tourism world map and to invite holiday makers to visit the beautiful island, the paradise in the world. Sri Lanka has witnessed increasing tourist arrivals in last 03 years and the figure touched 01 million travelers in 2012. He further noted that the holiday makers and Arab travelers in the Middle Eastern region have chosen Sri Lanka to spend their vacations with their families. This shows that Sri Lanka has a very conducive environment for Arab travelers to spend their holidays without any fear since Sri Lanka has restored the peace and political stability in 2009, so that they could experience the Sri Lankan hospitality and make their holidays a memorable one.
By making the keynote address Hon. Deputy Minister gave details of the forthcoming CHOGM and Commonwealth Business Forum in Sri Lanka from 12th to 14th November 2013. “In parallel, we are also organizing an Exhibition on Trade, Tourism and Investment from 12th to 17th November 2013. I am sure it will be another opportunity for businessmen from this region to meet and expand their business relations with Sri Lankan counterparts. More than 500 companies are displaying their varieties of products and services at this exhibition and we are expecting 1000 overseas participants and visitors to attend the trade exhibition in Sri Lanka. I take this opportunity to invite you and make the benefit of these opportunities in Sri Lanka” the Deputy Minister observed.
The main Sri Lanka Tourism presentation was made by Mr. Sunil Galagama, Minister Counsellor of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Abu Dhabi. Dr. Aruna Rabel, the President of the Sri Lanka Professionals in UAE moderated the seminar.
Some pictures of the two events are attached: