Archive | November, 2012

Canadians asked to look at Sri Lanka as a ‘tourist destination’

Posted on 30 November 2012 by TSL

"Youre Our World", was the theme of a business luncheon held Thursday, November 29th in Toronto. With probably the largest Sri Lanka Diaspora overseas, the potential of developing the tourism market is very high. Canadians are travellers and big spenders when it comes to tourism.  "In the last two years tourism in Sri Lanka has faced a remarkable turnaround and tourist arrivals from Canada to Sri Lanka has almost doubled this year for the first ten months compared to last year. Arrivals from North America increased 18.7 percent to 42,737 from 36,016 last year with travelers from Canada leading the way. The Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) process has eased the entry for citizens of some countries by eliminating paper work and cutting processing time", said Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada Chitranganee Wagiswara. Speaking to a capacity crowd at a well attended business luncheon organized by Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council in Toronto, the high commissioner said that Sri Lanka has undergone major development in the tourism sector with road infrastructure and new hotels springing up in many part of the island. 'Lonely Planet' named Sri Lanka as the top destination for 2013 boosting the country's profile and paving the way to high profits, she said adding that the country is now equipped with most modern facilities available the world over. The business luncheon was a joint collaboration of the 22-year old business council and SriLankan Airlines GSA in Canada. Sri Lanka's High Commissioner was Chief Guest at the event and was joined by the Consul General for Sri Lanka in Toronto, Karu Paranawithana and his deputy H.M.B. Herath. The audience comprised of Canadian tour operators and travel agents, members of the business council and invited guests. Guests arriving at the event were greeted by SriLankan Airlines banners and other promotional material that gave a feeling of "happy flying" in the air. Potential of increasing tourist traffic from Canada to Sri Lanka is huge specially when you take into account that there is a large population of Sri Lankans living here presently.

"Go straight from the luxury of your vehicle to your flight with the introduction of the 'Silk Route'. Let one of our concierge handle your check-in, immigration and baggage formalities while you relax. When it's SriLankan Business Class , we take care of you," said Country Manager for SriLankan Airlines in Canada, Lalith Wickramasinghe. Business Class passengers are offered an exclusive check-in service at the Silk Route. The entrance to the Silk Route is located before you arrive at the Airport departure terminal. Customs and Immigration counters are available at the Silk Route for the convenience of Business Class passengers. Follow the map to the Silk Route and let our staff pamper you before you board your flight.

 

 

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Building economic infrastructure for development

Posted on 22 November 2012 by TSL

 

 

 
 

The development of economic and social infrastructure is vital for rapid economic development. Inadequate infrastructure has been a serious bottleneck for the country’s economic development. This was made dramatically clear when the country’s economy was seriously jeopardised by the energy crisis in the mid nineties. The energy crisis affected industrial production adversely to such an extent that the country’s economic growth was negative.

The setback to economic development owing to poor infrastructure in other areas is less apparent, though no less debilitating. Unsatisfactory road conditions, congestion of traffic, long hours to traverse relatively short distances are among the impediments to rapid development. The development of highways, ports, bridges, public transport, railways, telecommunications and irrigation are important for an economy’s development.

These constitute essential economic infrastructure whose development is vital to support investment. The efficiency of investment is determined by the state of a country’s infrastructure. The significant contribution of social infrastructure to economic development though less perceptible is no less important. Education and health make significant contributions to support economic development and higher levels of economic achievement are inconceivable without higher skills in science, technology and management.

Underdeveloped infrastructure

The country’s infrastructure has been underdeveloped in many areas to support a high rate of economic growth. Comparisons with less developed countries have often led us to complacency in the need to focus on infrastructure development. Financial constraints have restricted the capacity of governments to invest as much as is needed for the development of infrastructure. In fact government finances have been so limiting that in many years financial difficulties have resulted in cutting back of even voted capital expenditure. In many past years there have been cuts in capital expenditure owing to inadequate finances.

It is to the credit of the government that infrastructure development has been an important focus in the country’s development strategy. This is particularly so with respect to developing the country’s energy capacity, development of roads and irrigation. However there are many areas of infrastructure that require to be addressed. This is especially so with respect to the state of education and health. The economics of infrastructure development, especially the methods of financing, require serious evaluation.

Financing infrastructure

While the importance of infrastructure development is undeniable and the recent progress in the development of infrastructure commendable, the means of financing large investments in infrastructure have important economic repercussions. Two characteristics of economic infrastructure investment are that they are large and their economic returns take a long period of time. In many cases it is even difficult to determine precise benefits of infrastructure investment. Therefore the manner of financing infrastructure investment is a significant issue.

However beneficial investments in infrastructure are, if they lead to large fiscal deficits these would lead to inflationary pressures. Further, as there is a large import content in many infrastructure investment projects, such investment would increase import expenditure and strain the trade balance and balance of payments. Foreign financing is a means of avoiding these pitfalls, but large foreign borrowing too would result in high foreign debt servicing costs.

For these reasons the phasing out of infrastructure investment is needed. Even more important is the need to ensure that there is a prioritization of investment in infrastructure and to ensure that infrastructure projects lead to higher export earnings or reduce import expenditure. Investment in energy would no doubt increase the production capacity of the country and help export industries. In the case of roads and bridges, some highways would be economically more beneficial than others.

Similarly, the development of ports and other transport infrastructure has a range of cost: benefit ratios. Therefore the prioritization of infrastructure on the basis of costs and benefits is important. Import costs, export earnings and the impact of financing on the public finances and debt servicing costs should be considerations in infrastructure investment.

The Institute of Policy Studies State of the Economy 2010 report has discussed some of these issues. It is of the view that the additional expenditure on infrastructure investment must be found by reducing public expenditure in non productive areas and through public sector reforms. It states: "The priority for fiscal policy is to release financing for infrastructure investment and reconstruction spending. This entails that a mix of far reaching economic, institutional and policy reforms accompany a re-orientation of public finances.”

The IPS observes, “In the absence of such reforms, Sri Lanka will falter in putting its public finances in order – that is, cutting back on recurrent spending to support capital investment. Without such flexibility, a heavy infrastructure-led development drive will inevitably rely on borrowed funds. This will not only lead to an accumulation of the country's stock of public debt, and associated risks for macroeconomic stability, but will also mean that Sri Lanka's development priorities do not have the financing that is needed on a predictable basis.” The underlying principle is that the much needed increase in infrastructure should come from reduced government expenditure rather than through foreign borrowing.

The government’s current infrastructure investment is heavily financed by foreign borrowing. Foreign funded large infrastructure projects should have potential for increasing foreign exchange earnings or reducing import expenditure or else it would be a burden on the balance of payments. Further, there is need for prioritization of infrastructure investment on the basis of cost benefit analyses and the gestation period of such investment. All infrastructure investments are not of high benefit.

Summing up

One of the achievements of the government has been the improvement of the country’s economic infrastructure. This is especially so with respect to the enhancement of energy that was a serious constraint to economic development. Many obstacles and challenges were overcome to develop new power plants. Some may still argue that these power plants have adverse environmental impacts, ARE DAMAGING TO THE ENVIRONMENT. Nevertheless there is no denying the fact that they have augmented the country’s power supply at reduced costs through additional thermal power generation. Energy costs are high. Therefore the development of new sources of cheaper energy is vital. Efficient administration of public utilities too has a bearing on energy costs.

On the other hand, there are concerns that some economic infrastructure developments may not be cost effective. The methods of financing including large foreign financing of infrastructure projects have been questioned. Financing additional expenditure through savings from other expenditure has been suggested to reduce the inflationary impact of infrastructure investment. There has also been little attention to public-private partnerships for infrastructure investment.

However important infrastructure development is for the country, expenditure on infrastructure investment should consider the costs and benefits of such investment and how they are financed. All infrastructure investments are not equally valuable to the country’s economic and social development. In view of the largeness of infrastructure investment there should be a prioritization of infrastructure investment. The government should consider these aspects in the continuation of its infrastructure development programmes of the future.

 

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Sixty years on, Colombo Plan alumni to revisit Alma Mater

Posted on 22 November 2012 by TSL

WHEN Tennyson Rodrigo came to Australia from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) to study chemical engineering in 1952, he was so ''exotic'' that the Herald ran a front page picture of him attending a ball, and he was invited on to ABC Radio to introduce Australian audiences to the sitar.

Mr Rodrigo was one of the University of NSW's first international students and an early recruit of the Colombo Plan, a government ''soft power'' scholarship program that sought to develop the Asian region by educating its best students in Commonwealth countries. Back then White Australia was still in place and the University of NSW was a collection of makeshift classrooms and dormitories.

Now Mr Rodrigo is 82, the campus is a multibillion-dollar hi-tech mini-city, and international education is the state's second biggest export industry after mining, injecting $6 billion a year into the NSW economy. In a survey this year of 12 leading global cities, Sydney had by far the most international students, with about 180,000, nearly twice as many as the runner-up London with 99,000.

Many of the 20,000 students educated under the Colombo Plan between 1952 and 1985 went on to hold senior positions in the public and private sectors of their home countries, including the Indonesian Vice-President, Boediono.

Mr Rodrigo established Sri Lanka's first oil refinery and first nitrogenous plant, before taking up senior positions in banking, consulting and industry. He is among Colombo Plan alumni returning to the Kensington campus this week for a gala dinner celebrating the plan's 60th anniversary that will be addressed by the Premier, Barry O'Farrell.

Ngiam Tong Yuen, 73, (chemical engineering, 1962) worked to establish electricity, gas and water supplies for Singapore before moving on to leadership roles at Exxon. Hiep Tien Luu, 69, also a chemical engineering graduate, co-founded the respected Lotus University in Ho Chi Minh City.

Jennie Lang, the vice-president, advancement, at the University of NSW, said the success of Colombo graduates ''really spearheaded trade, economic, scientific, industry and education-based collaboration with Australia''.

The chief executive of the Committee for Sydney, Tim Williams, said international students helped create a virtuous circle in the economy, because cities with higher densities of graduates ''are the ones that the world's talented people are flocking to''.

The Colombo Plan was so successful in developing long-standing relationships in the region that the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, proposes to revive it, though his version would have a more ''mutual'' flavour, with Australian students studying in Asian countries as well.


 

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Lessons from Sir Robert Swan – Rohantha Athukorala

Posted on 20 November 2012 by TSL

Rohantha Athukorala serves the United Nations (UNOPS) as the Head of National Portfolio Development – Sri Lanka and Maldives. He is a multiple award winner in marketing, business and leadership. The thoughts shared are strictly his personal views and not the views of the organisations he serves. The following article is enlightening and TSL is pleased to share it with our readers. Courtesy of Financial Times of Sri Lanka (FT).

In the backdrop of Sri Lanka moving up globally in the Ease of Doing Business index and the Global Human Development index, which means that the country is getting on the fast track of aggressive economic and business growth, as a nation we keep hurting brand Sri Lanka, making me wonder if it has to do with us being an island nation

The recent economic shocks hitting brand Sri Lanka are the $ 60 million oil hedging deal that we lost, impeachment motion against the Chief Justice, and the validity of the 13th amendment that the world was waiting for implementation. Whilst each of them may have some logic attached, the fact is that we are creating negative news on brand Sri Lanka and this is not what Sri Lanka requires now, especially with a competitor like Myanmar becoming a hot destination for global aid and investment in the next three years. On the aid front the numbers coming out is that Myanmar is to receive 10 billion dollars in aid by 2016.

Robert Swan OBE
Amidst these shocks hitting Sri Lanka, we had top corporate MAS Holdings staging one of the greatest human beings in the world, Sir Robert Swan OBE, at Galle Face Hotel. Championed by corporate personality Dian Gomes, together with the only Sri Lankan South Pole conqueror Imalka De Silva, the cream of corporate Sri Lanka was present to listen to the first person who has walked to both the South and North Poles.
The South Pole saga alone had taken Robert Swan on a 900-mile journey, where he came down in weight from 73kg to 33 kg, which gives us an indication of the challenge to his physical health.
Though we came to listen to the great works of this exceptional human being, what we ultimately took away was the single-minded message that climate change was the next atom bomb that was going to hit us and the only people who can stop it even to certain extent were the people in that room – the business community. Let me pick up the key ideas shared.

 

Lesson 1: Dreams make life
Apparently from the early years of Robert Swan’s life, he had the dream of conquering the Antarctica. Whilst his parents used to refer to him as a person requiring psychiatric help, Robert continued working on his dream and went on to make it happen.
In his words, “A man without a dream is not a man,” and he went on to say that he has seen many successful people who do not know why they are doing things. His advice to us was “do not rush through life so that you wake up one day and realise you are done with it. Always remember your dream. That’s what makes life interesting.”
I believe there is truth in this since when we pursue dreams, there is no end; the dream continues to grow within us. Swan is a living testimony to that fact.
Today his dream has grown and he is the UN Ambassador for Youth and he champions sustainable development globally by making youngsters experience an Antarctic expedition. The question is, do we yet have the fire of the dream that we once had? Have we allowed that dream to grow?

 

Lesson 2: Eccentric talent
I was quite surprised about Swan’s honesty, when he defined his team. As he said: “I had an eccentric team who were fanatic in their own area of expertise.” The beauty about Robert was that he accepted the team for their diversity and in his view, unless a team has diverse views, the team will never have the quality of thinking to achieve a challenge.
Though I have heard this line many times at business school, the perspective that Sir Robert Swan shared this insight gave a new meaning to many of us. After all, with no GPRS or satellite phones at that time, the only lifeline was the skill that each one had. One mistake and they would perish with no one even there to report their death. The question to us in business is, do we really like people who challenge us though we like to preach that we want diversity in our team?

 

Lesson 3: Experts must lead
It is said that a photograph tells us a thousand words. One picture that caught my attention was when Robert showed a picture of the team on route to the Antarctica and the comment he made was: “I allowed the experts to lead and I only supported the team.”
It was an interesting thought as many of want to always lead in our organisations, and that most of the time. But Robert’s thought was lead only when required; the rest of the time, allow the experts to lead. The question in reality to me was: Do we like to be actually led, especially if they are younger than us?

 

Lesson 4: Laughter binds
Once the five million odd pounds was collected to go on the Antarctica challenge, Robert wanted to have an impactful launch at the River Thames, which went absolutely wrong. The boat rammed the stage holding the key invitees and also damaged the tower bridge. When reporters asked Robert for a comment, he said: “That was sure an ice-breaker.” It got the audience to laugh and it also made it to the headlines the next day in the print media.
I guess it’s true what people say, laughter binds people together. The question is, do we take the time to use laughter to bind our teams or are we so focused on the end objective that we do not stop and enjoy the journey? Sir Robert Swan did and in fact he got us all laughing many times last Saturday.

 

Lesson 5: Do what you say
One of the conditions from a sponsor to Robert was that he makes sure that he cleans the Antarctica before he leaves it on the way back home. Sir Robert Swan wanted to honour this task and even though their boat had capsized on the way back, once he found himself back home he got himself together and tracked back to the Antarctica to honour his commitment.
As at today he has removed almost 1,500 tons of rubbish from Antarctica. In Robert’s words: “Do what you say and talk to people in person in an era of email and text messaging. The greatest impact is when you meet face to face. Just do it as often as possible.”

 

Lesson 6: Listen to environment
A point emphasised was that the recent issue on the weather – hurricane Sandy and the adverse weather in Sri Lanka last week. In Robert’s view, the environment was telling us something. But the question is, are we listening? In his judgment, it’s time that the business community listens and intertwines business strategies with the environment. “It is not two concepts but one linking to the other,” emphasised Sir Robert Swan.
A word that caught my attention was when the only Sri Lankan who has conquered the Antarctica, Imallka De Silva, commented: “You must brand the environment and link it to business.” It was a very powerful message to corporate Sri Lanka. Swan made the climate change challenge real last Saturday.

 

Lesson 7: Look for champions
I loved the words he mentioned and how he demonstrated about how today his real task is to find the champions who can share the message of caring for the climate. For instance, he has led multicultural teams to accompany him to the Antarctica and thereby take the message forward.
My mind went back to my workplace. Do we try to find champions and support them or are we so busy trying to achieve the hard tasks that we forget that it is people that make things happen? If we can find champions and power them with hope and resources, we can build them to strive for greater tasks. But this requires the maturity to make your subordinates better than you. The million dollar question is, do we want to make someone actually better than us at work? If we have this mindset, then we are practicing sustainable leadership.

 

Lesson 8: Do not lose the dream
Once Robert Swan had received recognition after becoming the first person to trek the South and North Poles, he was touring the world to share his story and spread the issues of climate change.
One of his journeys took him to the Middle East where some wealthy Sheiks called on him to inquire what help he required. His answer was simple: “Can you find a woman who can conquer the Antarctica from the Middle East?” This ultimately led to 25 women taking up the challenge, which included nine females from Saudi Arabia.
What was great about Sir Robert Swan to me was that he stayed focused on his dream without turning to life’s passion for money. He could have asked for funding instead of taking his cause to the people of Middle East. But he opted for the latter and I guess this is what makes some people world beaters.

 

Lesson 9: Change by experiencing
Today, at the age of 57, Robert’s only objective is to take youngsters to the Antarctica so that they can see how climate change is causing ice to head to extinction. So are the polar bears. As he said: “Let the youngsters experience the challenge so that they will take the word to the world.”
Last Saturday’s experience changed the ways in which we now look at climate change and was a key take for many of us. Now the question is, how can we integrate business to the environment and brand the environment like what Imalka voiced?

 

Lesson 10: Life of rivers
The last point shared by this exceptional man was how he met Sri Lankan conqueror Imallka De Silva and how this resulted in him finally agreeing to come to Sri Lanka. He added: “Life has its own ways in which rivers are created. The question is how we nurture them and link them to our dreams.”
It was strange but I went for the event because I received a call from Dian Gomes’ office to come for the event and a personal call from Imalka and I am glad I did. Climate change has impacted our day-to-day lives. Even hurricane Sandy was thousands of miles away. But Sir Robert Swan made it real and at arm’s length.
The only people who could solve it to some extent were in that room at the Galle Face Hotel – the business community. The million dollar question is, what actions will corporate Sri Lanka take this week or will this also be a just a book entry in the memory chip of our brain?
 

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Minister Rambukwella takes Melbourne Hotel to Court

Posted on 20 November 2012 by TSL

 

Mass Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella was due to leave for Australia yesterday to appear in a case he has filed in the Victoria District Court against a hotel in Melbourne seeking compensation for an accident he suffered during his last visit to Australia. Minister Rambukwella suffered leg injuries after falling from the balcony of a room in Cormone Hotel after the room door closed due to some malfunction, shutting him out in the balcony.

As the minister tried to find his way into the room through a devious means, he fell from the balcony suffering leg injuries for which he had to be hospitalised.

Minister Rambukwella who took nearly four months to recuperate returned to the country on May 24, filed a case against the hotel for negligence and lack of security and proper safeguards seeking compensation for his injury. It is learnt that the lawyers for the respondent hotel is negotiating with the minister's party to come to an amicable settlement outside court.

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SRI LANKA TOURISM: Kalkudah Bay gets Boutique Villas

Posted on 20 November 2012 by TSL

Nov 20, 2012 (LBO) – A 500 million rupee a 30 villa boutique hotel with French investment will be built in Kalkudah Bay, in Sri Lanka's eastern coast, the state investment promotion agency said.
 
Sri Lanka's Board of Investment said 12 luxury bungalows comprising the Karpaha Kalkudah resort will be built among 300 coconut, kohomba and palmyra trees. Karpaha is a reference to the palmyra tree. The property will have a private plunge pool and will face 280 metres of beach frontage with a fringe of coconut trees giving privacy.Sri Lanka's east was a war zone until a 30-year war ended in 2009. The BOI said there was investments from France but did not give details.

"It reflects the peaceful situation in the country as well as the growing confidence on the part of the investor community to start hotel projects close to the former conflict areas," the BOI said in a statement.

"Tourism is one of the key economic sectors that Sri Lanka is targeting, since it provides many opportunities for investor in hotels and other tourism related activities."

Styled as a boutique hotel, the property is expected to open for business in July 2014.

 

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Architect Moshe Safdie Selected to Design Tallest Residential Building In Colombo

Posted on 19 November 2012 by TSL

Safdie Architects was recently selected to design a new mixed-use development in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The 69-storey mixed-use project will be the first for Moshe Safdie in Sri Lanka, and is expected to be the tallest residential building in Colombo when it is completed. The design includes expansive family and community space amenities such as community gardens, shared outdoor spaces within the upper levels of the building, and individual roof gardens or terraces for every residence, a hallmark of Safdie’s design philosophy to provide access to outdoor spaces in high density urban housing. More images and architects’ description after the break.

The 69-storey mixed-use development is in the city center and will face Beira Lake, with pedestrian accessible retail outlets at the ground level. The Colombo project draws on Safdie’s groundbreaking Habitat ’67 in Montreal. Since that time, Safdie Architects has continued to explore and build projects incorporating fractal-geometry surface patterns, dramatic stepping of the structure that results in a network of gardens open to the sky, and streets that interconnect and bridge community gardens in the air.

Colombo’s building form consists of two tower blocks, with one block leaning into the other vertical tower, which supports it. The overall form tapers towards the sky, so that even though it is quite a large building, it maintains a delicacy on the skyline. The structure is highly rationalized, affording cross-ventilation and multiple exposures in every residential unit. The towers are oriented to the movement of the sun and to maximize air flow in the tropical climate, as well as take advantage of 270-degree views of Beira Lake and the Indian Ocean.

At the ground level, an arcade of retail outlets on the west side facing Beira Lake sets the standard for future lakefront development along the planned pedestrian promenade. Restaurants on a mezzanine level overlook the promenade onto the Lake.

Pradeep Sureka, Director of Indocean Developers (Pvt) Ltd., whose company will build the towers, said “We are pleased to be working with Moshe Safdie on this project. It was of paramount importance to us that that architect we chose be an iconic, global figure with a list of commendable projects in his/her portfolio. We had no hesitation in deciding on Moshe Safdie. In particular, Safdie’s design for Marina Bay Sands integrated resort has become an immediately recognizable symbol of Singapore, and we are confident that he will do justice to the beautiful Beira Lake site.”

Architects: Safdie Architects
Location: Beira Lake, Colombo, Sri Lanka
Developer: Indocean Developers (Pvt) Ltd, a venture of Indian property group South City Projects (Kolkata) Pvt. Ltd
Project: High end, luxurious 69-storey residential tower with shopping, F&B outlets and entertainment
Land/Built-up Area: Two acres/close to 1.5 million sqft
Expected Starting Date: 2012
Expected Date of Completion: 2017

 

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Business opportunities in Cultural Heritage development

Posted on 19 November 2012 by TSL

 

 

With the huge potential of mutual heritage in Sri Lanka, the need exists for alternative investment resources in order to sustain mutual heritage sites in the island. One needs to look at (international) investors and commercial enterprises with the aim of making heritage more self-sustainable. To further the process and explore opportunities, the Netherlands Embassy together with partners, is organizing a seminar on sustainable heritage management and business opportunities in heritage development under the banner "Value your Heritage".

On November 23rd, between 17.00 and 19.30, a day long program with workshops will culminate in a function that explores future possibilities for Public-Private Partnerships in cultural heritage in the Sri Lankan context. Participants from the government, the private sector and academic institutions will have been invited to share their experience and points of view, in order to explore the possibilities for sustainable partnerships. The guest of honour, Senior Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama will share his insights and the key note address will be delivered by the Secretary of Defense and Urban Development, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Experts and representatives from the business community will join in the discussion.

This seminar is meant to gather local as well as international players and provide a solid basis for new ways of thinking regarding the conservation and maintenance of mutual heritage sites. The seminar aims to find new ways of fundraising for heritage projects and it will aim at pointing out mutual interests between public and private sectors in relation to managing heritage on the island. The seminar will provide a platform to bring together the public and private stakeholders, including governmental institutions, national and international private sector companies as well as investors in the field of tourism.

The Netherlands has been cooperating with Sri Lanka in the field of (mutual) cultural heritage for over two decades. During this period, capacity in the field of heritage management and infrastructure for cooperation has been developed. The capacity building programs have contributed substantially to the prominent position Sri Lanka holds within the international heritage community. Heritage sites need to be properly maintained and managed, but also exploited in a sustainable manner. Finding new viable (economic) purposes is important because the truth for heritage is: "use it or lose it". Benefits of economic development of heritage should cut both ways, as investors, local communities and the heritage itself will be able to benefit. However, all groups and stakeholders have their own interests and working methods, which need to be taken into account in their cooperation.

Partners in the organization are the Ministry of National Heritage, Ministry of Arts and Culture, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Ministry of Economic Development and CIE- Centre for International Heritage Activities.

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SRI LANKA: Tourist arrivals show marginal increase

Posted on 19 November 2012 by TSL

 

The Sri Lanka government set an aggressive target of 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016. In keeping with this forecast, the island nation recorded a consistent inflow of tourists in the first ten months of the year. For the first time, North American arrivals showed an increase of 21 percent to 46,963 with travellers from Canada leading the way. Arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean rose 66.2 percent to 1,278 from 769 in 2011.

Tourist arrivals during the first ten months of this year increased by 16 percent to 774,151 in comparison to 667,569 recorded in the corresponding period last year, while the number of visitors in the month of October surged by 15.5 percent to 80,379 from 69,563, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority data showed.

Tourist arrivals from other countries also showed marked growth:

  • Arrivals from Western Europe increased 17 percent to 293,472 from 250,847 registered in January-October last year with arrivals from United Kingdom topping the list;
  • Travellers from Eastern Europe increased 51.6 percent to 50,087 from 33,031 with tourists from Russia leading.
  • Tourists from Africa increased 53.6 percent to 4,046 from 2,634 with arrivals from South Africa coming first, while travellers from West Asia declined 1.3 percent to 43,945 from 44,522.
  • Arrivals from East Asia increased 31.1 percent to 100,678 from 76,779 with travellers from Japan leading, the arrivals from South Asia increased 3.2 percent to 193,465 from 187,460 with tourists from neighbouring India leading.
  • Tourist arrivals from Australasia increased 23 percent to 40,217 from 32,700 with travellers from Australia leading the number of arrivals.


Several programmes to empower the SME sector are being finalized to provide better facilities to the arriving tourists, the government is in discussion with the World Bank to facilitate a grant of US$ 18 million to the SMEs in the hospitality sector which would reach 300 businesses. The growth momentum slowing down after two years of rapid growth is posing questions about the achievability of the government’s anticipated goals for 2016 with 2.5 million arrivals and US$ 2.75 billion targeted from the industry.

The country would need to sustain 30 percent growth in the number of arrivals to the country through the four years to achieve set goals, industrialists said.

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Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board participates in Chinese Travel mart

Posted on 19 November 2012 by TSL

 

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), along with 14 Local Travel Agent Companies and Sri Lankan Airlines, successfully participated at the China International Travel Mart 2012 (CITM 2012); the biggest Travel Mart in China.

Having kicked off recently, the CITM 2012 was held at Shanghai New International Expo Centre, providing a precious opportunity for the Sri Lankan Travel Agents to meet their counterparts in China.

With the basic view to create awareness about the peaceful conditions in Sri Lanka after the end of the war, Consumer Days were held on November 17-18 and steps were taken to introduce a number of latest products related to the market of China. Since a number of media personnel participated, SLTPB also got an excellent opportunity to obtain a very good media exposure to market its product to the travellers worldwide.

With the ambition of holding business meetings with over 40 tour operators, SLTPB plans to organize a road show at Hangzhou city in Shanghai.

Representing Sri Lanka at CITM 2012, Ranjith Uyangoda, Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, Vimal K. Arulampalam, Minister Councillor and Madubhani Perera, Acting Director, Marketing of SLTPB, participated at the event.

China has been identified as an emerging market in the field of tourism. During the past decade, a rapid growth of Chinese travellers has been witnessed all over the world. Having foreseen this phenomenon, Under the guidance of the Ministry Of Economic Development, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has initiated a number of promotional programmes to attract potential Chinese Tourists to Sri Lanka. Thus, during the past few years, the Tourism sector of the island, in fact, experienced a lot of positive outcomes. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

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