Sri Lanka’s MICE tourism capacity could do better: Minister

conference tourism mice gossip

Jun 10, 2016 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should look at increasing its potential as a venue for holding Meetings, Incentive travel, Conferences and Events (MICE) tourism, a minister said.

“This is something we need to work on as our MICE tourism capacity is lagging behind,” John Amaratunge, minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, said.

We see huge growth potential for this segment especially from India and China, he said speaking at the second Cinnamon Travel Bloggers conference and awards 2016 held recently.

According to data the MICE industry had generated approximately 400 million US dollars in revenue in 2014 with the conduct of about 68 conferences.

China remains Sri Lanka’s fastest growing tourism market with the number of visitors up 31.5 percent to 16,004 in May 2016 from a year ago. India is the biggest source of visitors, up 7.9 percent to 34,259 in May 2016 from a year ago and up 21.9 percent in the five months to May.

Total tourist arrivals rose 10.1 percent in May 2016 from the year before, with arrivals up 18.4 percent in the January-May period.

The Minister noted that, in a very encouraging development, the leading French travel association, the National Union of Travel Agents in France (SNAV) that represents about 1,300 travel related entrepreneurs of France has decided to hold its 2016 annual congress in Colombo with the objective of promoting Sri Lanka as a venue for holding MICE.

“This is a huge morale booster for the industry and one that will translate into considerable growth in the French market over the next few years while also seeing growth of the MICE segment.”

He said that the UN World Trade Organization (UNWTO) for the first time will host a global conference in Pasikudah in July.

The conference “Tourism: A Catalyst for Development Peace and Reconciliation” will be held in Pasikudah, Batticaloa from 11th to 14th July 2016 with the technical assistance of the UN World Trade Organization (UNWTO).

Over 60 top travel and video bloggers attended TBC Asia held from 2-7 June 2016 in partnership with the Professional Travel Bloggers’ Association (PTBA) and SriLankan Airlines.

Matt Gibson, president of the Professional Travel Bloggers Association, said that Asia’s tourist industry was not yet using travel blogging to boost the industry like its North American and European counterparts.

“You are going to see hundreds and hundreds of blog posts add tens of thousands of social media posts about Sri Lanka giving travelers a personal look at a trip to your country,” he said.

“This is not something you can buy.”