Sri Lanka eyes international events to attract tourists: Tourism Chairman


Dec 03, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka Tourism is currently looking at international level entertainment and sports events to attract more tourists to the island nation, Tourism Development Authority said.

The 2016 budget granted a 50 percent tax holiday for 5 years for companies incorporated specifically to engage in conferencing and exhibition type of activities.

“We are looking at renowned entertainers and sports events. We want to bring events to Sri Lanka where tourists can participate,” Chairman of the Authority, P M Withana said.

Chairman said the Tourism Development Authority is planning several developments to enhance the sector.

“We are planning a very good program in Galle with a view to transform Galle to the prestige capital of South Asia. We are also looking at a convention and conference facility in Battaramulla,” he said.

The 2016 budget also proposed to build a convention hall in collaboration with the private sector adjacent to the Town hall with 7,000 seating capacity.

He pointed out that the industry players should move out of the box as the travel agent thinking of tourism is gradually fading out with the introduction of new technology.

“If you look at the tourism in the future, the travel agent’s thinking is gradually declining. You take your smart phone and just make a holiday with online booking.”

Tourism is a sector in the country with tourist arrivals topping 1.5 million during the first 10 months of 2015 which is almost an 18 percent increase over the same period last year.