Sri Lanka Tourism celebrated World Tourism Day on September 27th, 2016 focusing on the UNWTO’s theme for this year, “Tourism for all – Promoting Universal Accessibility.”
The official celebration was held at the auditorium of the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management with the participation of all tourism industry stake holders.
The day’s programme included announcing the winners of the “50 best tourism experiences in Sri Lanka,” launching of the documentary ‘Adaraneeya Sri Lanka’ and a seminar on ‘Tourism for all – Promoting universal accessibility.’
Issuing a special message to mark World Tourism Day 2016, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga noted, “This year’s theme of ‘Tourism for all – promoting universal accessibility’ is of greater relevance to us here in Sri Lanka as we are now on the cusp of rapid growth in both tourism infrastructure development and hotel inventory. It is indeed the right time for us to plan ahead and make Sri Lanka a success story in providing accessibility to all in this part of the world.”
The Minister added, “We need to start by facilitating our own physically challenged people who are eager to explore their motherland but hesitate to do so due to inadequate facilities. As a country that has emerged from a three decade long war that has left thousands of its citizens with various disabilities, Sri Lanka is obligated to put in place the basic facilities needed to ensure both the safety and comfort of physically challenged people. We must also make every effort to use modern technology to remove barriers for people with special needs such as hearing and visual impairments.”
Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism, Mr. Paddy Withana in his message for World Tourism Day noted that, “This day, which is celebrated annually on the 27th of September, is an excellent opportunity to create a social platform on developing the tourism sector and enhancing the economic growth of the country. It also showcases the importance of tourism and it’s social, cultural, political and economic value as well. At present, Sri Lanka is going through rapid economic growth and also having an increase in tourist arrivals, which is indeed good news for the local tourism industry.” (Media Release)