Focus for tourism in North, East
International Tourism and Investment conference will
be held in Colombo in August:
The Northern and Eastern provinces will be transformed into a tourist
destination with accelerated tourism related development drive.
“There is untapped potential in the region and measures will be taken
to upgrade facilities and construct more hotels preserving the
ecological balance. The tourism authorities should make a concerted
effort to promote the region which could offer novel attractions,”
Chamber of Tourism and Industry Sri Lanka President A M Jaufer told
Daily News Business.
The North and the East provinces have around 1,200 hotel rooms at
present and this number is insufficient to cater to the expected influx
of tourists in the coming years. Therefore more large scale investments
are needed to fulfil the accommodation needs, he said. An International
Tourism and Investment conference will be held in Colombo in August this
year to showcase the tourism potential in the country with special
emphasis on the North and the East.
A comprehensive action plan to implement systematic development in
the region is necessary and the tourism authorities should include
places of interest in the promotional campaigns to create awareness
The Chamber of Tourism and Industry will support stakeholders in the
region while taking measures to unleash the potential in the North and
The Chamber will coordinate with relevant authorities to fast track
the integrated development approach.
The current logistics support will be improved to meet tourist
demand. “We will take measures to upgrade the cottage industries in the
region while building linkages to market their products. This could also
be a tourist attraction where industrialists will be given financial
assistance to progress in their level of production.
“With plans to establish rail connectivity beyond Batticaloa, the
Eastern region could become a vibrant tourist attraction,” Jaufer said.
Lankan dances add lustre at Belgium Fair
Sri Lankan dancers dazzled the Belgians who visited the ‘Salon Des
Vacances’ tourism fair which was held from February 3 to 7.
The dance troupe performing at the Fair
Dubbed as the ‘largest B2C tourism fair’ in Belgium, this year’s
‘Salon des Vacances’ fair drew more than 150,000 Belgian visitors during
the five day exhibition.
Sri Lanka which was participating in this fair after a spell of four
years, was part of the ‘Asian Village’ - which depicted the tourism
industry and the rich culture of Asia.
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Belgium, together with the Sri Lanka Tourism
Promotion Bureau represented Sri Lanka at the ‘Asian Village’ of the
tourism fair, while the dancers of the Sarasavi Ranga Ayathanaya of
Paris performed at this event.
The increased interest in Sri Lanka as a tourist destination was
clearly reflected in the enthusiasm shown by Belgian travellers during
the ‘Salon Des Vacances’ travel fair.
In 2010 tourist arrivals from Belgium recorded a growth of 106
percent, compared to the 51 percent growth from Western Europe and
overall growth of 46.1 percent.
The 5,398 Belgians who visited Sri Lanka exceeded by a large margin,
Sri Lanka Tourism’s estimate for tourist arrivals from Belgium for 2010,
and fell only marginally short of the highest tourist arrivals recorded
from Belgium in 2006 of 6333. It is estimated that tourist arrivals from
Belgium will reach 7,000 in 2011.
This phenomenal growth has been helped by an ambitious marketing
campaign undertaken by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Brussels, in
collaboration with public and private sector stakeholders of the tourism
industry both in Belgium and Sri Lanka.
Besides SriLankan Airlines which offers special packages for Belgian
tourists flying out of Paris, Frankfurt and London, connectivity between
Belgium and Sri Lanka also expanded in the last quarter of 2010 with the
introduction of weekly Brussels-Colombo direct flights by Thomas Cooke
and Jetairfly and also with Qatar Airways which has daily connections
from Colombo adding Brussels as a new destination.
Hong Kong needs third runway - IATA
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the
authorities in Hong Kong to move forward with plans for a third runway
at the Hong Kong International Airport.
“Hong Kong outperforms its population size on the world stage because
of its connectivity. That drives the economy and creates jobs.
To protect the airport’s competitiveness, sufficient capacity is
needed to support growth.
The $900 million midfield terminal project will provide the passenger
handling capability. But the current two runways are near saturation.
I am here to make a strong plea to move forward with a third runway,”
IATA’s Director General and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said in an address to
the Aerospace Forum Asia in Hong Kong. Hong Kong International Airport
was planned in 1992 to handle 87 million passengers and nine million
tonnes of cargo.
Growth has been faster than anyone could have predicted. At the same
time, the 60 movement per hour cap on aircraft movements limits capacity
to much less than this.
Even raising runway movements to 68 per hour as proposed by the Civil
Aviation Department, capacity will only be 55 million passengers.
In 2010, the airport handled 51 million passengers so it is already
operating at about 90 percent of capacity.
In April, public consultations on the Airport Master Plan 2030 will
open with a third runway being a big consideration.
“The phenomenal growth of air transport in Hong Kong has outpaced all
projections taken in the early 90’s. If Hong Kong wants to continue to
gain the economic benefits of a growing aviation industry a third runway
will be needed. You may disagree if it will be needed in 2015 or 2020,
or some other date. But it will be needed and the time to start planning
is now,” Bisignani said.
Bisignani noted that aviation employs 250,000 people and supports 8
percent of Hong Kong’s GDP. Moreover, Hong Kong is home to 1,300
regional offices employing 140,000 people who are dependant on efficient
air links. Bisignani also commented on air traffic management in the
Pearl River Delta region.