Sri Lanka to promote coastal tourism in Gujarat

Tuesday, 13 January 2009 20:01

With its expertise in coastal tourism, Sri Lanka has signed a MOU with Gujarat to promote tourism in the state having 1600 km long coastline. Gujarat is the first state with which Sri Lanka has signed MOU even as Sri Lanka has separate MOU with the Government of India. Announcing this, Sri Lanka Tourism Minister Milinda Moragoda said that Sri Lanka and Gujarat will set up working groups to thrash out modalities and areas for the development of tourism. In reply to a question, he said that no specific projects have been identified.

Sri Lanka dominates in the travel industry in Maldives and recently it had a joint venture with travel industry of Maldives to promote tourism in China. Some such model can be worked out with Gujarat also. For the past five years, Sri Lanka is concentrating on Indian tourists and as a result 20 per cent of its tourist traffic is from India. Last year Sri Lanka launched two products- Ramayan trail and MICE tourism with an eye on India tourists. There are 52 cities associated with Ramayan in Sri Lanka. In the one year over 3000 tourists have come primarily for the Ramayan trail, Seenivasagam Kalaiselvam, Director General Tourism Development Authority said. Its another product MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) has attracted more than 15,000 tourists in one year, according to Prema Cooray, Chairman, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.

Moragoda said that in the near future he would take up promotion of Buddhist circuit. All the three circuits are to attract tourists from neighbouring areas, he said. Sri Lanka has formed Strategic Action Group to work out strategies to promote tourism in such a way that even during dull time the tourism industry of Sri Lanka was not affected. Sri Lanka plans to target three main categories of individuals from India – the youth and young families, up-market travelers and those seeking spiritual upliftment.

He said that Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is currently working closely with various domestic operators as well as several Indian travel agents and tour operators, to come up with specific products including attractively priced holiday packages for the young and young at heart that would include beaches, nightlife, shopping and value for money, yet world class hotels. The beaches have plenty of opportunities for water sports and get a glimpse of several species of whales such as blue whales, hump-backed whales, sperm whales, as well as killer whales and dolphins.


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