Sri Lanka and Maldives makes plans to jointly promote tourism

Saturday, 9 April 2011 17:11

As a result of the recent tourism boom in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan government is taking steps to work jointly with the Maldives in order to promote tourism in both countries.

Several Sri Lankan and Maldivian tour operators and hoteliers are currently making arrangements to work jointly in order to introduce tour packages by giving tourists the opportunity to visit both destinations.

The joint plan to promote tourism in both countries comes in the backdrop of a meeting held last month in Colombo between the Maldives Tourism Minister, Dr. Maryam Zulfa and Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa.

Dr. Maryam Zulfa had arrived to Sri Lanka last month to represent Maldives at the International Tourism Conference organized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), which was held in Colombo from March 24-26.

During the meeting, the two Ministers had spoken of arranging programs targeting Chinese tourists as well as high-end tourists. They also spoke how both countries could work together in promoting high-end tourism.

Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism told Haveeru that the present strategy adopted by both Sri Lanka and Maldives to promote both destinations as one package will further increase the influx of tourism in both countries.

“Maldives Tourism Minister, Dr. Maryam Zulfa and Sri Lanka’s Economic Development Minister, Basil Rajapaksa agreed that Sri Lanka and Maldives are two different destinations that could work closely in promoting tourism. Both destinations offer different types of tourism and if both countries work together we can expect great results in the respective tourism sectors,” he said.

“There have been several Maldivian tour operators and hoteliers who have currently shown great interest in Sri Lanka. Some of them even have made plans to set up hotels in Sri Lanka in order to promote both destinations. We also have several Sri Lankan tour operators who are trying to work closely with Maldivian tour operators so that they could promote both destinations,” he said.

“In the past I have emphasized this aspect for Sri Lankan tour operators to work together in order to promote both destinations as they are both complimentary products. If both countries work together to promote tourism we could see a steady influx in tourism,” he said.

Recently the Sri Lankan government had leased out an island in Kalpitiya, which is located in the northwest of Sri Lanka, for a period of 30 years to a Maldivian investor who intends to build a resort in the location.

Another Maldivian investor who plans to set up a resort has obtained land on long term lease in the eastern coastal area of Passikudah.

Dr. Thalib Refai, the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) said that Sri Lanka could be named as the emerging country in the Asian tourism sector. He made these remarks at the International Tourism Conference held in Colombo last month. 


www.haveeru.com.mv 

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