The Foreign Ministry of Sri Lanka, jointly with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, organized a virtual business to business (B2B) interactive session on 17 August, 2021, with the Member States of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) to enhance tourism cooperation. About 100 tourism industry experts representing the public and private sector from twenty-seven CICA Member States participated in the webinar. The discussions focused on the importance and benefits of international collective efforts and joint endeavors to build a more resilient and sustainable tourism sector in the post-pandemic era.
Delivering the opening remarks, State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya stressed that the Government of Sri Lanka has demonstrated its unwavering dedication and sheer commitment consistently though a worrying economic and social impact has been left by the dreadful waves of the COVID-19 pandemic. He stated that the Government of Sri Lanka was working with all the international organisations and friendly governments including the CICA Member States to defeat the pandemic and uphold the economic and social development aspirations of our peoples, to which the revival of the tourism industry will play a key role.
Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando in her keynote speech highlighted that Sri Lanka has all the attributes to position itself as a perfect post-pandemic travel destination with its wide-open spaces and a multitude of nature-based experiences and spoke extensively on Sri Lanka’s rich experiences and initiatives relevant to the revival of the tourism industry in the island nation during and the post pandemic era.
Past President of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) Mahen Kariyawasan, President of the Association for Small & Medium Enterprises in Tourism (ASMET) Rohan Abeywickrema and President of the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) Sanath Ukwatte also addressed the session. The session was moderated by Sri Lanka Tourism Marketing Director Dushan Wickremasuriya.
While sharing their experience and expertise on the subject, the Global industry experts participating in the webinar agreed to develop a road map conceptualizing the way forward for tourism revival within the CICA region in the post-COVID context.
CICA is a multinational forum of twenty-seven member States formed for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security, and stability in Asia. Sri Lanka obtained the full membership of CICA in 2018 and currently serves as the co-coordinator for Confidence Building Measures in Tourism.
Courtesy: Foreign Ministry Public Diplomacy Division