Colombo, Feb 3 (NIA) – Sri Lanka has proposed to host a grand shopping festival similar to the world famous ‘Dubai Shopping Festival’, ‘Great Singapore Sale’ and ‘Malaysian Mega Shopping Carnival’ in order to attract international and local shoppers, a statement said here Friday.
The Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA) held a meeting with the Minister of Finance, Ravi Karunanayake, recently to discuss the proposed plan.
The fair will target both the foreign and local shoppers by offering various choices and discounts, with considerable savings, while it will be colored by cultural and sporting events, musical programs and book exhibitions etc.
During the meeting, Minister Karunanayake proposed to establish a national steering committee by involving state agencies such as the, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade, Ministry of Plantation Industries, Export Development Board, Sri Lanka Tea Board, Sri Lankan Airlines, Hotels Association, Travel Agents Association, and Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association and also the media to work on the event.
The committee, once set up will drive and coordinate the project in line with the proposed government allocation of Rs. 50 Million for the “Colombo Fair”, the statement said.
Speaking on the proposed Shopping Festival, Hussain Sadique, of SLRA said, “Currently we see an increase in tourist arrivals and there are limited activities in the country to attract shoppers. Tourist visits are usually only limited to historical locations”.
He further said that the project’s main objective is to attract visitors from countries, such as India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Male and other Asian and European countries together with the Middle East to visit the Sri Lankan Shopping Festival.
Since the end of the country’s civil conflict between government troops and Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in May 2009, Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has gained momentum with many travellers now selecting Sri Lanka as an ideal holiday destination.
According to a Central Bank report released Friday, tourist arrivals during the first ten months of 2016 increased by 14.6 percent to 1,658,824 from 1,448,119 during the corresponding period of 2015.
India, China, the UK, Germany and France were the top five sources of tourist arrivals in October 2016. These five countries accounted for 52.4 per cent of total tourist arrivals up to the month of October 2016.
Cumulative earnings from tourism increased to US dollars 2,749.4 million during the first ten months of 2016 from US dollars 2,400.1 million recorded during the same period of 2015.