MICE industry mushrooming
SRI Lanka’s MICE industry is now claiming 15 per cent of the total visitor arrivals annually as the country is increasingly identified as value for money and exotic destination with modern infrastructure facilities and conference and exhibition centres as well as international hotel chains.
The national carrier SriLankan Airlines works hand in hand with Sri Lanka Convention Bureau to attract conferences and corporate meetings into Sri Lanka which has resulted in many prestigious events coming Sri Lanka’s way. International Conference on Aid, Commonwealth Games General Assembly, International Tea Convention are to name a few.
Sri Lanka today attracts around 500,000 tourists from across the globe for whom the industry has gone beyond beaches to culture, nature and adventure thus positioning the country as ‘ the most treasured Island in Asia’.
Sri Lanka diversity of attractions from beaches, ancient cities, wildlife sanctuaries, to hill country tea plantations are literally within a few hours of each other. These are featured in pre and post tours of the events many visitors partake. Although well on the road to modernisation, the country and its people still cherish most of their traditional values and take pride in their rich culture, an aspect which continues to attract visitors from abroad.
Sri Lanka is the first country in South Asia to move away from a state-centered economic structure and embrace a private sector led market oriented economy relaxing exchange controls and offering many incentives to foreign investors. Since then free trade zones, repatriation of profit, widespread education, a sophisticated middle class and a newly emerging capital market, have made Sri Lanka an attractive economic hug in the region.
The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau is the national tourism organisation which functions under the Ministry of Tourism and is responsible for the development and promotion of MICE tourism for Sri Lanka. The Bureau is working with Professional Conference and Exhibition organisers, destination management companies, conference and exhibition centres, city and resort hotels, and tour operators who are trained professionals in the MICE industry.