eTurboNews Correspondent Bestowed with Lifetime Award in Tourism
The occasion was the grand 58th Annual General Meeting of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) held at the Shangri La hotel Colombo. It is the most prestigious event on the tourism calendar in Sri Lanka, and over 380 guests were in attendance with the evening graced by HE the President of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe.
The event was also attended by key figures in the government, including Minister of Tourism, Lands, Sports, and Youth Affairs, Harin Fernando; Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Lands, Mr. H. M. P. B. Herath; and officials from the Hotel Association of Sri Lanka, as well as experts in the hotel industry.
The Lifetime Awards for the services rendered to the tourism Industry was presented by HE the President to Mr. Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Group, and Mr. Srilal Miththapala, Tourism Consultant to the Asian Development Bank in Sri Lanka, former CEO of Serendib Leisure Management, and long-time contributor to eTurboNews.
The President’s goal is to exceed the 5 million tourist target and revolutionize conventional methods.
He has a vision of reaching 7.5 million visitors in the future and stressed the importance of fostering innovation and fostering collaboration in the industry to secure long-term growth.
The President recognized that it is necessary to go beyond the current framework and embrace competition in order to enhance Sri Lanka’s position in the global tourism market. He compared Sri Lanka to countries like Vietnam and wondered why they attract more tourists despite being in the industry for a shorter time. President Wickremesinghe emphasized the significance of achieving a tourist influx of 2.5 million in the next year and further building upon this number.
The President’s vision revolves around improving the tourism sector and he emphasized the need for specialization. He encouraged the industry to explore the untapped potential of Sri Lanka and drew attention to the historical roots of tourism in the Anuradhapura period, advocating for a strategic and nuanced approach to promotion.