Colombo: Sri Lanka, one of the top two emerging hotel and resort markets in Asia, is to host the first Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC), a top-level gathering of international investors, business leaders, government ministers and officials.President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Maithripala Sirisena, is supporting the conference as patron and speaking at the presidential residence in Colombo, the venue for the official launch, he said: “Sri Lanka has everything you need to be a fantastic destination, from awe-inspiring ancient cities, beautiful beaches and colorful coral reefs to mist-shrouded mountains, spectacular sights and wonderful wildlife. With the new measures we are putting in place to attract foreign investment, I am confident that Sri Lanka will become an equally attractive place to make money as it is to take a holiday.”
The conference is being organised by Bench Events, and managing director, Matthew Weihs, said: “Sri Lanka is a perfect place to launch our Asia conference. The country’s tourism development authority has prepared an ambitious strategic plan, inviting private and public stakeholders to tackle both the industry’s long-standing needs and the future potential of the country as a tourism destination.”
A record two million tourists are expected to arrive in Sri Lanka this year and government ministers are anticipating this figure will double by 2020.
Matthew Weihs said: “The conference will cover every aspect of tourism investment throughout Asia Pacific. This is a fast-growing tourism development region and there will be substantial opportunities to network with other delegates and to exchange thoughts and ideas on the sector. The conference will also stimulate dialogue between business and government.”
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the direct contribution of the industry to the Asia Pacific region was USD694.1bn (3.0% of total GDP) in 2014, and is forecast to rise by 9% per annum, from 2015-2025, to USD1,177.1bn (3.2% of total GDP) in 2025.
Co-Organizer and Founder Sponsor Dr Prabath Chandima Ukkwatte, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Club, concluded: “Colombo has been the host of several high-profile international conferences but with the establishment of AHTIC as a regular international event, we will, for the first time, become the home of an important international business meeting that will build in stature and influence as it grows from year to year.”