Jetwings to rebuild Manal Kadu
Sri Lanka’s travel industry is hopeful that tourism will flourish in the post-conflict period and would contribute significantly to Sri Lanka’s economy.
Speaking to The Nation Economist, Managing Director of Jetwings Hotel and President of Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), Hiran Cooray said that the tourism industry would be the biggest beneficiary of the end of hostilities.
“Fighting will end soon, and so the travel trade will become the biggest gainer until it becomes a significant contributor to the country’s GDP. The industry is slowly beginning to increase, and we believe that Sri Lanka would be able to gain a level playing field in global tourism.” Cooray said.
“The East seems to have much potential for tourism, and this would enable the improvement of the livelihood of the people of Eastern Province. We too have earmarked a location in Nilavalei, Trincomalee, for our Manal Kaadu (Sand Forest) Resort.” He further said, “We commenced construction work on this Rs 200 million project during the peace time. Although we spent about Rs 40 million, we had to abandon it with the resumption of hostilities in 2005.”
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is to launch a global promotion campaign under a new brand this year. SLTPB hopes social activation and the engagement process involving Sri Lankan citizens in the making of the new brand could be an added boost. It also believes that as the conflict between the LTTE and government forces is rapidly nearing its end, the re-branding of Sri Lanka could not come at a better time. SLTPB is to revamp all its communication material including the website, brochures, posters, and audio visual material, to this end, while a range of memorabilia is be introduced under its new brand strategy. Sri Lanka is also hopeful of launching a global electronic media branding campaign via international television stations CNN, BBC, Travel & Living, Discovery, and Al Jazeera.
Under its local activation campaign named ‘Making of the Small Miracle’ Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to engage locals and encourage them to feel part of the initiative of revitalising tourism in post-conflict era. To this end, the SLTPB organises Hikkaduwa and Negombo Beach Festivals, Kandy Festival, Tea Festival and Jazz Festival and also hopes to promote several key events such as the Galle Literary Festival, the Colombo Fashion Week, the Colombo- Galle Regatta, and the Colombo Marathon in a bid to attract more tourists to the country. (SF)