A large crowd flocked to purchase goods at the opening of the Colombo International Shopping Festival
Pic by Kithsiri De Mel
By Harshana Sellahewa
The Colombo International Shopping Festival 2017, organized by the Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Sri Lanka Retailer’s Association opened its doors to the public yesterday.
Being a first of its kind event in Sri Lanka, the Colombo International Shopping Festival focuses to showcase and create the ultimate shopping experience and promote Sri Lanka as a shopping destination for tourists.
“Sri Lanka’s strategic location in the Indian Ocean was well noted by ancient traders who travelled from east to west and vice versa.
It formed an integral part of the original maritime silk route. Today we are seeing a revival of these trading traditions with the launch of the Colombo International Shopping Festival spanning the length and breadth of the country,” said Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga, at
A main objective of this event is to make Sri Lanka a ‘shopping hub’ and attract tourists to have a traditional Sri Lankan style shopping experience. Expected to be the first shopping festival of a large magnitude to take place in Sri Lanka, attracting tourists with local and branded products, it is also expected to largely attract the South Asian audience, which will also encourage local entrepreneurs to showcase their products and get recognition in the global market.
“It offers an ideal platform to showcase our produce ranging from spices, handicrafts, jewellery, clothing and food to hi-tech electrical and electronic equipment at very competitive prices.
The festival is an added attraction for tourists to visit this beautiful island and benefit from the shopping bargains on offer for global brands,” added Amaratunga.
Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara also commenting on the event said: “Shopping festivals of this nature have to be positioned as an annual event. With past experience of such events conducted in Singapore and Dubai, it has become much sought after for mainly regional tourism and to some degree to international tourism in the two countries.
Data available clearly indicates repeat custom visitations from the region. Such events are now enhancing the offerings with cultural and other such events. It is encouraging that the major retailers have grouped themselves together as the Retailer’s Association of Sri Lanka to conceptualise this maiden effort, and we’re glad to partner it together with our own brand endorsement. I am positive that all will learn from this effort and will fine tune it further next year and thereafter make it a grand success in attracting shopping tourism, primarily from the region with possible extension. Finally, it should become branded as Sri Lanka’s annual shopping festival spreading to every corner of our beautiful island.”
Apart from the general products and services, including house hold consumer durables, handicrafts, ceramics, gem and jewellery, tea, value added choir products, local and western cuisine, ayurvedic and healthcare products. Specific tourist segments will also be targeted such sports tourism, adventure tourism, heritage, cultural, religious tourism, eco-tourism and promoting Sri Lanka’s exquisite beaches.
Having begun yesterday (20th October), the event spans until 22nd October, from 10:00a.m. to 10:00p.m. at the Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC).