From left: Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara, Sri Lankan Airlines CEO Capt. Suren Ratwatte, Sri Lanka Retailer’s Association Chairman/President and Hameedia Deputy managing Director Hussain Sadique and Sri Lanka Retailer’s Association Chairman and Singer Sri Lanka Group CEO Asoka Peiris.
Pic by Pradeep Pathirana
By Harshana Sellahewa
Newly established Sri Lanka Retailer’s Association joined forces with the Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau to organize the first ever Colombo International Shopping Festival set to take place from 1st October to end November.
Although shopping festivals are common in Sri Lanka, this is the first shopping festival being held targeting tourists to Sri Lanka, attempting to take the common approach to a higher level with a tourist-centric focus. The Colombo International Shopping Festival is expected to promote Sri Lanka as a ‘shopping hub’, hoping to attract new segments of tourists and buyers for Sri Lanka’s products, as well as world-class and internationally-valued original brands at competitive prices.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara, addressing the gathering stated: “The concept of International Shopping Festival in Sri Lanka was initiated by a request made by the Retailer’s Association of Sri Lanka. The campaign consists of television advertising, digital advertising campaigns to promote Sri Lanka as a shopping hub for South Asia.”
Nanayakkara went on to say that the anchor event of the shopping festival would be held from 20th to 22nd October at the exhibition centre in D.R. Wijewardena Mawatha.
Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said: “My concern about the shopping festival is that in Sri Lanka the biggest or the most popular shops are not in one cluster, they are in different corners of the country. Maybe in a year or two, the tourists to Sri Lanka who will occupy five-star hotels will be able to walk down on a street and do their shopping and make use of their requirements.”
Sri Lanka Retailer’s Association Chairman/President and Hameedia Deputy managing Director Hussain Sadique also spoke to the audience emphasising on the motive, importance and scope of the International Colombo Shopping Festival.
The Colombo International Shopping Festival is to be made an annual festival/event, and the website and logo for the event were launched prior to concluding the media conference. It also aims to carve a niche for Sri Lanka as a preferred new shopping destination.