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Sri Lanka’s potential to become leading international leisure and sports venue

13 February 2020 09:56 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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In the newspapers recently, under the headline Travel / Tourism read “President calls for new strategy to turn tourism into US$ 10 billion Industry by 2025”. It is encouraging to note that both the Tourism Minister and the Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism conveying positive signals regarding achieving this target.  


The President also indicated the need to upgrade the quality of facilities provided to tourists “with a systematic mechanism coupled with a number of calendar activities” to also reinforce the achieving of the US$10 billion target by 2025. 


To further consolidate the tourism promotional programmes initiated by Sri Lanka Tourism, it is possible to complement in such promotion also for mega global events for a year round calendar of international conventions and exhibitions. This complex in multiple levels could be used for a variety of events, such as for conferences, entertainment, sports, banquets and 
other events. 


At present, the capacity available in Sri Lanka at a single location for conferences is in the region of 2000 persons, and 46,000 sq ft for exhibitions. Internationally, around 10,000 persons are marketed for mega conferences while the space required for exhibitions are between 400,000 -500,000 sq ft.  A central kitchen can service the 
total complex.  


It may be untimely for the government to exclusively spend on these facilities, therefore, the funding should be sourced as a government-to-government cooperation or on the basis of a Public-Private Partnership model where the government’s equity could be the land component. 


The development could also be staggered to be completed on a Phased basis over a period of time. 


Sports, at present, is considered a part of tourism promotion. In Asia, golf tourism is a major business. In Bangkok, there are over 100 golf courses, Singapore has over 15 and 15 in Kuala Lumpur. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka has only one golf course in Colombo and 04 nationally.  These numbers do not attract international golfers. At least another 04 new branded courses (means designed by world renowned golfers) need to be provided in the Western Province and more in other parts of the country where tourism is popular.  If so,  golfers from Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, and several other countries will visit Sri Lanka on golfing holidays. The golf tourists travel in large numbers and live in the best hotels and spend lavishly. If the government could identify the land approximately minimum 100 acres at each location, the implementation could be on a PPP model. 


In addition, at least one multi – sports complex for indoor and outdoor sports facilities, need to be provided within the Colombo district.  Such sports should include polo, velodrome, archery, equestrian sports or other sports, even horse racing for tourists are now classified as an international sport which could be televised and transmitted globally. In the same complex, facilities for an amusement park and entertainment facilities along with shopping malls, hotels could be integrated.    


In the Colombo district, visually attractive scenic and beautiful land parcels even up to 200 acres could be sourced within easy access to the expressway network and public transport. The convention centre complex, sports complex and a world class golf course could be located within a single land area or in different lands, not necessarily within the Colombo city area. The implementation strategy could be worked out if the government accepts such a visionary concept as being a viable proposition in not only for tourism promotion, but, also towards providing world class facilities for the benefit of Sri Lankans of all ages and income groups to enjoy. 


The above concept can be adapted as appropriate in 4-5 locations in the country where tourism is promoted.

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