The Chairperson’s Forum on MICE Tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions & Events) was successfully held on 9th March 2021 in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Association of Professional Conference, Exhibition & Event Organisers (SLAPCEO).
The main focus of this forum was to create awareness and educate the industry on how best we can cater to the MICE industry requirements worldwide with the premium infrastructure we have and seek the support of the private sector to promote MICE tourism via the bio-bubble.
In light of the enormous potential and opportunity to be a MICE host country, presentations were done by SriLankan Airlines, BMICH, Colombo Port City Project and Cinnamon Life to industry stakeholders, overseas missions in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan missions abroad. The forum also looked at building relationships to attract new technology to develop the industry which will also be a new avenue to attract foreign investment.
“Sri Lanka’s aim is not to compete with countries like Dubai and Singapore, however, to create a niche market where the offering of Sri Lanka is more of a distinct product in terms of location where individuals can visit Sri Lanka for a conference and then go on a safari in Yala, go whale watching and visit a tea plantation, all in a day if domestic flights are used to travel around the country” Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism shared.
She further stated that Sri Lanka is currently working with the Indian government for a travel bubble agreement to host destination weddings in Sri Lanka.
Mr, Senthil Gopinath the CEO of the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA), the first Sri Lankan CEO of ICCA who joined via Zoom stated that MICE has faced a lot of challenges in 2020 and the future trends of the MICE industry will have health safety and security on the priority list. Furthermore, he mentioned that artificial intelligence and digital innovation is another vital requirement to secure MICE business apart from face to face networking.
Post pandemic, the regulations of the visit will remain as per the new normal, travelling in the bio bubble. However, Sri Lanka Tourism is now working with the health authorities to recognize vaccinated travellers, who are encouraged to take PCR tests upon arrival and then continue to join the community with strict regulations in place.
H.E Eric Lavertu, the French Ambassador to Sri Lanka, H.E Rita Manella, the Italian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr Humaid Al Tamimi, Charge d’Affairs of UAE and the First Secretary of the Indian High Commission, Ms. Irina Thakur were among the distinguished invitees apart from the MICE industry stakeholders. The venue was sponsored by BMICH and the event was managed by BConnected (Pvt) Ltd.
The Panelists of the Forum: (from left) Dr.Shafaath Amidon, Board Member – SLAPCEO, Mr.Dimuthu Tennakoon, Head of Wolrdwide Sales – SriLankan Airlines, Mr. Krishantha Fernando, General Manager – SLCB, Ms.Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson – Sri Lanka Tourism, Mr.Sunil Dissanayake, CEO- BMICH, Mr. Dileep Mudadeniya, VP Marketing – Cinnamon Life, Ms.Yamuna Jayaratne, Sale & Marketing – Colombo Port City.
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