Sri Lanka MICE EXPO 2023
Over 150 international participants on Tuesday attended the first ever three-day MICE Expo in Colombo to position Sri Lanka as a year-round business destination. Participants were from identified key markets from India, China, Russia, Australia, the Middle East, Singapore, Malaysia, Europe, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Given the long hiatus to the Sri Lankan experience being promoted, a need exists to take a different approach. Meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) tourism has become increasingly popular in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has a lot to offer this market in the MICE sector of the expanding global travel industry, which concentrates on business events and conferences. While we may be compared to other island economies, sometimes unfairly with what Sri Lanka has to offer, we need to diversify our offering.
With the growth of its airports, highways, and other transportation networks, the nation has made significant strides in developing its infrastructure in recent years. Business visitors now find it simpler to enter and navigate the nation thanks to this. Additionally, Sri Lanka is home to an increasing number of top-notch hotels and meeting centres that are geared toward MICE travellers.
The MICE sector in Sri Lanka has the ability to significantly contribute to the nation’s economic expansion. The sector promotes the nation as a destination for business travellers and produces income. Over 50 foreign conferences and exhibitions were held in Sri Lanka in 2019, drawing over 75,000 visitors and bringing in over $ 40 million in revenue. Compared to a few years ago, when the nation was still recovering from the effects of a protracted civil war, this marks a significant increase.
However, similar to how it played out around the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Sri Lanka’s MICE sector. The country’s tourist sector as a whole has been severely impacted by the numerous conferences and events that have been postponed or cancelled. As a result of the pandemic, Sri Lanka’s overall economic growth has been significantly impacted. The country’s economy is highly dependent on tourism, with an estimated 6 percent of Sri Lankan GDP. There are grounds to be optimistic despite these difficulties. Sri Lanka has a history of overcoming hardship, and the nation has taken action to lessen the pandemic’s effects on its tourist sector. To help the industry, the Government has implemented a number of policies, such as tax breaks for tourism related companies as well as financial aid for hotels and tour operators. In order to safeguard tourists and stop the virus from spreading, the nation has also implemented stringent health and safety regulations.
There may be a pent-up demand for travel and business events as the world starts to recover from the pandemic. In the post-pandemic world, Sri Lanka has a chance to establish itself as a top MICE tourist destination. But to accomplish this, all parties involved—the public and private sectors, as well as the tourism business as a whole—will need to work together.
Sri Lanka has a real opportunity to change the world by encouraging eco-friendly travel. There are many different types of habitats in Sri Lanka, including coral reefs, wetlands, and rain forests. The biodiversity of the nation depends on these ecosystems, which also offer crucial ecological functions like carbon sequestration and water regulation. However, they are also at risk from the effects of global warming and irresponsible tourists.
Sri Lanka can protect its natural heritage and develop a differentiator for its MICE business by promoting sustainable tourism. Many business travellers are becoming more concerned about how their travel will affect the environment and are searching for locations that place a high priority on sustainability. By promoting sustainable practices and providing chances for tourists to interact with local communities and conservation initiatives, Sri Lanka can set itself apart from competing tourist destinations.
Sri Lanka’s MICE sector has the potential to significantly contribute to the nation’s economic expansion and employment creation. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought attention to the necessity of adaptability and fortitude in the face of outside shocks. With a concerted effort from all stakeholders, Sri Lanka has the chance to recover from the pandemic and become a top location for conferences and corporate events. Sri Lanka can set itself apart from competing destinations and develop a differentiating advantage for its MICE sector by supporting sustainable tourism and safeguarding natural heritage.
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