Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 9 February 2014





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Sharp increase in tourists to South

The number of tourists visiting the South has increased sharply over the years and many of the hotels in the region are fully occupied, said Matara District Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MDCCI) President N. Widanagamaarachchi, at a ceremony to launch the Southern International Trade Exhibition (SITE) organised by CDC Events (Pvt) limited and the MDCCI. The exhibition will be held from May 3-5 at the Sanath Jayasuriya Stadium, Matara.

CDC Events Chairman Chandra Wickremesighe (centre), CDC Events, Managing Director Imran Hassan (right) with an official at the media conference. Pic: Vipula Amarasinghe

He said that the occupancy rate in many of the boutique hotels in the South was over 75 percent and added that sound infrastructure development is a huge boost to attract visitors to the region.

"The South has a host of attractions for visitors who come in large numbers for whale watching in Mirissa and sun bathing in the serene beaches along the South coast," Widanagamaarachchi said.

The South is know for low country tea, fisheries, cinnamon, coconut products, handicraft and rubber based products. The historical and cultural sites also attract a large number of visitors to the South each year.

'There is great potential for a vibrant export market of rubber, handicraft, fisheries and coconut based products from the South.

The MDCCI supports a large number of small and medium sector enterprises in the region," Widanagamaarachchi said.

The lack of four and five star hotels in the South has been a drawback to attract more visitors to the region. Tourism industry personnel said that construction of hotels to accommodate a large number of guests will complement the infrastructure development in the South.

SITE 2014 with around 200 stalls will attract a large number of local and foreign visitors. Parallel to the exhibition an investor forum targeting foreign and expatriate investors will be held to project the South as a destination for investments.

The exhibition will also comprise industry specific fora aimed at attracting diverse industries to the South and a port forum to showcase the centrality of Galle and Hambantota as sea ports and maritime hub in South East Asia.

The exhibition profile comprises construction, food and beverage, packaging, automobile, information technology, printing and apparel industries.

CDC Events, Chairman Chandra Wickremasinghe said that SITE will revolutionise the mode of doing business in the South and it would be an ideal platform to explore potential markets and expand industries.

He said it will be a huge boost for small and medium sector enterprises in the region.

CDC Events Managing Director Imran Hassan said that the exhibition would open new horizons for the economy in the South. SITE will provide a boost to the region which has unparallelled development in infrastructure and economy.



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