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Sunday, 14 June 2015





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MICE sector eyes over 150,000 travellers this year

Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events (MICE) tourism sector, a pivotal cog in the tourism industry targets around 155,000 travellers by the end of this year, CEO, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB), Vipula Wanigasekera said.

He said that reaching this target is a huge milestone in the MICE sector which makes a salient contribution to the economy by bringing in much needed foreign exchange.

Vipula Wanigasekera

The number of MICE sector travellers increased from 80,000 in 2006 to to 144,000 last year. The conference sector increased from 20 international conferences in 2011 to 62 in 2014. Of the 62 international conferences and congress associations, 30 were world-class conferences.

“The number of international conferences will surpass 70 this year,” Wanigasekera said.

The SLCB will launch a series of initiatives to promote MICE tourism with additional allocation of funds from the Budget. Among them are Familiarisation tours (FAM ) tours for MICE buyers and corporates, partnerships with organisations for staging of events and bidding for major conferences are some of the moves in the pipeline, according to Tourism Ministry sources.

“The SLCB will launch a mega FAM tour next week with around 50 MICE buyers to whom the diverse locations of Sri Lanka will be showcased. It will hold many events with partners in the next few months to raise the profile of the country as a venue for MICE events,” Wanigasekera said.

Sri Lanka is one of the most sought after destinations for MICE tourism in Asia. Apart from being one of the safest destinations, the diversity of locations and attractions is expected to woo more travellers for MICE events each year.

The conference of Attorneys, symposium on ‘Environment Management and Planning’- Asia Pacific Central Securities Depository Group, 16th Conference of the International Coloured Gemstones Association, IFIP WG 9.4 Working Conference, Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation, Conference on Geotechnical Engineering, Global Conference on Entomology, Asian Conference on Intellectual Disabilities are some of the major global conferences due to take place this year.

“A number of medical conferences are also in the pipeline,” SLCB CEO said.

He said the MICE sector helps position Sri Lanka on the global travel map due to its diverse locations such as beaches, mountains, ancient cities and wildlife. The creative programs offered by the industry, combining team building and motivational programs attract MICE travellers.

There is enormous potential for growth in the MICE sector which should be promoted aggressively. Regarding income derived from the sector, Wanigasekera said it is difficult to access the real revenue earned from the MICE sector which is a global phenomena.

“We reckon this to be around US $ 250 million per annum,” he said. A large number of corporates from India are keen to hold meetings in Sri Lanka. Colombo is a vibrant city with many activities and nightlife. Incentive travellers prefer to spend time in new attractions such as whale-watching.

The SLCB will conduct its second training program in Kandy next week for hoteliers in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya. The first program was conducted in Jaffna.

“The SLCB will issue the MICE statistical data shortly, after a lapse of six years. Apart from the promotion in Hyderabad next month, several road shows are due to held to entice Indian corporate meetings in the coming months,” Wanigasekera said.

- LF


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