VIP biz delegation from China to check-out tourism potential | Sunday Observer

VIP biz delegation from China to check-out tourism potential

Sri Lanka Tourism Club is working with government ministries to deliver themed international tourism and family entertainment zones.

A VIP business delegation from China is expected at the inaugural Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) at the Hilton Hotel from November 27 to 29.

They will also meet President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Tourism Development John Ameratunga to seek tourism and other investment opportunities.

The visit of the delegation, comprising leading investors and hoteliers, has been facilitated by the Centre of Asia Hotel Forum.

Among the influential executives who will meet the President and Prime Minister, will be Haibo Bai, the Chairman and President of HNA Hotel Groups, a part of the HNA Group, the Chinese aviation and shipping giant which recently acquired 25% of Hilton for $6.5 bn.

During their seven-day stay, the Chinese executives will explore investment opportunities, as guests of the government, organizers of AHTIC – Bench Events said in a press release.

High on their itinerary as they tour the island will be plans to attract tourists back to the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ with the launch of themed tourism development zones. The public-private sector initiative is backed by the Ministry of Lands, the Ministry of Tourism and the Sri Lanka Tourism Club, a government-recognized group of industry leaders responsible for arranging the Chinese investors visit.

At least five and up to eight ‘Themed International Tourism and Family Entertainment Zones’ are being designed in State-owned land, selected for their outstanding natural beauty.

They include beaches, mountain and forest regions, extending over more than 4,000 acres. The Chinese business leaders will hear the full plans unveiled at the AHTIC.

Sri Lanka Tourism Club Chairman, Dr Prabath C. Ukwatte, a founding sponsor and co-organiser of AHTIC, said, “We will be working with government ministries to deliver themed international tourism and family entertainment zones, and to open them up for foreign investment. The conference will be an ideal opportunity to explain what we will be doing and to attract international finance.”

“The new relationship with Chinese investors and Henry Chen, the Founder of Asia Hotel Forum and pioneer Chinese investment introducer, is historical and it establishes AHTIC as an economic bridge between China and Sri Lanka,” he said.

Henry Chen said, “I can’t imagine any serious Chinese hospitality investor not wanting to take a good look at Sri Lanka.”

Conference Patron President Maithripala Sirisena launched the official web site of the Asia Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) in July.  

Tourism Minister, John Amaratunga said, “We are giving the Tourism Club’s plans our full backing. More zones for development will be announced in the future.

We are accelerating and widening the scope for investors by actively making reforms to reduce bureaucracy. We want to speed up decision-making.”

He said there would be new concessions and investment opportunities announced at AHTIC.

Amaratunga said Sri Lanka wants to generate up to five million tourists by 2020 and increase tourism revenue to 10 billion dollars. That includes doubling the current number of rooms available and creating direct employment for 300,000.

AHTIC will also bring international leaders of the hospitality industry to Sri Lanka for the forum.

Some of the other members of the Chinese delegation will be: Secretary-General of China Real Estate Association Commercial and Tourism Estate Committee, Yun Cai, Founder and President of Asia Hotel Forum/Phoenix Global Investment, Henry Chen, Director of INSIGHT Asset Management and Investment Group Ltd., David Cho, Director of Business Development, Forise Land Real Estate, Milin Kritsutthikun, General Manager, Development, Join. In Hospitality Management Co. Ltd., Shudong Li, Senior Vice President of Wanda Commercial Properties (Group), Qifeng Ning, GM of COFCO Investment Department, Zhenyu Shen, Business Development Center GM of Powerlong Real Estate Holdings Limited,Adam Xia, Secretary-general of China Real Estate Association Financing Committee,Xiaojian Xiao, Founder and President of Hanvon Technology Dongjian Xu, and President of Dossen International, Dossen Hotel Group, Hansen Zhao. The event is organised by Bench Events and the Sri Lanka Tourism Club.