Colombo to host Bohra convention | Sunday Observer

Colombo to host Bohra convention

The number of visitors has been increasing since April with arrivals  recording a growth of nearly 66 percent to 63,072 in June compared to  37,802 in May
The number of visitors has been increasing since April with arrivals recording a growth of nearly 66 percent to 63,072 in June compared to 37,802 in May

Sri Lanka Tourism is optimistic with the number of arrivals gradually picking up since the Easter Sunday attacks to reach the two million arrival target this year.

“The number of visitors this year will probably surpass the two million mark given the figures recorded in July and the peak season for tourism round the corner,” an official of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau told journalists at a media briefing on the Bohra Convention to be held from September 1-10 in Colombo.

If arrivals from September onwards notches over 175,000, achieving two million visitors will be possible, he said.

The Bohra community decided to hold its annual convention in Colombo this year after much thought over the security situation in the country. The choice of destination was between London and Colombo and it was at the eleventh hour that Colombo was selected to host the convention.

Sri Lanka has hosted the convention five times. The last convention was held in 2007 with around 12,000 participants. Sri Lanka Tourism anticipates earnings of around $ 50 million from the convention which is expected to host visitors from around 40 countries.

Most of the participants are expected to tour the country before or after the event bringing in the much needed foreign exchange to the country stimulating the hospitality sector which faced a major setback following the Easter attacks.

However, the scarcity of hotel rooms is an impediment to host visitors of this magnitude.

“The shortage of rooms is an issue but that has been looked into by the industry.

The hotels outstations and those in the informal sector will accommodate a large number, easing the burden of city hotels,” Minister Amaratunga said, adding that around Rs. 400 million worth of hotel bookings had already been made.

However, the success of the event and future of the industry depended largely on the safety of visitors.

When queried about the security measures taken to ensure the safety of participants at the convention, the minister said a separate program will be implemented to ensure the safety of travellers.

The number of visitors has been increasing since April with arrivals recording a growth of nearly 66 percent to 63,072 in June compared to 37,802 in May and 146,828 a year earlier. The number of arrivals in July was 115,701 compared to 217,829 recorded a year earlier. The number of visitors recorded last year was 2,333,796.

However, the number of arrivals year to-date and month-on-month this year compared to last year has declined, according to Sri Lanka Tourism statistics.

“The number of arrivals in August last year was 200,359 and in the same month this year, we have already close to 150,000. If we add the 25,000 visitors anticipated for the Bohra convention, we could come near last year’s August figures,” a Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) official said. 

Comments