‘Expo 2020 Dubai, a milestone for Sri Lanka’ | Sunday Observer

‘Expo 2020 Dubai, a milestone for Sri Lanka’

20 October, 2019
The launch of the website
The launch of the website

The official website announcing the country’s participation in the six-month long Expo 2020 Dubai, anticipating a major boost for exports, tourism and investments and enhance the country’s brand value and image globally, was launched last week.

“The pavilion was given free to us by the UAE, which otherwise would have cost us Rs. 600 million. We have also got Rs.700 million as the Moratuwa University students won a design competition organised by the Expo 2020 Dubai organisers,” Export Development Board Chairperson Indira Malwatte said.

“This is a classic example of collaboration by the private sector with the government in working towards fruitful results. Our participation is expected to support the aggressive export drive, enhancement of FDIs and also facilitate improved tourism industry for a better economy of the country,” she said.

She was confident that Expo 2020 Dubai will contribute to achieving the government’s ‘Vision 2025’ by supporting the growth of tourism, stimulating the development of innovative businesses and enhance the country’s international reputation as a location to do business. Malwatte highlighted that Expo 2020 Dubai is a milestone for the country as it’s the first instance where Sri Lanka’s participation in an international expo is being done through public-private sector collaboration. The official website was launched by the Ambassador of UAE in Sri Lanka, Ahmed Ali Ibrahim Al Mualla, Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, Nalin Bandara, and Export Development Board (EDB) Chairperson Indira Malwatte at the EDB premises last weeka. Sri Lanka will have its own dedicated pavilion spanning over 212 sqm at this 6-month-long mega exposition under the sub theme ‘Opportunity’, and the pavilion will be branded under the title ‘Island of Ingenuity’.

It will be designed by students of the Department of Integrated Design of the Faculty of Architecture, of University of Moratuwa. The Expo is expected to attract over 25 million visitors, of which 70 percent will be international visitors. Although the government has committed Rs.580 million to promote Sri Lanka’s exports, tourism and investment opportunities at Expo 2020 Dubai, the UAE government has supported Sri Lanka by granting concessions worth of Rs.1.3 billion. The Sri Lanka pavilion will outline the country’s rich portfolio of offerings as well as promote it as an export hub driven by innovative products and services, prioritizing the identified focused areas in the National Export Strategy (NES).

Sri Lanka’s participation at the event is being spearheaded by the EDB together with the public and private stakeholders, ensuring the effective implementation of the project.

Accordingly, six sub-committees which have been appointed, co-chaired by private and public sector officials while the EDB acts as the focal point. The Sri Lanka Tea Board, Board of Investment (BOI) and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) have already secured space in the Sri Lankan pavilion for the six-month period.

In terms of private sector representation, the National Chamber of Exporters, Secretary General/ Chief Executive Officer, Shiham Marikar noted that 20 sectors have so far confirmed their participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai - representing export services, industrial products and agricultural products.

He expects that 28-30 sectors would participate on a rotation basis as per their requirements.

Considering the magnitude and the global attention to the event, the EDB announced that Sri Lanka will use world-renowned Sri Lankan personalities to promote the country at this global event.

Arrangements have been made to get on board the well known Sri Lankan-born chef Peter Kuruvita as a guest chef, representing Sri Lanka to deliver the contemporary version of Sri Lankan cuisine with the richness of Sri Lankan spices, at the Culinary Experience Pod organized at the Expo. Further, cricketers Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara have been appointed as brand ambassadors of the country to collaborate with Sri Lanka’s participation.

Expo 2020 Dubai will run for 173 days starting from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 and covers a land area of 438 hectares located midway between Dubai and Abu Dhabi.