News digest: flying the flag, a Sri Lanka first, Colombo 4th, fastest growing
Pledge Holidays flies the flag in Eastern Europe
Pledge Holidays was at the forefront of this drive “to develop trade contacts in order to expand the Eastern European tourism market. Tourist arrivals from Eastern Europe region totaled 97,583 in August 2016, which was a 6% increase over the same period last year; 9% of arrivals were from Poland and 12% from the Czech Republic.
The roadshows were “to promote Sri Lanka as a tropical and a beautiful country to explore, with its ancient culture and heritage, history and its pristine beaches”.
Lanka Hospitals first in Sri Lanka with MTQUA accreditation
eGlobal Travel Media reports MTQUA president Julie Munro as saying: “We have been most impressed with Lanka Hospitals’ medical and support teams during the certification process. It is ready to take leadership in helping move forward Sri Lanka’s medical tourism sector.”
The hospital underwent lengthy, and says chairman Dr Sarath Paranavithana: “Sri Lanka being a tourist destination, has now embarked on a journey of attracting tourism to earn foreign revenue.”
Sri Lankan capital Colombo ranked fourth for tourist growth
Colombo is ranked fourth behind Osaka, Chengdu, and Abu Dhabi in the 2016 Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index, in which Asia dominates both the global top 10 and top 10 fastest-growing destination cities.
Says MasterCard spokesman Eric Schneider: “Asia Pacific has been the fastest growing region for international tourism since 2005, with underlying growth momentum expected to continue especially with the burgeoning middle class in Southeast Asia, China and India seeking new travel experiences within the region.”
The report says that “the difference between the global top 10 and the fastest-growing top 10 suggests that Asia Pacific and the Middle East and Africa have become increasingly important to the global economic landscape”.
US supports cultural preservation of Sri Lanka’s Galle Fort
Colombo Page reports that a project to ensure the long-term preservation of Galle Fort, one of Sri Lanka’s eight World Heritage Sites, is being supported by the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation.
A $100,000 grant will be used for “the comprehensive documentation of the historic buildings” to “create a strategy for long-term preservation of Galle Fort’s architectural characteristics and formulate a master plan to guide development”.
Robert Hilton, the US Embassy Deputy Chief of Mission hailed project co-directors Professor P.B. Mandawala, architect Prasanna Ratnayake, Sampath Amaratuge, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
Sri Lanka ‘one of the fastest-growing tourist destinations’
It notes: “The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) forecasts Sri Lanka’s Travel & Tourism GDP will grow 6.3% per year over the coming decade and by 2026 the industry will be worth LKR130bn [US$89om] to the country’s economy.”
A hot topic at AHTIC will be the first Sri Lanka venture by Thai luxury hotel and apartment operator Dusit Thani. Work on the Beachfront Balapitiya (pictured) is due to get underway in January 2017.