Leisure & Tourism sector

An Expert's View about Business Travel in Sri Lanka

Posted on: 19 Jan 2012

Tourism is one of Sri Lanka’s fastest growing industries. The Government’s goal is to make it the country’s single largest foreign exchange earner by 2020 – it is currently the sixth.

Leisure & Tourism sector in Sri Lanka Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals grew in 2011 by almost 50% over the previous year, hitting 800,000 visitors. The Sri Lankan Government is aiming to reach 2.5 million visitors by 2016. Market overview Tourism is one of Sri Lanka’s fastest growing industries. The Government’s goal is to make it the country’s single largest foreign exchange earner by 2020 – it is currently the sixth. Economic development momentum started to gather pace in 2009, following the end of the three decade civil war. GDP has grown consistently over the past few years by an average of 7-8%. Tourism industry development objectives for 2011-2016 include: ξ Increasing tourist arrivals by up to 400%, to 2.5m visitors. ξ Attracting USD 3,000m to the industry as Foreign Direct Investment. ξ Quadrupling current tourism-related employment and expanding tourism industry services across the island. ξ Increasing foreign exchange earnings from USD 500m to USD 2.75 bn. ξ Using tourism to improve global trade and economic linkages. The Government is enhancing Sri Lanka’s attractiveness to foreign investors by tackling potential barriers to trade such as, initiating a one-stop-shop facility called UNIT (Unit for National Investment in Tourism) to streamline and speed up investment approvals processes. The Government aims to capitalise on the country’s natural advantages of forests, wildlife, mountains, waterfalls, unspoilt beaches, its strong and unique cultural heritage as well as contemporary tourist attractions such as luxury Ayurveda spas. Key opportunities Hotels & Projects With an expected 400% growth in tourist arrivals by 2016, the industry needs to at least double current hotel room capacity within that time. Opportunities for UK companies can be in the form of direct investments, independent ownership of facilities or joint ventures. There is scope for provision of goods, design services and engineering consultancy services. Pipeline tourism projects include not only hotels, but also: ξ Golf Courses ξ Theme Parks ξ Marinas ξ Shopping Malls ξ Adventure Sports ξ Light Aircraft Services and Sea Planes ξ Boat Manufacturing / Hiring ξ Convention / Exhibition Centres ξ Gaming Centres UK companies may also be interested in investing in premium rate boutique hotels, catering for high spending tourists that Sri Lanka is targeting as opposed to mass market customers. UK companies in the tourism industry supply chain will find a healthy market in Sri Lanka for their goods and services. Developing Tourism Industry Professionals Significant opportunities exist for UK education and training providers to tie up with local universities, industry partners, private sector education institutes, or training providers to deliver short-term programmes and/or professional qualifications. The Sri Lankan Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (a Government agency) has an annual output of approximately 1500 graduates - insufficient to meet industry requirements. The private sector needs to step in to fill the gap. New Tourism & Economic Zones Opportunities exist for UK engineering, construction, suppliers and consultants, for both existing and pipeline projects. Substantial infrastructure projects are underway for the development of tourism zones on the Southern, Western and Eastern coastal belt. Sri Lanka’s Global Appeal UK media companies might benefit from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau’s ‘visiting journalist’ programmes. UK tour and adventure companies could also gain by tying up with local partners - broadening their customer base and increasing their product offering. Sri Lanka is also a renowned filming location. Films partly or entirely shot in Sri Lanka include the Oscar winning 1957 film – The Bridge on the River Kwai, Indiana Jones: The Temple of Doom, The Second Jungle Book, and Oscar- nominated Water. Sri Lanka has also been a location choice for international television productions and more recently for music videos too. Finally, UK event management or promotional companies looking for new overseas locations for international/ regional events, exhibitions, concerts, etc. might also consider Sri Lanka, a unique and cost-effective option. The country has recently hosted major events such as the ICC World Cup, SAF Games, International Indian Film Awards and beach games. It has also hosted concerts for international artistes such as Sir Cliff Richards, UB40, Bryan Adams, RIO, Edward Maya, Mohombi, Sasha Lopez and Jay Sean. Latest export opportunities in Leisure & Tourism Latest export opportunities– Sri Lanka Getting into the market The Government is enhancing Sri Lanka’s attractiveness to foreign investors by tackling potential barriers to trade such as, initiating a one-stop-shop facility called UNIT (Unit for National Investment in Tourism) to streamline and speed up investment approvals processes. Land banks are available and guidance is provided for site selection and purchase of land. The Government also offers investors certain tax incentives and duty free facilities. Current investment laws permit 100% foreign ownership in this sector. Foreign Investments over US$ 10 million are allowed to outright purchase land and properties pertaining to their projects. Information about doing business in Sri Lanka can be found in our Business Guide. Contacts Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS). To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists in country - or contact your local international trade team. Asanthi Fernando, British High Commission, Colombo Tel: +94 11 5390664 Email: asanthi.fernando@fco.gov.uk Nadeesha Epasinghe British High Commission, Colombo Tel: +94 11 5390661 Email: nadeesha.epasinghe@fco.gov.uk Contact your local international trade team Events UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows. Latest events Sri Lanka Latest events –Leisure & Tourism Major Events The Hotel Show 2012 Date: 13 to 15 July 2012 Venue: Sirimavo Bandaranaike International Memorial Exhibition Centre Organiser: Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association Website: www.chsga.lk Useful links More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters
Posted: 19 January 2012

See more from Business Travel in Sri Lanka

Expert Views    
Leisure & Tourism sector   By UK Trade & Investment