17 January 2012

Sri Lanka's Small Leisure Sector Industry Fair Sancharaka Udawa, Tourism Dawn, on January 31 at Ceylon Continental Hotel

17th January 2012, www.lankabusinessonline.com

Sri Lanka's small leisure sector players including many start-ups will showcase their services at an industry fair on January 31, where they can link up with larger players, officials said.

"A large number of small guest houses, restaurants have come up in many areas some in very beautiful locations but there is little awareness about them, " deputy economic development minister Lakshman Abeywardene said.

"This fair will give them chance to link up with tour operators and others in industry".

Sancharaka Udawa or 'tourism dawn' will kick off on January 31 with 150 stalls already sold and 50 available, Nilmin Nanayakkara, the head of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) said.

Last year 105 stalls had been taken up and about 30 are exhibiting for the second year.

"All the rest are new entrants," Nanayakkara said. "Many of last year's participants have built relationships with our members."

"The big players in the industry have with them the capacity to showcase and market their products but small and medium scale businesses are left in the lurch despite having unique products and services.

Participants include boutique hotels, guest houses, villas, bungalows, heritage properties, restaurants at mid-way points as well as home stays.

Nanayakkara said at only 6,000 Rupees a stall even start up small businesses could take part.

Sri Lanka is seeing a tourism boom with arrivals growing 30 percent to 855,000 in 2011. This year the industry is targeting 950,000 tourists.

"But we think about million tourists may come," Abeywardene said.

The industry is expecting tourism revenues to rise to a billion rupees from 800 million dollars this year.

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