The World Tourism Day was celebrated in grand style at a special ceremony held in Colombo yesterday with the participation of all stake holders related to travel and tourism industry.
The main event took place at the tourism zone near Beira Lake, called “Road to Paradise” with the participation of Minister Basil Rajapaksa – the Minister of Economic Development as the chief guest, along with Deputy Minister for Economic Development Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena and Minister of youth Affairs and Skills Development – Dallas Alahapperuma. Around 2000 school children took part at the main function along with the heads of leading public and private sector travel entities.
Ten new stamps were released at the ceremony, covering this year’s promotional themes of Sri Lanka tourism including Pristine, Heritage, Bliss, Wild, Scenic, Thrills, Festive and Essence and Scenic. The stamps bear the values of Rs.5 and Rs.10. The first set of them were handed over to Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
Addressing the gathering at the event Deputy Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena said, “As Sri Lankans it gives us immense pleasure to join with the international community around the world today to celebrate World Tourism Day. The contribution of the tourism sector to the rapid economic development of the country is indeed very remarkable at this stage. During this year, Sri Lanka Tourism is targeting to achieve 800,000 tourists to the country and expects to generate a revenue of over US$ 1 billion though travel and tourism trade before the end of year 2012. We look forward to seeing a rapid growth in tourism industry in Sri Lanka in the future years making it the major contributor to the country’s economic development.”
The special Food Fiesta and evening entertainment was followed by an event titled “Road to Paradise” held in the tourism zone with the participation of the Colombo Hoteliers Association. A variety of food items from different cultures were prepared and served to the public during this festival highlighting the theme of cultural links.
Apart from these, a special vocational training programme was held for the school children to educate them on the Tourism Industry. The World Tourism Day programme will conclude with the vivid cultural show which is to take place today, 28 September.
Every year World Tourism Day is held on 27 September to foster awareness among the international community about the importance of tourism and its social, cultural, political and economic value. This year, it is highlighting tourism’s role in bringing the cultures of the world together and promoting global understanding through travel.