UNWTO Conference on Tourism: a Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation
Sri Lanka celebrates this year (2016) the golden jubilee of the establishment of its formal National Tourism Organization which started off as the “Ceylon Tourist Board” in 1966. It precedes the declaration in 1967 by the United Nations of the ‘International Tourism Year’ with the tagline ‘Tourism: Passport to Peace’. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) has, through the years, supported the UN’s call made almost 5 decades ago to consider tourism as a means to promote peace.
It is relevant that Sri Lanka was one of the pioneering countries in Asia to develop its tourism industry on a firm and planned basis, which regrettably, was affected by an ethnic conflict lasting over two decades that had deep repercussions on the country as a whole and on the tourism sector in particular. While tourism did continue to maintain its presence in the country it could not be developed to its full potential and furthermore certain areas such as the North and East were partially inaccessible. However, with the cessation of hostilities in 2009 there has been a rapid and noteworthy recovery in tourism. The total arrivals in 2009 amounted to 448,000 and this figure almost doubled to 856,000 in 2011.The path to peace and reconciliation has been paved by a change in the political landscape of Sri Lanka in 2015 with the establishment of a unity government which comprises the mainstream political parties, an occurrence that is unique in the annals of Asian politics. The main aim of the national Government is to restore peace and bring about reconciliation.
The latest figures of tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka for 2015 indicate an increase of 17.8% over the previous year reaching almost 1.8 million visitors. The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) has targeted 2.5 million arrivals for 2016. These estimates have been based on viable policies and plans that take into consideration effective marketing and promotional campaigns. The opportunities for tourism development are great, nevertheless the challenges for recovery and reconciliation call for thought, discussion and a concerted plan of action by the public and private sectors.
It is in this context that the UNWTO conference on “Tourism: a Catalyst for Development, Peace and Reconciliation” has been scheduled in the Eastern seaside resort of Passikudah in Sri Lanka, from the 11th to the 14th July 2016.
Contact Details of the Event Coordinators:
World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Ms. Hyeon-Jin Lee Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA)
- General Information
Ms. Dilrukshi Hewage Email: email@example.com
- Shuttle Service and Airport Reception Desk
Ms. Kumudu Heenadige Tel: +94 71 48 805 70
Mr. Nishantha Alahakoon Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Registration Desk at Amaya Hotel
Mr. Indrajith De Silva Email: email@example.com Tel: +94 71 22 142 19
Ms. Harshika Abeynayake Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +94 77 54 337 74
Technical Note and Preliminary Programme (updated on 07 July)
General Information Note (updated on 08 July)
Conference Speakers (updated on 05 July)
Registration Form (updated on 24 June)
Hotel Reservation Form (updated on 24 June)