|Wednesday, 4 June 2003|
MICE tourism to contribute $76 million to economy
By Chamitha Kuruppu
The contribution of MICE tourism (Meetings, Incentives, Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions) which is considered to be one of the lucrative niches of tourism in the world has recorded a significant growth over the past few months and is expected to contribute US $ 76 million to the country's economy in this year.
The number of international trade exhibitions and conferences held in Sri Lanka during the last five months has seen a 15% increase in the MICE industry and is expected to increase further to 18% by the end of this year, against the 12% recorded in 2002. An official of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau told the Daily News yesterday said that the ongoing peace process of the country has contributed immensely to attract tourists, mainly the MICE tourism category.
The estimated total number of tourist arrivals in 2003 is nearly 400,000 and the Bureau is expecting 46,000 foreign arrivals under MICE tourism.
The official said that the SARS outbreak in Far Eastern countries has also increased the number of tourist arrivals in South Asian countries where Sri Lanka also benefited immensely.
" All these factors have opened the country for more tourists, and this is what the country was focusing on to achieve during the last 20 years," the official said. Sri Lanka will host another important international event in November, United Kingdom Tour Operators Convention conducted by the Association of Independent Tour Operators. More than 200 travel tour operators who have never visited Sri Lanka before will arrive in November to participate in this mega event.
The foremost objective of promoting MICE tourism in Sri Lanka is to attract more tourists which will also help local businessmen to establish and develop business ties with international partners.
The total number of foreign delegates scheduled to visit the country to participate in exhibitions and conferences is nearly 2,650 this year. Thirty-seven conferences will be conducted in the country from January to November and 30 exhibitions will be held from January to December, this year. There were nearly 39,000 foreign arrivals in 2002 recording US $ 54 million earnings under MICE tourism category.
According to statistics tourist arrivals from January to April 2003 has increased by 28.4% to 120,120. Arrivals from Western Europe increased by 31.3%, East Asia increased by 21.2% and South Asia increased by 23.7%.
Produced by Lake House