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Published on : Friday, August 25, 2017
The recently released strategic plan speaks about the highest capacity of corporate events which is limited to 1600. the new centre, as per the plan should be a hi-tech flexible space with seating capacity for 8,000 that can be reformatted for trade shows, indoor sporting events, concerts, performances and consumer shows and have adequate parking – as the plan outlines.
It, however, does not mention whether it will be a private sector project, a government-funded project or a public-private partnership (PPP).
The ‘Lead Agencies and Partners’ section for the project includes the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Megapolis Authority but does not include the private sector, as outlined in other projects under the plan.
The hotelier business holders of Colombo currently criticises the MICE tourism sector which yields low revenue in the hotel segment.
MICE travel to Sri Lanka made up just 0.8 percent of the country’s 2.05 million arrivals in 2016, down from a 10-year high of 3 percent in 2006.
Business travel, which could also be considered as MICE travel, fell to 1.8 percent of total arrivals last year, down from a 10-year high of 17.8 percent, also in 2006.
The most distinguished MICE destinations from the Asian country are Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and Dubai which is continuously profiting from the MICE travel segment.
The government has identified a convention centre as a high priority, given its relative lack of dependence on infrastructure, but high contribution to the development of local goods and service providers. The government is hoping to target Indian and Middle Eastern MICE markets.