Colombo selected as venue for IIFA Awards 2010: Event expected to generate foreign exchange earnings of AED 207 million
Post-war Sri Lanka has witnessed a dramatic upsurge in the number of Middle East tourists by a phenomenal 106.1% in Q1 2010. This was announced on the second day of Arabian Travel Market by the Middle East office of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).
The strong growth is set to continue as Sri Lanka has just won the bid to host the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) awards night in Colombo this year.
“Tourist arrivals from January to March 2010 registered a 106.1 per cent growth, more than double the same period last year,” observed Ms Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB.
Ms. Mansoori said: “Destination Sri Lanka attracted Middle East tourists with its easy accessibility of just four hours of flying time, with daily flights from most major airlines. UAE residents could fly to Colombo from Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The biggest number of visitors from the Middle East travelled from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan.”
She noted that Sri Lanka is gearing up to receive a further boost this year when the prestigious IIFA Awards is held in Colombo from June 3 to 5, 2010.
The organizers of IIFA confirmed that Sri Lanka will host the IIFA 2010 event in Colombo at the Sugathadasa Stadium and the Cinnamon Grand hotel as the main venues selected to organize their main events by IIFA.
In its efforts to promote a sense of brotherhood across nations, IIFA explores the uniqueness and authenticity of the host country and springboards a campaign to promote bonds between cinema lovers across the world and the host nation. IIFA promotes Tourism and awareness of the host country to the far corners of the world.
A range of celebrities will also be taking part in a T- 20 Cricket Match organized for the general public with the Asian cricketers who will be in Sri Lanka to participate for the Asia cup and this will attract large number of Cinema and Sports lovers and will create vibrant media exposure.
An exclusive fashion show is a part of the IIFA itinerary the idea behind the whole event is to show case the latest talent in the Indian industry while giving a prominent exposure to the local models and the designers who are anticipating for international a platform to showcase their talent.
IIFA Awards are expected to generate foreign exchange earnings of AED 207 million and around 800,000 guest nights. The expected direct economic impact of the event is AED 55 million based on calculations from previous host destinations.
Worldwide, Sri Lanka recorded an average growth of 50.3 per cent increase in tourism during the first quarter this year compared to the same period in 2009.
“With peace finally dawning on Sri Lanka after years of ethnic strife, more areas previously inaccessible have now opened up for tourism operation,” Ms Al Mansoori remarked.
Some of the factors that draw modern day Arab travellers to their preferred destinations are cultural attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining. Sri Lanka offers a good product those scores on all counts.
Government’s support for the tourism sector and expansion of low-cost carrier services are the main contributing factors to the growth of the tourism industry.