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India – Sri Lanka CEO’s Forum discusses tourism promotion, hotel investment

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The Sri Lanka – India CEO’s Forum organised by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) was held on August 4, 2012 with the participation of a large number of CEOs from both Sri Lanka and India. The co-chairs for the event were Kulatunga Rajapakse, managing director of DSI Samson Group from Sri Lanka and Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman & managing director of Bharti Airtel from India. Besides many subjects that came up for discussion, the CEOs also talked about the potential of cross promotion of tourism between the two countries. It was also highlighted that air connectivity is crucial to promote tourism. Providing higher frequency of operation to Indian airlines to Sri Lanka will help improve air connectivity between the two countries. In addition to that there is potential to invest in hotels. Interest was expressed by Indian CEOs to invest in mid-segment of hotels in Sri Lanka as opposed to luxury hotels. It was pointed out that further streamlining of investment procedures will help attract more investments. For example a suggestion was made to establish a land bank identifying land available for hotel construction in tourism zones. Given that an additional 35,000 hotel rooms are expected to be constructed in Sri Lanka in the next few years, there will be high demand for manpower in the tourism sector. This provides an opportunity for India to invest in hotels in Sri Lanka.

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