ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s tourist industry, designers and wedding services providers are teaming up to promote destination weddings in the island as tourism revives from the shock of a Coronavirus pandemic.

“We have already made a name as a wedding destination in many markets such as European, Asian and even the middle east,” Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Development told reporters.

“We as an industry need to work to together to build relationships with our peers perhaps in India, Nepal, Maldives and Pakistan and promote weddings.”

Before the Coronavirus crisis Sri Lanka’s hotels has seen modest weddings by young Western couples and large parties thrown by parents of Indian couples where entire floors of hotels were hired for days at a time.

Fernando says Sri Lanka has a lot of potential in wedding segment and a variety of places where weddings can take place – near Singharaja forest, cultural triangle, on beaches and in Yachts.

Therefore, the authority is gearing to open a separate wedding portal for this purpose that would include all the necessary businesses to host a wedding in the country.

“Sri Lanka Tourism will open a separate wedding tourism portal to promote weddings for everybody,” Fernando said.

“We will provide the event management companies, wedding planners, photographers and, so that anybody could look at it and reach out to the relevant businesses.

“Sri Lanka is everything that Asia has to offer.”

SLTDA in partnership, with Brides of Sri Lanka, a bridal magazine, Galle Face Hotels and SriLankan Airlines is hosting a two day wedding exhibition on February 19 and 20 to promote the idea.

‘Wedding Week 2022; will be a free of charge exhibition that will have Indian and Maldivian fashion designers presenting along with local designers as well as support services.

“Weddings is one of the significantsegment for the hotel and a significant revenue stream for Colombo and Sri Lanka,” Daniel Grua, General Manager of Galle Face Hotel, Sri Lanka said.

“And Sri Lanka is one of the most sought after destinations in the world for the beauty and hospitality it offers.”

Grua said Sri Lanka’s industry is earns roughly 150 to 200 million dollars annually while supporting 130,000 jobs according to some estimates.

He also said that at least 25 percent of the weddings overall are destination based accounting for 25.1 billion dollars annually.

Sri Lanka is targeting 1.1 million tourist this year.

Fernando said they are getting the month and daily numbers to achieve the targets.

Last month, on average per day Sri Lankahas received 3500 tourist.

She said in 2018 they received about 6000 arrivals per day and their target is to get 50 percent of that.

“There is a worry about the infections, but we are confident on Sri Lankas vaccination drive with the on-going booster,” Fernando added.

“More importantly Wedding tourism and mice is two areas we are focusing on.”