Stemming from the evolution of human civilization as any other human phenomenon, the world of travel and tourism has expanded into a driving force for the global economy today.
With a share of 9% GDP in the world, 6 % of world exports creating 1 in 11 jobs, attracting 5-6 billion domestic tourists and 1133 million international tourists in 2014 from 25 million international tourists in 1950 and heading towards an astounding predication for 2030 to produce 1.8 billion international tourists, the role we share in this and hope to share as proud citizens of Sri Lanka cannot go unnoticed! It is in light of this that we invite your presence at Sri Lanka's biggest travel and tourism fest, the World Tourism Day celebrations, organized by the Department of Economics of the University of Colombo in collaboration with the Kandy Hoteliers association under this is year's theme, "1 billion tourists, 1 billion opportunities".
The key objective of this grandiose event is to spread the word of opportunity blooming across the nation with the rapid growth of tourism in the world as well as in the country. Sri Lanka's tourism industry which has recorded a half year earning at USD 1.3 billion by June 2015 is closely knitted to every industry and field.
Travel and tourism, from being an elitist activity from the times of the ancient past where Pharaohs, Greek and Roman nobles travelled for the hunger of discovery and power to become what it is today is truly a fascinating journey. Looking back at this past from where we are today, we must be privileged to experience the colourful world of cultural, social, economical and environmental value with so much ease no matter what our diversifications may be.
As the pioneer academic body dedicated to endow-experts for Sri Lanka's booming travel and tourism industry offering non graduate diplomas to Masters in Tourism and Hotel Management for local and international students, the University of Colombo marked its significance last year with its very first World Tourism Day celebration. This was in collaboration with the hotel associations of southern Sri Lanka and Heritance Ahungalla which was a major success.The event was organized in keeping with last year's theme, "Community Development through Tourism" where Ahungalla, one of the emerging tourism zones of Sri Lanka's southern coastal belt was chosen for the implementation of the event. This year too, the university is geared up to continue its role as the leading academic force to celebrate this year's World Tourism Day falling on September 27 under the patronage of Dr. D. A. C. Silva, the academic coordinator of tourism studies of the Department of Economics, University of Colombo and P.U. Ratnayake, course coordinator and the Director / Tourism Planning and Development of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
Whether it is agriculture, gems, beauty culture, medicine, fishing, handicrafts, films, cuisine,tea, sports and absolutely everything, no limits can be traced to express the extent to which it is traversing where the voice of tourists through modern trends such as social media is the weapon of building opinion leading to success. Thus, in line with this year's theme, the organizers of the event aredriven with enthusiasm to make it an enlightening experience for all.
As a country possessing a luxurious blend of cultures, religions, ethnicities, heritage and natural beauty in addition to worldly recognition through many classy industries, the aisle we foresee for Sri Lanka is clear - tourism - the golden key to success through the billions of opportunities it is unfolding before our eyes. It is time we value this unique blend and work together to link all our strengths to emerge as a glamorous nation, which we are certain that you are willing to be a part of. A scientific perspective to the tourism industry replacing a rather conventional one is what we are approaching and it is no doubt that this year's World Tourism Day celebrations will be an amazing inspiration to start with.
Courtesy: Daily News 15 September 2015