Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sri Lanka - Indian film awards to boost tourism

by Shirajiv Sirimane

The tourism industry would receive a major international boost when Sri Lanka hosts the Indian International Film Academy Awards (IIFA) from June 3 to 5. The event would further elevate Sri Lanka in the global tourism map.

Director General, Sri Lanka Tourism, Dilip Mudadeniya said the event would give Sri Lanka a million dollars worth of free publicity and prove to be a welcome event for the country.

“Tourism was one of the first industries to recover after the dawn of peace, with arrivals shooting up by over 50 percent,” he said.

Indians are already number one in arrivals and this event would further help increase yields. It would also open the doors for higher spending Indian tourists to visit the country. “The IIFA awards would also increase Sri Lanka’s potential as a top conference, exhibition and events hosting (MICE) destination,” Mudadeniya said.

With famed Indian film directors visiting the country, Sri Lanka would also have the opportunity to showcase the country to them and promote the country as a destination to shoot Indian films, thereby opening up a new market.

To meet the projected demand of Indian celebrities and fans visiting the country, SriLankan Airlines has already decided to increase flights. Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa has also taken the initiative with the Ministry of Transport to have a special air-conditioned train operating from the airport to the Fort during the period.

A film workshop will also be held for upcoming directors and producers while a T20 cricket match where cricketers past and present and actors will take to the field will be held at the SSC grounds on June 4. It is reported that Shahrukh Khan will be captaining one side and Kumar Sangakkara the other.

A film workshop will be held at the Ceylon Continental Hotel on June 4. The local panel will comprise the best of Sri Lankan cinema with Malini Fonseka, Jackson Anthony and Ravindra Randeniya being some of the stars present.

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