Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: With the end of ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Sri Lankan Airlines are jointly planning to promote tourism in the country through meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).

Talking to reporters about the programme, Vipula Wanigaseker, General Manager, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, said during the first six months of this year, the number of people who visited Sri Lanka from India was on the decline. It picked up from August.

So far, nearly 20,000 people from the Indian Corporate sector had visited the island nation under the MICE programme. “We expect this number to touch 35,000 very soon.”

Talking about infrastructure development in the country, Mr. Wanigaseker said a new international airport was coming up at Hambanthotta. Close to it a major port was coming up.

Business meet held

Shyana Wijayaratne, Sales and Marketing Manager, Sri Lankan Holidays (Inbound) and MICE, said 200 private companies from India had visited Sri Lanka and held meetings and conferences.

To attract more investment and the corporate sector to the country, a business meet for industry representatives was held in Chennai on Thursday.

Food festival

As part of the campaign, a 10-day Sri Lankan Food festival began at the Accord Metropolitan Hotel in T. Nagar. Internationally renowned Sri Lankan chef Publis has been flown in for the campaign. Sri Lankan cuisine is being served for dinner, which is available from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.