Sri Lanka revives night economy to attract high spending tourists
The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) is backing the efforts of improving local nightlife, particularly for tourists who are visiting the country, as it will encourage them to spend more money when they are in Sri Lanka.
SLTDA Chairman Priantha Fernando stated that the role of the Ministry of Tourism was to prepare policies and get them ready to provide the mandate to tourism bodies such as the SLTDA, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), and Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) to get these policies implemented.
“The Ministry of Tourism can decide on policies but it is not the implementing body. There are bodies and implementing arms to get these policies launched. However, the Ministry of Tourism will get involved in the overall policy decisions,” he pointed out.
Fernando noted that nightlife was interpreted differently in different media and noted that even during some of the interviews he had given three or four months previously, he had highlighted the lack of nightlife entertainment in Sri Lanka.
“Tourists want to go out at night, try out different meals, and enjoy some good music. We have to create opportunities for tourists to spend money in Sri Lanka through such activities. More and more earning avenues have to be created in the entertainment category. Otherwise, we will be stuck with the same amount of tourism earnings. We need to explore and encourage tourists to spend more,” Fernando added.
He stated that the SLTDA must look for different ways to bring entertaining nightlife to Sri Lanka and added that the entertainment field was demand-based and if there was a demand created for such events, local and international players too would automatically wish to venture into Sri Lanka.
In a measure to revive the night economy in Sri Lanka, State Tourism Minister Diana Gamage ceremonially inaugurated the ‘Fairway Colombo Street Food Festival’ at the Dutch Hospital premises in Fort, with the participation of over 5,000 people.
This kind of event was last held three years ago, prior to the COVID pandemic. However, arrangements have now been made to hold this food festival on the last Saturday and Sunday of every month, from 6:00 p.m. to midnight.
Gamage was in the spotlight recently for promoting the creation of a no-holds-barred nightlife in the city of Colombo to attract high-spending tourists and is in line with her continued efforts to revive and establish a thriving and diverse night economy in Sri Lanka.
“The festival aims to promote the unique food heritage of Sri Lanka, with multiple options of varying cuisines, available at affordable prices, making this by far the biggest street food festival to hit Colombo,” said Fairway Colombo Director Business Development Romesh Amarasinghe, who is one of the key organisers of the event.
“With a fusion of great music and ambience in the air, the night included a variety of entertainment, which backs up the festive atmosphere, making Colombo the most happening place to be,” added State Tourism Ministry Coordinating Secretary Dr. Arosha Fernando.