Sri Lanka receives support from the EU to develop wellness tourism
The Morning: Supporting the speedy revival of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, the European Union (EU) Delegation to Sri Lanka, has allocated funds to help strengthen the local wellness tourism capacity for Sri Lanka to transform into an attractive destination for wellness tourism. This will be carried out under the guidance of Sri Lanka Tourism. The resulting “Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism Stakeholder Project” was officially launched recently.
The launch involved key stakeholders of the project where details of the project will be shared, followed by a group discussion on wellness tourism capacity development. A follow up meeting will be held on 25 February to share findings and recommendations from all stakeholder meetings, site meetings and discussions with wellness tourism resorts, hotels and training providers. A presentation of the findings determined through surveys carried out amongst wellness tourism organisations and training providers will also be presented this month.
The EU Delegation has contracted IBF International Consulting to undertake a technical assistance assignment to develop short-term course curricula for Ayurveda therapists and wellness facility management in Sri Lanka in order to provide an authentic experience to tourists to grow the wellness tourism component for the country.
Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando commented: “Wellness and nature are high on the priority list for travelers presently and Sri Lanka has much to offer on both counts. Considering the lush greenery, nature, Ayurveda, yoga, spirituality and culture in Sri Lanka, it is one of the top wellness destinations in the world and we are grateful to the EU Delegation in Sri Lanka for recognising and investing in building further capacity for the country to promote this niche tourism. This partnership will help strengthen Sri Lanka’s wellness tourism product.”
The project will also consist of a “train the trainer” and a supervised pilot roll-out course. Project Team Leader Paul Penfold will be in Sri Lanka for a two-week mission to meet stakeholders and assess needs.
Paul Penfold, MEd, is an experienced development consultant specialising in tourism strategy, HRD, educational technology, curriculum development, programme design, and quality management. He has lived and worked in Asia (including Sri Lanka) for more than 25 years and has also taught hospitality and tourism in universities in Hong Kong, Myanmar, China, and Vietnam.
With the wellness traveller generating at least five times more earnings than the standard tourist, Sri Lanka Tourism is strategically working with key stakeholders to position the destination to cater to the demands of this high yielding segment. With the assistance of external experts, the authorities are focusing on product and infrastructure development, training and guidance to the SME sector and the larger industry, targeted marketing and promoting investor opportunities.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the country when it was hit by the global Covid 19 pandemic. However, the country’s tourism industry is on the path to recovery with a steady increase in tourist arrivals to the country. Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities are engaged in a promotional campaign in key foreign source markets while also promoting new tourism concepts. The island has also received much international exposure with several key travel publications identify Sri Lanka as a must visit destination as well as an island destination. All these have expanded business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. The growing business potential in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry has attracted many foreign businesses/investors as well as the EU.
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