Ambassador Hangawatte accredited to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation
Sri Lanka’s envoy to Paris and UNESCO, Ambassador Professor Karunaratne Hangawatte presented Credentials to the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, Dr Taleb Rifai at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid, Spain.
Having called on the Secretary General on 14th October 2013, Ambassador Hangwatte acknowledged the role of tourism and stressed the rapid development of this vital sector in Sri Lanka. He welcomed the functions of the UNWTO in promoting various areas of tourism while emphasizing the importance of sustainable development.
He stressed that booming economic conditions, the safe environment prevalent in the country as well as the state-of-the-art hotels and other facilities had collectively attracted tourists from around the world. Catering to family packages, niche clientele as well as business travelers, Sri Lanka, he observed had much to offer the enthusiastic traveler.
Ambassador Hangawatte noted that the natural beauty of the country, much of which was embodied in the World Heritage Sites, as well as the other attributes of Sri Lanka, were much sought after by tourists, many of whom had been returning to the island over a long period of time and others who were keen to experience a part of paradise.
The Secretary General favourably viewed the achievements of Sri Lanka within a short span of time since the end of the conflict and was impressed with the latest statistics and reports emanating from the tourism sector. Noting that the country was on the right path, the Secretary General was of the opinion that as a founding member of the UNWTO, Sri Lanka could play a leadership role in the Asian region in terms of tourism. The Ambassador suggested establishing a regional technical workshop center in Sri Lanka to support hotels and tourism trade in South Asia. This would consolidate Sri Lanka as a tourism hub in the Asian region whilst enhancing the promotion of tourism across the Asian region.
Having last visited Sri Lanka in 2011, the Secretary General emphasized the promotion of intra-regional travel which would in turn generate economic activity and ensure regional solidarity.
Also joining the discussions were Mr. Xu Jing- Director, Regional Programme for Asia and the Pacific, Ms. Emi MacColl – Chief of Cabinet of the Secretary-General, Mr.Augustin Llanas, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Barcelona and Ms Yoshitha Jayasuriya, Second Secretary (Commercial) of the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
17th October 2013