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Independent celebrations major positive impact for investment, tourism – Bogollagama

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Former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Picture by Wimal Karunatillike
Former Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama. Picture by Wimal Karunatillike

The hosting of the Independence Day celebration on February 4 despite an economic crisis will have a major positive impact for Sri Lanka as an investment destination and also for global tourism destination marketing image, said former Foreign Minister and Investment Promotion Minister Rohitha Bogollagama.

In an interview with Daily News Business he said though the opposition and a few political parties said the amount spent on hosting independence was waste he said that it was not so. “All the ambassadors in Sri Lanka attended and through this a positive message on Sri Lanka was sent to diplomatic missions as well as the world.”

He recalled that Sri Lanka has been generating huge negative publicity recently with the ouster of the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa due to violent street protest and subsequently a change of government and this also resulted in several adverse travel advisories posted against Sri Lanka.

The burning of public property and houses of politicians were also highlighted in global media. This led to Sri Lanka being tarnished as an unsafe country and hosting the independence displayed Sri Lanka’s resilience.

“This also sent a positive message that Sri Lanka is now open not only for tourism but also for investments as it sent out a strong and bold message that Sri Lanka is once again peaceful and a safe place to travel and invest.”

He recalled that he had the opportunity to meet up with former British Prime Minister (from 2010 to 2016) David Cameron and President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo recently along with the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Lisa Whanstall when there was an adversary travel advisory against Sri Lanka. President Wickremesinghe congratulated the former British PM’s decision in the presence of the British High commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton for visiting Sri Lanka defying a negative travel advisory stamped by Britain itself. “This clearly shows travel advisories are not something that should be taken seriously.”

A former Chairman of BOI, he said that the conduct of the BIO is still engaged in traditional investment promotions.

“Annual investment figures are important for any inventor to make a decision and the BOI has not even released their annual revenue figures even during the second month of the year while all other similar bodies like Tourism, Export Development Board, ICT and apparel sectors have done so in the first week of January. This also shows the lethargic attitude of the present BOI management.

“I still see BOI marketing agriculture for the global sectors but where is the land to offer them?” he asked. He said instead they should market ICT, and mainly services. I think BOI will change with the appointment of Dinesh Weerakkoday as the Chairman.”


Monday, February 13, 2023 – 01:00

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