The meeting was chaired by the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Mr. Paddy Withana, and included Chairman of Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Mr. Dhammika Ranatunga, members of the Cruise Development Committee of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), officials from the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation, and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.
Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, addressed the gathering, and stressed on the fact of Sri Lanka having the potential of being an exclusive destination for cruise tourism in future. He said, "I’m sure the private sector can facilitate, together with SL customs, Department of Immigration and Irrigation, and the rest of the government organisations’’. He further expressed that in 2016, at least 60 vessels are due to arrive at Sri Lankan Ports.
According to Chairman, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, it is considered a good move, because of the involvement of different ministries, and private sector organisations.’’ When it comes to cruise terminals ports get involved. So it’s important for the key agencies to get together, understand their concerns, and get all these together and work out a plan to go forward. We want it to be a maritime hub, that means we have to look at all the port related industries and develop all industries. We look forward to go in this direction’’. He said. Thus this effort by Sri Lanka Tourism will create another pathway to establish Sri Lanka as a cruise destination.
In addition to the discussion, an informative presentation was made afterwards by one of the Cruise Development Committee Members, depicting the necessity of using Sri Lanka as a destination for passenger ships. Sri Lanka has a line-up of natural harbours such as Colombo, Trincomalee , Hambantota and Galle. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, together with Sri Lanka Ports Development Authority, will be participating in the Sea Trade Cruise Global in March 2017, in USA, which is the largest cruise event happening there.
The meeting was held subsequently to the visit of Mr. Claudius Dosecle, for the International Maritime Conference held in Sri Lanka. He highlighted on the efficiency of the Colombo harbour being an important stop by for Sea cruises.