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Saturday October 23rd, 2021

Sri Lanka nautical tourism to sail beyond the beach with boat show

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has a big potential to take tourism beyond the beach to the sea and waterways using natural endowments which are severely underutilized, organizers of a virtual showcase to drive the sector forward say.

At the moment Sri Lanka is making a name for whale and dolphin watching but there was lack of infrastructure and a history of marine leisure activity.

A Virtual Sri Lanka Boatshow 2021 is seeking to boost nautical tourism, pleasure boating, leisure and fishing as well as boatbuilding.

There are large number of boating enthusiasts looking to own a boat, go leisure fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving and pleasure boating, according to the Boat Building Technology Improvement Institute (BTI) which is organizing a Boat Show with Sri Lanka’s Export Development Board to promote the sector.

“The main hindering factor in the growth of leisure and pleasure boating is the total lack of boat parks and marinas,” BTI said in a statement.

“It is revealed that if the marinas and boat parks are developed and managed in the country, the demand for recreational boats will record a very healthy growth for the industry.”

Sri Lanka has a coastal shore-line of 1340 Kilometers and a large inland water mass consisting of lagoons, lakes and reservoirs, BTI said. There are 17 major fishery harbors, 15 anchorages and 1053 landing sites on the coastal belt.

The island also has about 25 active boat yards around the country and about a dozen have medium to large scale manufacturing facilities and others are small scale manufactures.

“However, the full potential of the ocean is yet to be utilized and ideal waterfront lands for development of marinas and boat yards are available around the island,” BTI said.

Sri Lanka will hold a virtual boat show from October 25 to 29 to through the website showcase and attract investors and the facilities in the country.

The exhibition will have 40 or more sectors involved in the boat and ship building industry and nautical tourism sector. They will be able to promote their business for international and local clients via the platform.

BTI and EDB expect to generate 50 million US dollars worth of business through the boat festival.

They hope of to attract buyers and visitors, boating enthusiasts, and industry professionals from India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Seychelles, Maldives, South Korea, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Holland and the UK.

Sri Lanka has a several boat buildings firms. Among those will be Sail Sri Lanka, a luxury sail boating and manufacturer of catamarans, yachts and sail boats. Other boat builders include Colombo Dockyard, Baff Polymech Pvt Ltd, Neil Fernando And Co Pvt Ltd.

The aim of the National Export Strategy is to increase the export revenue to 500 million US dollars.

“High marine diversity of the country provides massive potential for the development of nautical tourism which directly benefit the boat building sector,” Suresh de Mel, Chairman, Sri Lanka Export
Development Board said.

“Therefore when, development and promotional activities are undertaken for the Boat Building industry, many other related activities such as yacht chartering, yacht parking, water sports and all other activities need to be taken in to account.

Water sports events geared to the younger generation including wake boarding, water skiing, jet ski racing, wind surfing, catamaran and dinghy racing, try a boat event run by sailing clubs, a fashion show linked to a nautical theme, fishing events and demonstrations will be displayed in a virtual platform.

Organizers are expecting over 40 exhibitors and say several international firms including equipment suppliers have confirmed their participation.

Despite the pandemic organizing a virtual boat show is timely as it will enhance the visibility of the Sri Lankan Boat and ship building industry internationally and to position it as a quality sourcing destination for boat and ship building.

“Further this will give the opportunity to the Sri Lankan boat manufacturers to explore new business contacts as virtual show will make platform to reach wider range of potential buyers globally.”

Virtual exhibitions can be used to give virtual boat tours, live showrooms, online appointments and interaction plus to exhibit via 3D technology.

The Boat Show will also promote the ship building and repair industry.

The Colombo Dockyard and its subsidiary, Walkers Colombo Shipyard will take part in the show and they will focus on marine engineering, ship building and repairs on fishing, commercial crafts and yachts locally owned and visiting. (Colombo/Aug09/2021)

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