Sri Lanka squandered cruise tourism opportunity
ECONOMYNEXT – Lack of interest and initiative on the part of Sri Lanka’s shipping authorities led to missed opportunities in attracting some of the world’s top cruise lines to the island, a maritime industry official said.
Rohan Maskorala, chief executive of the Shippers Academy Colombo, said he organized two international maritime forums in Colombo to draw the interest of foreign investors to the island in 2015 and 2016.
The two Colombo International Maritime Conferences attracted cruise ship operators among others including shipping lines and terminal operators.
The CIMC brought cruising firms twice to Colombo, he told a business forum held by the European Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (ECCSL) and the European Union Delegation to Sri Lanka and Maldives.
Following the conferences, a report on how to develop cruise tourism was presented to the government with the help of two operators, Royal Caribbean International and Crystal Cruises.
“To date not a thing has happened,” Masakorala said. “The report proposed several recommendations including simple things to facilitate high class passengers.
”This time I am having the conference in India with Indians to promote south India,” he said, noting that he believes that when India develops Sri Lanka stands to benefit.
Cruise tourism experts at the two conferences said the island could drawn more cruise ship calls and visitors if it developed infrastructure and simpler procedures for passengers.
Their recommendations included building terminals for passengers with boarding bridges, better access and transport to and from the cruise ship to attractions ashore, improved customs, immigration and luggage handling and shopping.
(COLOMBO, August 09, 2017)