Nov 23, Colombo: The Event Management Association of Sri Lanka applauded the government’s decision to allocate Rs 500 million in the next year’s (2022) budget to compensation for losses incurred during the pandemic.
Built painstakingly over 30 years, Sri Lanka’s Event Management industry has been a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings through driving the MICE tourist industry. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the earning potential of the industry due to inevitable mobility restrictions that ensued.
“We thank the Finance Minister Hon. Basil Rajapaksa and the Government for recognizing our industry and allocating Rs. 500 million to compensate the losses incurred during the pandemic with our industry being shut for 18 months. EMA being the legally registered body of the Event Industry, we trust and hope that the Finance Ministry will consult and work with the EMA as to how these funds will be disbursed to the professional Event Management Companies,” Seniya Samarasekera, Secretary – EMA said.
In addition to brining in foreign exchange to boot the economy, the Event Management Industry has provided employment to thousands of people. Over the past 30 years, the event management industry grew organically while industry players invested billions of rupees in developing the industry through upgrading equipment, introducing technology and training people.
“Over the last 2 years the Event Management Association has been working very hard to get our Industry recognized by the government and we were first recognized when the central bank included us for the moratorium. The EMA is registered with the SLTDA and we are also a member of the FCCISL. The government’s fund allocation to the industry is a welcome respite to industry players in these challenging times. We believe that this monetary compensation will enable us to sustain and plan to revive the industry in the post-pandemic economy,” Roshan Wijeyaratne, President of EMA said.
In the year 2018 alone, the global MICE industry was valued at $ 1,100 billion and it is projected to grow to $ 2,300 billion in 2026. Sri Lanka’s Event Management Industry enjoys potential to grow in the post-pandemic economy. As such, it is imperative that all stakeholders strive to sustain the industry and keep investing and developing it to retain the competitive edge, and remain competitive in the region to bring much needed foreign exchange to the country.