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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2966

Given the present situation, travel industry satisfactory

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Colombo, 13 January, ( thousand members of the Bohra community from all over the world coming to Sri Lanka to celebrate the 10 day Ashara Mubaraka ceremony to mark the Martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed's grandson is ample testimony to prove the foreign tourist confidence that Sri Lanka is a safe destination said Fizer Musthapha, Deputy Minister of Tourism, at a Press Briefing held at the Tourism Ministry.

His Holiness, Dr Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin Saheb, spiritual leader of the International Dawoodi Bohra Community arrived in Sri Lanka last Sunday from Bombay to attend the 10 day Ashara Mubaraka ceremony to mark the Martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson.

The Deputy Minister said that all the city hotels and other lodgings were filled to the capacity and said that this was the second time that the International Dawoodi Bohra, Ashara Mubaraka ceremony was held in Sri Lanka and their decision to hold this ceremony in Sri Lanka was a clear sign of tourist confidence that Sri Lanka was a safe destination for tourists. He said that this number would swell to 30,000 when the actual ceremony takes place. The ceremony would be continued for 10 days.

He said that after the Private Sector was included in the decision making process, the tourist industry in Sri Lanka showed an improvement.

He conceded that though there have been high targets set to achieve due to the current situation in the country, these targets were failed. Repeated queries by journalists that abrogating the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) would further seriously dampen the travel trade in Sri Lanka, Musthapha declined to comment. It was pointed out that the actual figures were well below the set target of one million arrivals. He said that they were evaluating the situation taking into consideration of abrogating CFA.

Musthapha conceded that the existing trade was dropped by 40 percent in March last year due to Airport bombing by rebels, by December travel trade gained by 12 percent.

He said that they were prepared to meet any situation to safeguard the foreign traveler and the fact that the decision by International Bohra Community to hold their annual ceremony in Sri Lanka despite around 15 other countries requesting to have it in itself proved that there was not so much of impact on the travel trade by the prevailing situation in Sri Lanka.

Musthapha said that the figures towards November, December last year and January and February this year would show an appreciable gain in the numbers of arrivals this year. Though the Deputy Minister could not indicate the source as to how the government obtained the statistics, he was insistent that the majority of the people were supporting the government’s war effort, despite the enormous hardships encountered by the people.

At the Press Briefing few International Bohra Community, including Dr Burhanuddin Saheeb and Saifuddin Patel one of the Sri Lankan Bohra Community members told the journalists that their entire community present in Sri Lanka were impressed with all the arrangements in place for them. He said that there are around one million Bohra Community members spread all over the world and there are around 2,500 of them in Sri Lanka.

He said that when the ceremony was held in India the number participated was around 200,000 and in Dubai the number was 45,000.

- Asian Tribune -

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