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Sri Lanka Tourism celebrates World Tourism Day 2020 under the theme “Tourism and Rural Development” in Kandy.

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Under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and the Department of Trade Commerce and Tourism of Central Provincial Council had organized a three-day special programme and several other events to celebrate the World Tourism Day 2020 in Kandy.

World Tourism Day was declared by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to promote sustainable, responsible and universally accessible tourism. It is commemorated worldwide on the 27th of September every year.

This year’s World Tourism Day was celebrated under the theme “Tourism and Rural Development”, focusing on fostering a people-centric, technology-driven and sustainable tourism sector from the grassroot level, to achieve overall economic development in the long run.

Tourism is an important driving force for pro-poor economic growth and poverty alleviation. It serves as a catalyst for job creation for youth, women, minorities, indigenous people and other marginalized groups, and as a stimulant of infrastructure and public service development in rural areas.

Therefore, this year’s World Tourism Day aimed to incorporate key provisions of the Tourism Strategic Action Plan 2020-2022, by taking measures to upgrade community-based tourism products, improve strategic marketing of tourism products and enhance the capacities of tourism based-SMEs. Such initiatives are expected to encourage rural industries and communities to exploit opportunities available in tourism-based niche markets.

The official ceremony commenced at 9.00 a.m. on the 27th of September at the Kandy City Center, under the patronage of Hon. Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranathunga, Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism, Mrs. Kimarli Fernando.

The Chief Guests of the event included the Chief of Defense Staff and Commander of the Army Ltn. Gen Shavendra Silva, Ms. Hanna Singer, United Nations Resident Coordinator and Mr. Robert Juhkham, Resident Representative, UNDP Sri Lanka with the presence of other officials from Sri Lanka Tourism and Central Provincial Council.

The Main Celebrations included an Industrial Exhibition, Food Festival, Kandy Cultural Event from 25th, 26th & 27th of September 2020 at Kandy City Centre, organized by the Central Provincial Council in collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism.