Daily Mirror Sri Lanka
- Originally scheduled to be held from May 23 to June 3
- Over 3,000 foreign delegates and media expected
Sri Lanka has postponed the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora’s (CITES) World Wildlife Conference “(CoP 18)” to October this year, after considering a request made by the Geneva-based United Nation affiliated CITES Secretariat, on security concerns and travel advisories in the aftermath of Easter Sunday bombings.
The CITES conference was originally scheduled to be held from May 23 to June 3 at the BMICH in Colombo with the participation of over 3,000 foreign delegates and media.
“The UN officials in Geneva made a request to postpone the conference and suggest a later date. We first suggested mid August. However, they asked for an alternative date as August falls under summer vacation. Therefore, we have proposed October,” a Tourism Ministry official told Mirror Business.
Tourism Ministry officials and the organisers last week took part in a meeting chaired by the President, Prime Minister and several top ministers. The officials noted that President ensured the support of the government to hold the event.
The government and tourism industry stakeholders believe hosting the CITES conference would enable the country to rebuild its image as a safe destination, which would in turn support the tourism industry during its recovery period.
The organisers and officials including the Secretary to the Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry, S. Hettiarachchi, Director General of CITES Secretariat in Colombo, Trevine Gomez and, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Kishu Gomes are currently working on securing the venue for the conference in October.
As BMICH is fully booked until 2021, the ministry official noted that the support of the Presidential Secretariat would also be required to secure the venue.
Furthermore, the organisers of the event noted that additional funding will also be required to successfully host the event as the organisers have already spent allocated funds when planning to host the conference next month. (NF)