All Sri Lankans especially those in the Travel Industry are very happy that Sri Lanka has won the bid to host the annual summit of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA). This was announced at this year’s summit just concluded in Bangalore, India by the CEO of PATA Mario Hardy, after the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau team led by its CEO/GM Vipula Wanigasekera made a very professional conference bid presentation.

Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Paddy Withana who received the bid document entrusted the work to Sri Lanka Convention Bureau. He is a professional hotelier with over three decades of experience and members of the travel industry and members of the Meetings and Conference Organizations in Colombo were supportive for the bid.

This clearly shows that if professionals are entrusted an assignment they will ensure the success of it. This is in stark contrast to our failed bid to host the Commonwealth Games. We sent plane loads of freebies headed by the then Governor of the Central Bank Nivard Cabraal who has the reputation of losing everything he led and contested, accompanied by so-called beauty queens and members of the then President’s family and friends. This cost millions of poor taxpayers’ money which went down the drain.

There are many professional organizations in Sri Lanka which are members of parent associations whose head offices are located overseas. It would be a good idea if these members who go for their annual meetings or conventions make a bid to host their world or regional meetings in Sri Lanka in consultation with the Convention Bureau, who are ready to give them professional advice in how to make a successful conference bid.
The Sri Lanka Convention Bureau deserves a big bouquet.
Tilak Fernando