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Prez poll important for reconciliation process in Sri Lanka – EU

COLOMBO | Friday October 25, 2019 | NewsLanka | The European Union (EU) says that the Presidential Election 2019 is important for Sri Lanka to continue making progress on its path of reform and national reconciliation.Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, has stated that the EU values its partnership with Sri Lanka. “Deploying an Election Observation Mission for the upcoming presidential election confirms our continuing engagement and commitment in support of democratic processes in the country.”

The European Union, in response to an invitation by the Election Commission, deployed an EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Sri Lanka, to observe the presidential election, scheduled for November 16, 2019.The EU, emphasizing its long history of accompanying the electoral process in Sri Lanka and, says that it has deployed EOMs on five previous occasions, the last in 2015, which reflects the EU’s long-term commitment and partnership with Sri Lanka.

Mogherini has appointed Marisa Matias, Member of the European Parliament, as Chief Observer of the EOM to Sri Lanka.“I am confident that the deployment of an EU EOM under the leadership of Chief Observer Marisa Matias will contribute to an inclusive, credible and transparent election. This election is important for Sri Lanka to continue making progress on its path of reform and national reconciliation,” Mogherini has further stated.

Meanwhile, the Chief Observer, Marisa Matias, has said: “It is a great honour for me to lead this EOM. I believe it is important for the EU to continue observing elections in Sri Lanka as a form of support for the Sri Lankan people and their efforts to strengthen democratic institutions. I am hopeful that our observation will provide an important contribution to this election and, through its follow-up, to efforts to further strengthen the electoral processes and institutions.”

The Election Observation Mission core team of nine EU election analysts arrived in Colombo on the 5th of October and will stay in the country until the completion of the electoral process.The core team was joined by 30 long-term observers who were deployed across the country and will be joined by additional 30 short-term observers for the election week.Shortly after Election Day, the mission will issue a preliminary statement and hold a press conference in Colombo.A final report, including recommendations for future electoral processes, will be presented at a later stage, after the finalisation of the electoral process, the EU said.

Tourism Ministry to launch Rs 100 mn television marketing campaign in Germany

The Ministry of Tourism Development, will invest Rs. 100 million to launch a mega short term television marketing campaign in Germany, Chairman Kishu Gomes Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) said. In addition they will also appoint a PR company in Germany and 12 countries soon.Gomes also said that in addition the Ministry will allocate around Rs. 435 million to be provided as incentive for all travel agents who send tourists to Sri Lanka (US$ 10per guest basis).

Gomes said that over 50 million guests from Germany travel out each year and Sri Lanka only attracts around 150, 000 from this which shows that Germany has a huge tourism potential.He said that in 2019 so far around 93,000 Germans have arrived in Sri Lanka. President German Travel Association (DRV) Norbert Fiebig, said that they are keen to support Sri Lanka Tourism revival and would aggressively market Sri Lanka in Germany.
He also said that the free visa on arrivals policy currently being implemented has had a very positive impact towards brining Germans to Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka’s 160 km long beaches and ayurvedha are major attractions for German tourists,” he said.“Our delegation consisting of high ranking members of Germany´s tourism industry, most of them organized in DRV´s Technical Committee on outbound turism, they are very much looking forward to promote Sri Lanka.”
One other agent said that prior to Easter Sunday blasts Sri Lanka hotels were over priced but now the rates are realistic.Managing Director of SLTPB, Charmarie Maelge said that Sri Lanka Tourism industry has recovered far better than any other country facing similar situations after the Easter blasts. “Sri Lanka Tourism has had amazing support from all of our overseas trade partners and also from the consumers- world over to bring back the destination to be a highly popular and a much demanded holiday destination.”
The Minister reached out to confirm and accepted the invitations to visit us on familiarization visits. After the visit of the Travel Agents Association of India, they decided to have their Annual Conference in Sri Lanka this year, similarly we hope that the DRV will also have their Destination Forum in Sri Lanka,” she said.Sri Lanka received 156,888 German arrivals in 2018 and up to Sep 2019 the arrival number from Germany remains 93,886. Germany in 1993 and 1994 has been the number onetourist generating market for Sri Lanka. Germany has been the No: 1 tourism market for Sri Lanka from 1986 onwards up till 1995.

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