Business

Event Management Association commends Government’s move to compensate industry

  • Budget allocates Rs. 500 m for pandemic losses 

The Event Management Association of Sri Lanka (EMA) applauded the Government’s decision to allocate Rs. 500 million in the next year’s Budget (Budget 2022) to compensate for losses incurred during the pandemic, the association stated, issuing a statement. 

“We thank Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the Government for recognising our industry and allocating Rs. 500 million to compensate for the losses incurred during the pandemic with our industry being shut for 18 months. The EMA, being the legally registered body of the events industry, trusts and hopes that the Finance Ministry will consult and work with the EMA on how these funds will be disbursed to the professional event management companies,” EMA Secretary Seniya Samarasekera said.

Sri Lanka’s event management industry has been a major contributor to foreign exchange earnings by driving the meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) tourism industry. The Covid-19 pandemic disrupted the earning potential of the industry due to inevitable mobility restrictions that ensued. 

“Over the last two years the Event Management Association has been working very hard to get our industry recognised by the Government and we were first recognised when the Central Bank included us for the moratorium. The EMA is registered with the SLTDA (Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority) and we are also a member of the FCCISL (Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Sri Lanka). The Government’s fund allocation to the industry is a welcome respite to industry players in these challenging times. We believe that this monetary compensation will enable us to sustain and plan to revive the industry in the post-pandemic economy,” noted EMA President Roshan Wijeyaratne.

In the year 2018 alone, the global MICE industry was valued at $ 1,100 billion and it is projected to grow to $ 2,300 billion in 2026. Sri Lanka’s event management industry enjoys the potential to grow in the post-pandemic economy. As such, it is imperative that all stakeholders strive to sustain the industry and keep investing and developing it to retain the competitive edge, and remain competitive in the region to bring much-needed foreign exchange to the country.  

Bringing in foreign exchange to boost the economy, the event management industry has provided employment to thousands of people. Over the past 30 years, the event management industry grew organically while industry players invested billions of rupees in developing the industry by upgrading equipment, introducing technology, and training people, according to the association.