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 News - 21-May-2013

Mauritius And Sri Lanka Hold Crunch Meetings

Representatives from Sri Lanka recently travelled to Mauritius to discuss the idea of the two countries potentially working together in the tourist sector. Both are major players in the Indian Ocean region and have a lot to gain as focus switches to this part of the world. The talks centred on tourism and boosting growth in the aviation sector.

Both countries have many things in common, including actively contributing to the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation. Moreover, Sri Lanka will hold the next Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting, with Mauritius hosting the following meeting.

The High Commissioner from Sri Lanka, Shehan Ratnavale spent three days in Mauritius, where he presented himself to Mauritian President Radjeswur Purryag. Over the three days, they had a number of meetings where they discussed issues relating to aviation and tourism. The High Commissioner further visited some of the country’s top attractions.

There is interest in investing in hospitality companies in both countries. The High Commissioner also wanted to work on boosting the numbers of Sri Lankans working in the country. At the moment, there is an estimated 2,000 Sri Lankan workers in the garment sector in Mauritius.

Tourism, though, served as the main focus of the meetings. Sri Lanka has only just emerged from a bloody civil war, which caused severe problems with its tourism industry. For their part, Mauritius also wants to work on creating connections with other islands in the Indian Ocean region.

Each party agreed forging competent travel connections would benefit everyone, as tourists would be more likely to explore more countries in the region. At the same time, Sri Lanka and Mauritius want to harness the power of the growing demand for luxury tourism in India.

To help promote Mauritius luxury holidays , the country just increased the number of flights from the Indian mainland. These include destinations like Mumbai and New Delhi. There is talk of potentially increasing the number of major flights between Sri Lanka and the island.

High Commissioner Ratnavale also met with a number of cabinet ministers to discuss more in-depth issues. The country expects rapid growth in the next few years, and it needs investment from other countries.

Whilst no formal agreements came out of this three-day visit, ministerial visits will continue in the future. Neither party decided to hold a formal press conference at the close of the meeting.

Observers predict major happenings between the two countries going forward. There is also a lot of speculation surrounding both countries and the Vanilla Islands organisation, which is a body for cooperation between the islands of the Indian Ocean.

High Commissioner Ratnavale has also recently had meetings with a number of top officials from India. With Mauritius and Sri Lanka interacting with India, investors are optimistically predicting some agreements between all three countries in the following few months and years.

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