The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) yesterday hailed the Head of the Dawoodi Bohra community Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin for his support extended to Sri Lanka by hosting their annual congregation in the country recently.
In a statement, THASL President Sanath Ukwatte noted the multi-faceted significance of Dr Saifuddin’s visit to Sri Lanka at the present time.
‘Firstly, the 10-day program represents a marked recognition of the centuries-old values of tolerance and goodwill among the communities of the island,’ said Ukwatte.
‘Secondly, it underlines the spirit of unity and solidarity, so clearly evident among us, in the wake of the devastating Easter Sunday carnage which generated extreme revulsion across all communities. Thirdly, the visit displayed tremendous courage by being prepared effectively to stand up and be counted in their tangible support for Sri Lanka,’ he added.
‘The importance of the visit was not confined to our shores. The convention, which was the highlight of the visit, attracted as many as 20,000 guests from overseas who, apart from participating in the event, had the opportunity of enjoying the scenic beauty of our country, the vibrancy of culture, and the warmth and hospitality of our people,’ Ukwatte said.
THASL expressed confidence that Dr Saifuddin’s visit would strengthen considerably the ongoing initiatives directed towards healing the wounds inflicted by the recent calamity.
‘We express our appreciation of the spirit of understanding which underlined the visit. It also gives us hope and optimism for the future,’ the statement issued by Ukwatte added.
The Dawoodi Bohra community’s Ashara Mubaraka event drew over 25,000 devout visitors from 40 countries during the 10 days, giving the country the biggest-ever tourism boost since the Easter Sunday tragedy.
Sri Lanka has earned over Rs.10 billion (US$ 55 million) from tourists who participated in the Bohra conference in Colombo, said Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board (SLTPB) Kishu Gomes.
He said the prices of hotels and luxury apartments in Colombo increased by 20 to 80 percent due to the global conference of the Bohras.
The 2019 conference of Bohra Muslims, held in Colombo for 10 days from 1 September, drew more than 21,000 members of the Bohra community from 40 countries.
According to the tourism official, tourists have stayed in more than 3000 rooms in Colombo hotels including major luxury hotels.
He said after the conclusion of the spiritual summit, some of the Bohra members are enjoying travel to Sri Lanka’s other tourist destinations.
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