The last week of September 2019 drew worldwide attention on Sri Lanka, when Colombo played host to the Asia Rugby 7's series 2019, an event that was warmly welcome and held successfully.
Sri Lanka proved to the world that once again Sri Lanka is a safe country to visit, and can accommodate sporting or any other events of this nature.
11 countries; namely Japan, China, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Korea, Philippines, Singapore and UAE were in Colombo for the event. The tournament featured 16 teams in both women and men's categories including host Sri Lanka.
The event week brought in over 250 foreigners to the country which was a big boost to tourism in Sri Lanka. In addition to the 11 participating overseas countries, there were officials and referees from England, New Zealand, Australia and India who were in Colombo as well.
Two of Colombo's leading hotels were booked for the teams and officials. In addition; transport services, food providers, medical, printers, security and a host of other suppliers were in business during this week which was much needed for some who have struggled in the last few months.
The event also had exceptional publicity with media personal from Asia Rugby covering the event. And all matches been live telecast on TV and web. The sponsors provided pre event publicity which was helpful in catching the attention of rugby fans. Social media networks were abuzz with live scores, interviews, photographs and other publicity material reaching out to the world.
Since the Easter Sunday disaster in Sri Lanka, there has been a drastic drop in tourist arrivals to the country. Therefore Asia Rugby and Sri Lanka Rugby along with all those who supported the event should be congratulated for the effort in organizing such an event. All visiting teams and officials without any hesitation were willing to come to Sri Lanka, which all Sri Lankan's are thankful for. The Sri Lanka police and tri forces gave their fullest cooperation in providing security.
It would have been even better if the Sri Lanka tourism board and tourism promotion bureau stepped up to give more publicity and give more corporation to the organizers. Sports tourism plays a big role in most countries that depend on tourist for a countries economy. Sport tourism is a fast-growing sector of the global travel industry and equates to $7.68 billion worldwide. Therefore with the resources Sri Lanka have to offer, hopefully those in charge of tourism will take a much keener interest in the future.
The Asia Rugby 7's series in Colombo without any doubt will be a gateway, an eye opener, and an example to all those who want to visit this beautiful country. Sri Lanka ranked the No 1 travel destination in 2019 by Lonely Planet, is a safe and beautiful Country. Come and enjoy the Paradise Island.
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