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Fort, Galle Face to be made into major shopping destination

The Government is strongly considering converting the Colombo Fort and Galle Face areas to a shoping destination as the first step of making Sri Lanka a popular shopping destination in the region, Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said.

He made this observation at the launching ceremony of the official Website and Logo of the first Colombo International Shopping Festival scheduled to be held across the country from October 1 to 15.

Minister Amaratunga said Sri Lanka has long recognised the importance of shopping to help drive the growth of the country’s tourism sector.

“Sri Lanka’s most popular shops are situated in different places. If you look at Singapore or any other developed country, all the main shops are in one street. So the Government is deeply concentrating on doing same in the Colombo Fort and Galle Face area,” the Minister said.

“The Whiteaway building has been given to a company and its upper floor will be utilised for a boutique hotel while the ground floor allocated for retail shops. The ground floor of Shangri-La Hotel at Galle Face will also be utilised for retail shops. The Port City once completed will have a large area set aside for this type of shopping,” the Minister said.

“Maybe in a year or two, the tourists who come to Sri Lanka who occupy the Five Star hotels will be able to walk down along the streets and do their side shopping,” the Minister predicted.

He said the Prime Minister was thinking on those lines and he would be able to accomplish this idea of making Colombo a shopping hub. The Colombo International Shopping Festival is organised by the Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association in collaboration with the Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry.

Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry Secretray Esala Weerakoon, Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Udaya Nanayakkara, SriLankan Airlines CEO Suren Ratwatte, Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association Chairman Hussain Sidique and and other distinguished guests participated.