- A 30-year-old industry recognized for the first time in the national budget
- Rs. 500m allocated to facilitate and motivate industry affected by COVID
- EMASL says understand how allocations will be made
- Many skilled workers have moved to other industries due to the 18-month shutdown, lack of livelihoods
- The highlights industry has the potential to rebound with ‘MICE’ events, destination weddings, corporate events
By Charumini de Silva
The multibillion rupee event management industry yesterday hailed the government for recognizing their business for the first time in a national budget and for allocating funds to compensate the sector affected by COVID.
|EMASL President Roshan Wijeyarathne
“We thank Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa for recognizing our industry, which has been painstakingly built over the past 30 years, and for allocating Rs. 500 million to compensate for losses suffered during the COVID pandemic,” said Sri Lanka Event Management Association (EMASL) President Roshan Wijeyaratne at Daily FT.
In the 2022 budget, as part of the special sectors that lost revenue during the pandemic, the Minister of Finance proposed to allocate Rs. 500 million to the event management industry to facilitate and motivate the sector.
“Our industry was the only sector that was closed for 18 consecutive months. Although few industries like weddings were allowed from time to time, there was absolutely no corporate event – which was a huge success for all stakeholders, ”he said. Events are considered essential for businesses as a vital “live communication” tool. , which allows a representative sample of industries to introduce new products to the market and generate sales. In this context, a high frequency of corporate events often correlates with a healthy economy.
The event management industry is worth over Rs. 30 billion and is part of the Rs. 150 billion in the marketing communications industry. Although it attracts foreign currency to the economy, especially through Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE), the industry has provided jobs for thousands of people.
EMASL, which has 65 member companies, provided 130,000 direct jobs and 600,000 livelihoods. However, given the industry shutdown induced by the pandemic, Wijeyaratne said most of the trained staff have now moved to different industries to make a living.
Most of the association’s members have made massive investments, ranging from Rs. 10 million to Rs. 800 million per company, in infrastructure, equipment and skills development. Without work for 18 months, this million dollar equipment and devices either malfunctioned or was completely damaged.
“The next step in this progressive decision is to understand with government and stakeholders how the allocations are going to be made,” he said, adding that EMASL members were planning to meet on Wednesday (24) to discuss the way forward. post-pandemic.
Although the allocation was not sufficient given its scale and the losses suffered by stakeholders, Wijeyaratne said that recognition for the first time in the national budget of the 30-year-old industry in the middle of the pandemic and economic hardship, was very commendable.
“Our industry was first recognized when the Central Bank extended the financial moratorium to sectors affected by COVID. We are extremely grateful to the government for the recognition and for considering our contribution to the national economy in the post-COVID recovery process, ”he said.
Wijeyaratne also said that the event management industry has great potential to showcase Sri Lanka as an entertainment hub in Southeast Asia, especially with the upcoming mega port city project.
“We are a local industry with local talent and investment. No one thinks about the whole process behind the scenes to organize massive events. It doesn’t stop at the price of a ticket but includes many technical and creative aspects to make an event memorable. All of our members are registered and contribute to government funds, ”he said.
The two-year-old EMASL is registered with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) and is also a member of the Federation of Sri Lanka Chambers of Commerce (FCCISL).
He also said it was imperative that all stakeholders strive to support the industry and continue to invest and grow to maintain the competitive edge and generate the much-needed foreign exchange the country needs.
“With the successive administration of the COVID-19 vaccine around the world, the easing of travel restrictions and the resumption of tourism have given hope to the industry. We hope the industry rebounds with MICE events, destination weddings and many other corporate events that have been restricted for 18 months, ”said Wijeyaratne.