Italian company mulls setting up Mediterranean cuisine school in SL | Sunday Observer

Italian company mulls setting up Mediterranean cuisine school in SL

20 October, 2019

The Italian tourism market will pick up again with the situation in Sri Lanka expected to improve next year, as the island has always being a preferred destinations for Italian travellers, said the Italian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Rita Mannella on the sidelines of the World Food Day marked by the Italian Embassy with celebrity chef Rubio at a forum on the Mediterranean diet last week.

The Italian travel segment, a traditional market for Sri Lanka recorded around 28 percent growth in the number of arrivals before the Easter Sunday attacks in April. Since then the number of visitors from Italy has been on the decline.

“Sri Lanka has all the resources and the potential to be a leading travel hub in the region as the country is blessed with iconic cities and sought after locations. I am certain that the travel sector of the country will revive soon,” Mannella said.

However, the ambassador said there has to be more investments and promotions to attract the high-end travel segment to the country if it is to benefit from the travel sector.

According to an official of the Italian Embassy opportunity is being explored to set up a school on Italian cuisine and wineries by a leading Italian winery company in Sri Lanka.

“The Italian Embassy is engaged in promoting awareness about the importance of the United Nations Organisations based in Rome which is currently the third most important hub of the UN after New York and Geneva - and most probably the one with the noblest of mandates to promote food for all and achieve the eradication of hunger,” the Ambassador said.

Italy is an advocate of Mediterranean diet since it is healthy and sustainable for the planet and the conversations had on its benefits held at the event were vital.

Italy is known as the most sustainable country in agriculture globally. It is first country in the world for Protected Designations of Origin (DOP) – EU Geographical Indication and Protected Geographical Indication products, certifications that are aimed at protecting traditional products.

“Protecting traditional products is something that should be introduced in Sri Lanka to protect Ceylon Tea, cinnamon and spices,” Mannella said.

Minister of Tourism Development and Wildlife John Amaratunga said the tourism industry has seen a gradual revival after April despite the many challenges faced by the industry.

The number of tourist arrivals dropped for the sixth straight month in September by 27.2 percent compared to the corresponding month last year. According to data the number of arrivals in September was 108,575 compared to 149,087 in September 2018.

However, the number of visitors to the country since the Easter carnage has been on the rise. The number of year-on-year dipped 46 percent in July, 57 percent in June and 70.8 percent in May.

The major markets for the country in September were India, the UK and China. Tourist arrivals in the first nine months this year declined by 20.5 percent to 1,376, 312 compared to 1,731,922 recorded during the corresponding period last year. The total number of arrivals last year was 2,333,796.