Event tourism: the missing gem | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Event tourism: the missing gem

6 November, 2022

Event tourism, not a familiar term to Sri Lankans, but a widely popular multimillion Dollar industry around the globe has become quite the star of the tourism industry over the past few years. Taking traditional tourism a step forward, event tourism has proved its potential and effectiveness in many countries by contributing to boosting and prospering their economies and social aspects over the years. Countries such as Malaysia, Dubai, Qatar, and Singapore made the first impression of this new prospect in the tourism industry followed by most countries in Europe and Asian giants such as India and China that are now trying to create a unique event-based tourism market to boost their economies where most of them now enjoy the fruit of its success.

Event tourism is attracting tourists to a country for an event or an event-based tour, which can be a musical show, a DJ festival, a sporting event, a business event, a global and national sporting event, a large-scale recreation event, a local interest event, an entertainment or celebration or social or religious or enterprise event, a conference, a promotional event, an exhibition or a few of them combined or even a local cultural and national event which can create attraction around the world or any occasion that people gather together that make the buzz around the globe for which people travel across the borders to experience and enjoy the presence of it. Event tourism also comes in a packaged-based visit where people visit a country on an event-based full tour in which they will participate in the event as and explore the country.


There are some strong positives for the host country and its businesses as well for the tourists themselves, which makes event tourism even more attractive. For the host nation, the international attraction the country gains and to their events, business opportunities it creates for locals and local businesses, and the foreign income it brings to the country are the main benefits of event tourism.

For each event, there is a specific group of people who will be interested and willing to participate in it anyway and because of that, there will be a number of confirmed participants meaning less risk and the high possibility of success for the business. For the tourist, low cost for the whole tour, a certain purpose to the tour, a short time for the visit, and the chance to experience different kinds of international and local events can be identified as driving forces that make event tourism tempting. The benefits event tourism provides not limited to the host nations’ tourism industry, it boosts the global economy in one way or another.

Sri Lankan cricket has been the core of event tourism for Sri Lanka over the years attracting and bringing down foreign crowds to Sri Lanka to attend the international cricket matches that are played in Sri Lanka. The most iconic Sri Lankan cricket involvement in event tourism was when the nation hosted the 2011 ICC World Cup and the 2012 ICC T20 World Cup which gained foreign attention towards Sri Lanka and brought a good number of foreign guests to the country. While Sri Lankan cricket proves to be the main hold of event tourism in the country, the recently concluded international music festivals such as Road to EMF and Hellfire made a positive impact on event tourism at the corporate level. Events such as Asian games, international surfing competitions such as Red Bull Ride My Wave, or even conferences such as CHOGM made some impressions and headlines around the world but didn’t make a great effect on event tourism in the country.

Main tourist attraction

Sri Lanka has become the main tourist attraction over the years resulting in a significant improvement in the tourism sector in the country. This stronghold in the tourism industry will be a great benefit and a good starting point for the country’s event tourism prospects. Great locations have been another reason why event-based tourism can be effective in the country. Natural locations such as beaches and valleys and hideouts are tailor-made for events, as do cricket stadiums, newly built conference halls and high-quality hotels that can be used for events. Also, the hype and enthusiasm the country has for, happening and fun events might be a benefit for event tourism. Sri Lanka does lack some resources but still, the country has the potential to take on mega-events that will expand capabilities in event tourism.

Sri Lanka has gained a reputation as an excellent travelling destination, resulting in more people around the world being willing to visit the country, but event tourism can be identified as a missing piece. Event tourism can make fortunes for the country, not just profit from tours and events, other indirect earnings such as from restaurants, hotels, bars, and sightseeing locations and local product sales, as well as taxes. This will also send a good word about Sri Lanka to the world resulting in attracting more freedom loving and high spending tourist.

Negatives run over positive aspects for event tourism in Sri Lanka due to the lack of knowledge people have about the industry and the lack of attention, sponsorship, and funding it gets to move forward as an industry. Not having enough facilities, infrastructure and background is another obstacle for event tourism in the country while outdated technology and lack of new technologies is also an impediment for event tourism to move forward. Not keeping up with the international community and standards and trends as required to make the best output as well as to attract more people is another obstacle the industry is facing.

The current political and economic crisis has been a disturbance for event tourism to establish and move forward in the country.