Sri Lanka at 16th CIMEF China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair

Sri Lanka at 16th CIMEF China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair

China’s retail market is likely to overtake that of the USA by 2021, when it is expected to be worth USD 5.8 trillion, the biggest in the world. Sri Lanka’s participation in Chinese trade fairs is vital to capturing a larger foothold on this fast-growing market.

The Sri Lanka Export Development Board, in co-ordination with the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Guangzhou, participated in the 16th China International Small and Medium Enterprises Fair (CISMEF) from 24-27 June 2019.

Sri Lanka has participated at every annual CISMEF, since 2014, showcasing and promoting its products in China.
Inaugurated in 2004, CISMEF provides a platform to display, trade, exchange and co-operate with small and medium enterprises at home and abroad to increase understanding, and strengthen co-operation for the common development of trade between China and other countries.


Representing prominent economic sectors, including gem and jewellery, tea, spices, handicrafts and coconut products, thirty companies from Sri Lanka participated in the fair.

At the “Promotional Session for Products of Sri Lanka” organised by the CISMEF for Sri Lankan exhibitors to introduce their products to local enterprises, Sri Lankan Consul General Priyangika Dharmasena, in her speech, thanked the organisers for facilitating this segment, giving an opportunity for Sri Lankan companies to have face-to-face interactions with their Chinese counterparts, and bringing in avenues for trade partnerships.

Guangdong Small and Medium Enterprises Bureau Deputy Director General Wang Fuxiu, in her address, gave an explanation of the fair to the participants, also describing Sino-Sri Lanka trade relations.

Deputy Director of the Sri Lanka Export Development Board, D.M.P. Dissanayake and Assistant
Director of the Coconut Development Authority, V. U. Egodawattage conducted two presentations on Sri Lanka’s trade products, trade potential and coconut items.

Several Sri Lankan exhibitors explained to the local buyers the different export sectors in Sri Lanka, as well as describing their own companies. The Matchmaking session assisted the Sri Lankan companies to interact with local companies, also enabling the exhibitors to secure several buyers for their products.

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Safety is fully restored

Safety is fully restored

Sri Lanka Tourism supremo Kishu Gomes is upbeat about the industry’s prospects

Tourism is a relatively sensitive industry, more easily affected than others by the vagaries of climate and world economy. It is particularly vulnerable to acts of war and to natural disasters. So, while the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April left all industries and businesses reeling, the tourist trade was among the worst affected. Profit and job losses of unprecedented magnitude were feared. Tourist arrivals plunged in April and May. In the light of the worrying news, OSL – THE Investment Magazine spoke to Kishu Gomes, the chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), on the state of tourism in the aftermath of the attacks.

Formerly Managing Director/CEO (for 22 years) of Chevron Lubricants Lanka PLC, Gomes, who holds an MBA from the University of Leicester and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, accepted the post in order to serve the country. Brought in as a breath of private sector air into a public sector institution, he is directing Tourism Sri Lanka’s global brand-rebuilding efforts.

Before the attacks, Sri Lanka had been awarded the world’s best travel destination 2019 accolade by the publishers of the influential Lonely Planet guidebook, and Asia’s top destination 2019 by an expert panel of five of the best-renowned travel bloggers and influencers, organised by the leading Travel Lemming website. The goodwill built up might well have dissipated as a result of the attacks.

According to Gomes, the fears were worse than reality, as the market proved more resilient than expected. “We worried we might not be able to stand up in two years. We had a sharp decline during the month of May. Last May, compared to previous year’s May, was a 70% drop. We still had 30% of the tourists coming, despite it being a major calamity. But by June we were able to recover significantly. In June, we grew the industry by 70%, on a month by month basis. To share the specific numbers, in the month of May we had 1,300 tourists on a daily basis, which went up to 2,300 in June. Now that travel advisories have been softened by 14 large countries, including all the target markets other than US and Russia, we expect to keep growing these numbers and keep the momentum we had prior to the attack.”

Gomes went on to explain that SLTPB was taking many measures to attract tourists back, to overcome negative sentiment about Sri Lanka. “We are working with a global advertising agency to do a campaign covering all the target markets for 6 months. We are also running a PR campaign together with our global PR agency to further change the sentiments towards Sri Lanka to be positive. Tourism being a very competitive industry, for us to have a competitive edge, we need to continue to tell the world that Sri Lanka is a safe place now and after the incident on the 21st, we’ve had not any issue in the country.”

Word of mouth, and recommendations by visitors who have experienced the island play a large part in building the brand. So he was pleased that many of the tourists, who had visited Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the attacks, were voicing how they enjoyed their stay on social media. “Anyone who came here after the 21st found the environment to be safe. These messages get out in the world and will help us to try and recover faster than ever before. The tourists who have come here have found life to be very normal. They have enjoyed their stay. Given that prices have fallen and so many offers being presented to the world by stakeholders, there will be more and more tourists looking at Sri Lanka.”

Commenting about the security measures now in place, such as the scanners and metal detectors, Gomes said that they were important assurances of safety to tourists. “Technically, there is no threat now. But when these things are in place, it gives confidence to the tourists. They know we’re concerned about their security. I think it is a positive. Look at other countries of the world. These have been part of their life. It has now come to Sri Lanka as well. Tourists seeing that would be convinced we have taken the right measures to ensure that Sri Lanka will not have to face another attack. I think it is a big positive.”

When asked about what he had to say to potential investors in the Sri Lankan market, Gomes replied “the investors surely had serious concerns about the ability to bounce back fast. We have proven that we are a very resilient market. Safety is fully restored. The military has made a very bold statement saying no terrorist group will be able to have another co-ordinated attack in Sri Lanka. With that, there is confidence being built.”

“Tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The size of global tourism industry is 8.8 trillion dollars per annum. It grows more than 4%. With us being able to restore normality and create a safe environment, and travel advisories being lifted, in a few months’ time, we will certainly get the numbers. Apart from promotional activities I mentioned, we have an integrated marketing communication strategy that we are executing across all target markets. With that I’m positive that we will recover fast.”

In parting, Gomes had this message to the world industry. “I must tell the entire world that this is global terrorism. Where there is tourism, there is terrorism as well. To counter global terrorism, we need to stand together. All tourism destinations have to come together against global terrorism. It’s not just making Sri Lanka safe, it’s about creating the entire world and all tourism destinations safe. So my request to the entire world is to let us stand together against terrorism to make the world safe for the entire world population on this beautiful planet.”

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HealthNet Revamps Website and Enhances Customer Experience

HealthNet, Sri Lanka’s first full service e-pharmacy, has upgraded its web platform and added more services to enhance customer experience. The new website, sporting a fresh new look, and offering a host of new features, was launched at a ceremony held recently, in the presence of Professor Vajira H.W. Dissanayake, Chair of the Specialty Board in Biomedical Informatics in the University of Colombo.

“HealthNet has grown significantly, in a short period of two years,” said Deeshana Basnayake, Co-Founder/CEO, HealthNet, “to fill more than 17,000 prescriptions and serve over 6,000 satisfied customers. Throughout this period, we listened closely to our customers and identified a number of ways we could enhance our service experience. The new HealthNet process is simpler, more personal, and offers a host of incredible new features.”

Research has shown that non-adherence of long-term chronic medication, due to factors such as forgetfulness, late monthly refills, delayed doctor visits and non-availability of medicines, is a complex health care problem. Most often this type of non-adherence leads to dangerous health complications for patients suffering from non-communicable diseases. HealthNet helps customers overcome this situation by simplifying the pharmacy experience. Customers submit prescriptions online, which are then filled out by certified pharmacists and delivered within a period of 24 hours.

HealthNet began operations offering delivery services only in the Colombo region, but has now expanded its reach to cover the suburbs, including Wattala, Kottawa, Athurugiriya and Moratuwa, for prescription medication. Non-prescription and over the counter medicines are delivered island wide.

HealthNet sources all medications directly from licenced importers and authorised agents. Prescriptions are prepared by SLMC certified pharmacists and delivered using temperature-controlled transport units. Delivery is free for orders exceeding LKR 5,000, while a nominal fee of Rs. 150 is charged for deliveries within Colombo 1-15, and Rs. 250 for Colombo suburbs. HealthNet adheres to regulations and guidelines stipulated by the National Medicine Regulatory Authority – Ministry of Health.

Rangika Wijesinghe, Co-Founder/Director, HealthNet added, “Our new website is more than just a fresh new logo and layout. It also offers customers a number of new features, including automated refills, dose reminders, managing multiple patients and prescriptions under one subscription and a prescription log book to maintain records. We also provide on-call pharmacist assistance for demonstrations and support, upon request.”

HealthNet retails medications at competitive prices. Payments can be made online via a secure payment gateway or upon delivery using cash or POS card machines. Customers can also order a reduced quantity of items on a prescription if they so wish. However, this does not apply to antibiotics, as patients are required to complete the prescribed dosage.

The new website can be visited at

Healthnet can also be contacted via email on or through the hotline 0117 795 795 which is open between 6 AM and 12 midnight, seven days a week.

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