President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts among all the BIMSTEC countries to develop the BIMSTEC region into a thriving tourism hub transcending national borders.

“Let’s make Biryani the signature dish for our region. People who want to come and taste it will have enough Biryani restaurants around the world. Why don’t we have Michelin-starred chefs specialising in Biryani? the President asked.

We are bigger than the Caribbean. Look at the potential. If people from East Asia, India, Southeast Asia, West Asia, and Africa come together, why travel all that way? Look at how we can develop and showcase places in Sri Lanka. Look at Mahabalipuram. See Odisha. These are the places Europeans and others must see.

The President was speaking during the Transcending Borders: Transforming Lives programme organised by the Indian Tourism Federation at the Bandaranaike International Memorial Conference Hall in Colombo yesterday (6).

He expressed his belief that the tourism industry would significantly contribute to the country’s foreign exchange earnings in the coming decade.

The President highlighted that comprehensive plans had already been formulated to enhance Sri Lanka’s appeal as a tourist destination and stressed that promoting tourism could lead to an increase in per capita income.