MDF focuses in Sri Lanka on Tourism and Related Sectors. Tourism is one of Sri Lanka’s fastest-growing sectors and job creators, and is pivotal to economic transformation. The continued success and growth of tourism and its related sectors – and export-led growth more generally – is dependent on business investment and innovation in four thematic areas, or Strategic Engagement Areas. This investment and innovation not only improve the tourism experience and international perceptions of Sri Lanka, but also create more inclusive and diversified economic growth – increasing resilience to external shocks such as fluctuations in prices of natural resources, fluctuations in currency, change of governments and global economic developments. The four Strategic Engagement Areas are:
Supporting the diversification of Sri Lanka’s tourism destinations, products and services: Expanding tourism to new destinations helps make Sri Lanka a more diverse and attractive destination. MDF is supporting tourism product development, promotion, better access to locally made products and increased connectivity to community/experiential tourism providers.
Stimulating entrepreneurship in former conflict-affected areas: Supporting, establishing and promoting growth of business and entrepreneurship in lagging regions – particularly those affected by the civil war.
Improving Sri Lankan products and produce for export and tourism markets: Supporting the growth of high-quality products (such as horticulture and aquaculture products) to drive export revenue – reinforcing perceptions of Sri Lanka as a dynamic destination with a rich heritage and good quality products and services. MDF is working to create better information flows to farmers, improve backward linkages to give companies better market access and reduce post-harvest losses.
Innovation in digital services: Targeting niche opportunities, including promotion, product development and access to better HR skills, and fostering a more conducive business environment for international visitors and customers such as exporters. Consumers and businesses require a range of information-based products that can be provided by the local ICT industry.
Tourism and Related Sectors is an ideal platform for MDF to engage the Sri Lankan economy and drive socially inclusive growth, investment, innovation and reform. In addition to growing tourist numbers, the sectors have the ability to reach beneficiaries across the nation. They also have synergies with other key drivers of future economic growth such as agricultural exports and ICT, and potential for job creation. Tourism and its related sectors are in a central, pivotal space to promote increased income opportunities for both women and men across the country in a sustainable manner.