John Scanlon, Secretary General of CITES
Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) under the guidance of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs will be hosting a lecture by Mr. John E. Scanlon, Secretary General of the Convention on International Trade on Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES) on 25th January 2016 at Galle Face Hotel, Colombo.
Secretary General has arrived on the invitation of H.E. President Maithripala Sirisena to attend the destruction of Blood Ivory event at the Galle Face Green on 26th January 2016 on International Customs Day. Sri Lanka Customs in May 2012 seized a stockpile of African elephant tasks (blood ivory) which was being smuggled out from Kenya and was on its way to the international markets via the Port of Colombo. The Customs after a formal inquiry confiscated the entire shipment, pending destruction of the ivory in public as per international law. Accordingly, the event will take place at the Galle Face Green under the patronage of H.E President Maithripala Sirisena and Hon. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe with the participation of Diplomatic Corps and the public. The event is expected draw international attention and Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to showcase local perspectives on wildlife through art at this event where dozens of painters and sculptors will portray wildlife of Sri Lanka.
Having the highest Biodiversity per 10,000 square km in Asia, Sri Lanka is one of the 25 Biodiversity hot spots of the world. Whilst Sri Lanka Tourism is focused in growing wildlife related tourism, it is important to identify and avoid threats facing this industry.
The lecture hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau is seen as a valuable opportunity to highlight the importance of conserving our fauna and flora and adopting zero tolerance on illegal wildlife trade. The event will also further highlight the collaborative efforts between the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs and the Ministry of Sustainable Development & Wildlife to strengthen the country's tourism offerings in a responsible manner.
"Wildlife is an integral part of our tourism product. Sri Lanka's rich wildlife, flora and fauna must be protected to ensure the sustainability of our national tourism venture. My Ministry will spare no efforts in ensuring the protection of our wildlife through sustainable tourism. The event at Galle Face sends a clear message to the rest of the world about Sri Lanka's zero tolerance of the ivory trade," said Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, Hon. John Amaratunga. "We are thankful to the Secretary General of CITES Mr. John Scanlon who has agreed to conduct a lecture on wildlife based tourism, which will help draw global attention to our sustainable practices."