January, 3, 2017
A Hi Street type, up market Carnival style ambiance street was created in the heart of the city having a variety of foods, trade, gifts, hampers, variety of new products and entertainment and Fun Fair, Titled as Colombo Christmas Street organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Religious Affairs together with the Colombo Municipal Council in partnership with Sri Lanka Retailers’ Association (SLRA), ended with an enormous success. This three day event opened gates to its shoppers on 22nd December 2016 and continued till Christmas Eve, at Green Path, Colombo 07.
There were over 20 pop up stalls set up in Green Path covering sectors such as retail, home decor, food & beverage, entertainment and charity sponsored by SLRA. The Sri Lanka Apparel Brands Association (SLABA) also participated in this event with seven stalls as the Associate Partner by further contributing towards this event’s tremendous success.
Several other activities such as entertainment games, street activities, differently able students’ activities,
children’s play area, social service awareness programs and a food festival were held, with entertainment sessions from 4.00pm to 11.00pm including choirs, live bands, DJ music, animators/magicians, and a street fashion show.
Just as deemed, not only a large number of crowd gathered to witness the events & entertainment arranged, but there was also a massive triumph in sale of the retailers who had their stalls put up throughout the street at Green Path. Many tourists became a part of this event to witness this novel concept.
Hon. John Amaratunge, Minister of Tourism, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health, Mr. Wijedasa Rajapakse, Minister of Justice, Dr. Harsha De Silva, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Kavinda Jayawardene, Memeber of Parliament, Mr. Asoka Pieris, Group CEO of Singer, Mr. Rohan Egodage, CEO of Commercial Credit, Mr. Arjun Fernando, CEO of DFCC, Ms. Sonu Grover, Managing Directress of Coca Cola Sri Lanka and Mr. Merrill Fernando, Founder/ Chairman of Dilmah Tea were some of the dignitaries who graced the occasion during the three days.
This project in collaboration with the Tourism Ministry is a stepping stone to SLRA for its proposal to launch Sri Lanka’s first ever Shopping Festival in September 2017, which would be similar to those held in Dubai, Malaysia and Singapore. It is with immense gratitude that SLRA expresses that the Government of Sri Lanka allocated a sum of Rs. 50 Million from its National Budget for 2017 on behalf of this project which will be titled as ‘Colombo Fair’.
The Chairman of SLRA, Mr. Hussain Sadique extended his appreciation to Hon. John Amaratunge, Minister of Tourism and Mr. Dinesh Weerakkody - Advisor to the Ministry of National Policies & Economic Affairs, for their guidance and all the support extended to make this inaugural event a success. He further said, “We hope to upgrade Colombo Christmas Street to a National level, where it will be held in most parts of the country as an annual calendar event, comprising of even more collaborative proceedings to make Sri Lanka a retail shopping destination. Our intention is to join regional and rural retailers to give leadership and take Sri Lankan retail to the next level of growth”.
SLRA together with the Ministry of Tourism sponsored the young upcoming millennium retail entrepreneurs in facilitating their growth in the retail industry, which was demonstrated through this three day event. This event paved way for even the street vendors to be part of this Christmas Street.
Left to Right: Dr. Kavinda Jayawardene, Minister of Parliament, Mr. Merrill Fernando, Founder/Chairman of Dilmah Tea, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Health, Ms. Sonu Grover, Managing Directress of Coca Cola Sri Lanka, Mr. Titus Perera, Former Mayor of Colombo