French, British and German heads of mission visit Hambantota
French Ambassador, H E Christine Robichon, German Ambassador, H E Dr. Jürgen Morhard and British High Commissioner, H E John Rankin visited Hambantota from 12-13 February, 2013, along with representatives of their respective trade teams. The primary objective of the visit was to explore trade and investment opportunities for their respective countries.
Commenting jointly on their visit, the three Heads of Mission said:
"We were pleased to tour the Hambantota District, a hub of promising economic development in Sri Lanka. Europe is Sri Lanka’s major partners in trade and tourism. In 2012, France, Germany and the UK accounted for nearly 25% of the total number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka. We hope to see these figures increasing with the opening of the Mattala International Airport and welcoming of international flights. Sri Lankan Airlines has a long standing relationship with our countries. Its fleet is made up exclusively of Airbus planes. Airbus planes are state of the art in particular for their fuel and cost efficiency.
We look forward to this relationship growing even stronger in the future. The EU is Sri Lanka’s largest export market with over 30% of all exports in 2011 going to the EU. Exports to the EU have been increasing steadily for six consecutive years.
Over 200 European companies currently invest in Sri Lanka. The development of Hambantota into a logistics hub will open up many opportunities for companies to invest and partner with Sri Lanka. Our ties to the people of Hambantota are deep. Our three countries contributed substantially to the post tsunami reconstruction. We wish the people of Hambanotata well and hope our respective countries can be part of its success story."
The Heads of Missions’ schedule included a visit to the District Secretariat of Hambantota; the International Convention Centre; a meeting with with the Hambantota Chamber of Commerce; and visits to the Shangri-La project development site, the Hambantota sea port, the Mattala Airport.