Dr Priyath Wickrama
Chairman Ports Authority

What would you like potential investors to understand about Sri Lanka?
Because of misleading information in the media, European and British investors do not know much about the opportunities here. We have a lot of investment opportunities and investors from India, Pakistan, Singapore, Australia and China, but only one investor from Europe.

How will Hambantota port complement the current port in Colombo?
It’s going to be a free port, like Singapore. We are also waiting until we get the license to import oil and then we will start bunkering at Hambantota. We will convert it into a service centre so it will provide water, crew change facilities, food and all other ship handling services as well as a large dockyard.

What are your projections for the future?
The contribution from the ports sector to the national GDP is about 10%. Our target is to reach 40%.

Prasanna Wickramasuriya
Chairman of Airports and Aviation Services

What makes Sri Lanka stand out as a hub?
The connectivity. We are geographically located in an ideal spot, especially for launching into the African continent. Our labour force is also very much better than other competing countries. We provide a shorter route, which is good for companies looking to save on costs.

What would you like people to understand about Sri Lanka?
Unfortunately, for 30-odd years we had this conflict situation. Now democracy is prevailing everywhere. I think with time the negative perceptions about our country will fade. We all have a big role to play there, not to exaggerate things but to tell the true story of what is happening. We just ask that people come here, visit the country themselves and realise how things really are here.

Kapila Chandrasena
CEO of Sri Lankan Airlines

What’s your perspective on the business so far this year, and the progress the company has made?
We are looking not so much at the economics or profitability of air transport, but more at the macro benefit that we’re bringing to the country. We carry about 60% of all the incoming travellers to Sri Lanka. We’re also developing Sri Lanka as a hub for air travel. In order to sustain this and grow these types of opportunities for the country, we may have to operate certain routes at a loss.

What is the ratio of tourism travel to business travel?
We are a leisure traveller carrier, and about 80% of our business is tourism travel. Due to the conflict, business travel makes up a lower percentage than we’d like, but going forward we want Sri Lankan Airlines to have the right percentage of its revenues from business travel. Therefore, we’re putting a lot of emphasis on the front cabin, creating the right product and the right cabin ambiance.

R.W.R. Pemasiri
Director General of Road Development Authorit

What examples would you give of the road network development in the country?
The most important project is the Asian Highway Network, which is a cooperative project among countries in Asia and Europe and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), to improve the highway systems in Asia. Agreements have been signed by 32 countries to allow the highway to cross the continent and also reach to Europe.

What specific projects could investors participate in?
We are looking for investors in the expressway network, for PPP, or build-operate-transfer. Our southern expressway will connect Hambantota to Colombo.

Lalith de Silva
CEO Mobitel

“Competition in our mobile industry is fierce with global players aggressively marketing to capture market share even at the expense of profitability. The mobile telephony market is approaching saturation and growth in voice-based products is expected to slow. Broadband is expected to drive future growth as current penetration remains low. Therefore Mobitel is undergoing significant expansion and further investments are planned. We intend to aggressively move into new businesses as well as underserved markets and to establish ourselves as a strong platform provider. This is to be complemented by innovative product and service offerings and international best practices and by offering the best customer experience and value.”