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Qatar Airways CEO and Sri Lankan Prime Minister discuss rebuilding tourism industry hit by tsunami

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker pledged additional financial support by the airline to build more houses in a village devastated…

Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker pledged additional financial support by the airline to build more houses in a village devastated in last year`s tsunami disaster, when he held talks with the Sri Lankan Prime Minister.

During a flying visit to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo, Al Baker discussed a wide range of initiatives with the country`s PM Mr Mahinda Rajapakse.

These included a commitment by Qatar Airways to adopt the fishing village of Jambuwatte, 80km south of Colombo, by rebuilding 25 houses and a community centre damaged or destroyed in last year`s disaster. Al Baker said the Doha-based company would support the reconstruction of a further 75 houses to help the local community get back on its feet.

Earlier, Al Baker held a press conference in the city at which he spoke of how Qatar Airways staff had initiated a fund-raising drive to support the tsunami project.

During talks with the Prime Minister, he said Qatar Airways enjoyed a long-standing association with Sri Lanka and looked forward to strengthening ties.

Colombo, he said, was an historic route for the airline as Qatar Airways` first destination launched outside the Middle East in 1993 before the carrier`s relaunch.

He said Qatar Airways` double daily flights operating between the airline`s Doha hub and Colombo were performing exceptionally well and pledged to increase the number of services between both capitals over time.

Al Baker thanked Mr Rajapakse for helping forge economic and trade ties between Sri Lanka and Qatar. With tourism a key driver of Sri Lanka`s economy, he said Qatar Airways would play a big role in helping rebuild Sri Lanka`s tourism industry which was affected by last December`s disaster.

On the tsunami housing project, he briefed the Prime Minister on the sterling role played by airline staff to launch the fund-raising drive. Work began on the project, in conjunction with Habitat International – a non-government association – earlier this month with completion expected within weeks.

Photo: Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker, pictured centre, addresses a press conference in Colombo on the airline’s tsunami relief programme. He is flanked on the left by the Sri Lankan Minister of Trade and Commerce, Jeyaraj Fernando Pulle, and Qatar Airways Senior Manager Commercial South Asia, Ali Al Rais.

Vicky Karantzavelou
Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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