The annual Hikkaduwa Beach Festival set to take place at the end of this month is expected to attract over 10,000 beach fanatics and party goers and provide some much needed economic stimulus to a tourist destination that has fallen on hard times.
Last year’s inaugural‘Hikka Fest’ brought in over Rs.120 million to the Hikkaduwa tourism industry and helped empower the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector in the area. At a press briefing this week, Minister of Tourism Promotion Faizer Mustapha said the purpose of the Festival is to give a helping hand to the local population by kick starting the SME sector. He added that the unprecedented crowd last year made it the largest gathering of a beach festival in Asia.
Organized by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), the total budget for the 2009 Festival is between Rs.20 million to Rs.25 million out of which less than 10% will be borne by the Ministry of Tourism, the rest through sponsorships. Mr. Mustapha said the private sector has shown confidence in the project. Managing Director of the SLTPB Dileep Mudadeniya said around 600 foreigners have purchased packages from India and the Maldives to attend the Festival.
“The main aim of the Hikkaduwa Beach Festival is to project the southern coastal strip as the entertainment strip of South Asia.” This year’s event will be held from July 30 to August 2 with a drum festival, themed parties with international DJ’s, a beach carnival and beach sports planned over the course of the four days.
The event is expected to attract a diverse demographic ranging from adults to children with special daytime activities organized for families and children. Themed entertainment nights will be one of the highlights with Space, Paradise, House Orchestra and RnB/Hip Hop/Retro being the main theme nights. It is also the first time that Space IBIZA, Paradise IBIZA and House Orchestra Paris will be on tour in Asia.
Tickets for the Hikkaduwa Beach Festival are priced at Rs. 2500 for a seasonal pass and Rs. 3500 for a VIP pass and are available through the SLTPB and other venues including the Amusement Park Street Mews, Commons and Bayleaf. For more information, visit www.hikkafest.com (NG)