Japanese tourists unaware of SL tourist attractions: official

Sri Lanka’s tourism sector should build awareness about the island’s tourism attractions and also improve its tourism facilities, if the country needs to attract more Japanese tourists to the country, said Kiichiro Iwase, First Secretary of Head of Economic Cooperation section of the Embassy of Japan in Sri Lanka.

Tropical climate, attractive tourist spots, food and comfortable atmosphere are some of the key factors that attract Japanese tourists to Sri Lanka. However, Kiichiro highlighted that the high tour cost, infrastructure issues such as the long time taken to arrive at tour spots and lack of sanitary facilities and more importantly lack of awareness about Sri Lanka in Japan as a tourist destination, as the major drawbacks.

The First Secretary of the Japanese Embassy in Colombo revealed these facts when he took part in an interactive evening and a panel discussion recently, which was conducted by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) – Sri Lanka Chapter which is an affiliate to the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

The interactive evening was held under the title of ‘Tourism opportunities for Sri Lanka in the Japanese market’.

Among the other speakers were Vasantha Leelananda, Executive Vice President- JKH, Head –Leisure Inbound Sector of Walkers Tours Limited, Amal Goonetilleke, Regional Director- Sales (Sri Lanka and Maldives) Taj Hotels, Merrick Gooneratne, Executive Director of TOS Lanka Co (Pvt.) Ltd and Dharshan Munidasa, founder of Nihonbashi and Co-founder of Ministry of Crab.

The panel emphasized that Sri Lanka should focus more on promotions and implement new marketing strategies for Japan’s baby-boomer generation.

Iwase also said that the travel companies should distribute information on natural and historical wonders of Sri Lanka, improve tourists’ convenience anddevelop new fields of tourism such as MICE, Green tourism, Health tourism and Sport tourism.

The PATA Sri Lanka Chapter enables its members to conduct their various assigned responsibilities for selling travel-related products and providing servicesto visitors to the island in a more effective manner. The key aim is to promote Sri Lanka as a PATA destination, under the aegis of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce.

Membership of the Chapter consists of 63 locals, comprising travel agents, tour operators, sightseeing operators, ground/water transportation operators and hoteliers whose businesses are situated within the geographical area of Sri Lanka.

Source: http://epaper.dailymirror.lk/epaper/viewer.aspx#

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