Sri Lanka Tourism gathers momentum at key Italian travel fair

BIT stand opening 


The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau championed 18 top company representatives in the travel and hotel sectors operating in the Italian market to showcase Sri Lanka Tourism at the BIT International Tourism Exchange held from 12 to 14 February at Fiera Millano, Italy.

BIT (Borsa Internationale Tourisme) is the largest exhibition in the world of the Italian tourist products and contains acomprehensive collection of the best international tourism products from over 120 countries with high recognition as an important meeting point of experts on tourism as well as on tourism service industries.

Customer interaction 

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala commented: “We are targeting revving up up visitor arrivals from 22,000 to 27,000 visitors from Italy in 2015 and the business model of taking part at BIT was only one of the initiatives. We will support it with a visiting journalist program and trade facilitation partnerships whilst also trying out new communication tools like film-based marketing to achieve the said targets.”
In the 2015 edition, diverse tourism products of Sri Lanka were showcased at Sri Lanka stand, giving much emphasis on tourism attractions to create a high level ofconsumer awareness of Sri Lanka to be a preffered destination among potential travellers.
A press conference was held parallel to the fair, with the participation of more than 40 leading Italian media personnel from print and electronic segments and the the participation of the Sri Lankan contingent which was a first in many years according to one veteran of the tourist industry.

Sri Lanka stand 

Sri Lanka Tourism presented a full review of the country’s tourism attractions and its high potential to cater to Italian travellers at the press confrence, highlighting the changing political landscape and increased private sector-led policymaking.
The Italian market is one of the most important tourism generating markets to Sri Lanka in the Western European region with nearly 22,000 tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka annually and this year the target is 27,000.
Since BIT is considered an important tourism promotional event, Sri Lanka Tourism has been participating at BIT regularly to create awareness and interest among the consumers and the trade. One noteworthy change this year was that the Chairman and Sri Lanka Tourism BIT Team Lead Shirani Herath met the participants before the event in Sri Lanka, to emphasise on the finer views on how to improve the impact of Sri Lanka tourism in the market, said a senior participant who has been attending the event annually.

Media registration at BIT 

The bureau is currently evaluating the event with quantitative and qualitative feedback from industry participants and what is unique is that 100% of the participants confirm participation next year, which gives a snapshot of the business success not only on lead generation but some converting to real customer sales, commented Herath.
Sri Lanka Tourism aims to achieve 23% growth in the Italian market in 2015. By participating in the BIT Fair, SLTPB was able to gather all travel industry stakeholders to drive towards one direction in achieving this goal, towards Sri Lanka becoming known as the ‘Island with a thousand treasures’.

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