Sri Lanka launches Ramayana Trail from Bangalore

  • Tourist arrivals cross 145,543 at HY 27.3% growth at HY 
  • Ramayana trail to target 20,000 new arrivals 

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The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, together with the private sector, last week launched the Ramayana Trail, targeting the Indian market, starting from Bangalore.
This development came against the backdrop of the statement issued by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the bilateral exchange of religious tourism between the two countries following his visit to Sri Lanka on the invitation of President Maithripala Sirisena in March 2015.
“Whilst existing product range has given Sri Lanka 145,543 visitors to Sri Lanka in the first half year at a growth of 27.3%, we want to launch new products so that we keep Sri Lanka Tourism contemporary,” said Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala.
After many meetings with the private sector, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau jointly launched the Ramayana Trail with top 26 operators in the Indian market where 19 key sites across the country from Ramboda, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Galle, Chilaw and Mannar will be showcased to be part of the Ramayana trail.
“This will see the real impact of the peace dividend among the northern and eastern provinces which will bridge the gap between different income groups. It will also link the local community,” said the Market Head for India at the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Indrajith De Silva, at the launch attended by over 100 travel agents interested in Buddhist tourism.
Since the Ramayana Trail connects the cultures of Sri Lanka and India, it makes the new product unique and historical. The overall market size for this new product in India is worth over a 100 million core customers.
Arrivals from India are estimated to touch 20,000 in the first year and then exponentially grow when traction is achieved. It’s very important to ensure that the special dietary details are looked into and this has been part of the new product development that we have been involved in, said a senior participant from the private sector.
“Sri Lanka Tourism will conduct four road shows in 2015 in selected markets starting from Bangalore together with Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry representatives in each city so that we create awareness for the new product and then induce customers to make their bookings. The private sector is upbeat about this idea given that the Indian market was getting very competitive and crowded,” said Athukorala.
“The idea of having a basket of packages like three-day, four-nights, five-night and seven-night hybrid tours will help get upper middle class Indian travellers to come over to Sri Lanka not only for religious reasons but also for engagement-driven tourism. The key thing is ROI based promotions,” said Athukorala.
The Ramayana Trail goes back to the Sanskrit epic which is closely linked to Hinduism. The Ramayanaya consist of seven chapters (kanda) where it narrates a story of Rama’s wife Seetha being captured by Ravana, the king of Lanka. People in Sri Lanka through generations believed that King Ravana ruled Sri Lanka as a very dominant and powerful king.

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Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/444745/Sri-Lanka-launches-Ramayana-Trail-from-Bangalore

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