Sri Lanka stand a major draw at Vakentiebeurs 2016 Tourism Fair

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Embassy in the Netherlands, organised the Sri Lanka Stand at the Vakentiebeurs 2016 Tourism Fair in Utrecht from 12-17 January.

The event proved to be a major attraction for Dutch visitors. With over 1,400 exhibitors, the Vakentiebeurs has emerged as the most important tourism event in the Netherlands since the 1970s. This year around 122,000 visitors attended the fair, compared to 117,000 who arrived last year. The opening day of the fair was devoted exclusively for the trade, with over 18,000 national and international tour operators visiting the fair.

The Netherlands is becoming a growing source market for Sri Lanka, which registered a cumulative growth of 35.3% in arrival numbers of 32,742 last year, as compared to 24,196 in 2014. The Dutch market consists of high-end visitors, which the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the travel industry members are giving greater attention.

The opening ceremony of the Sri Lanka Stand was held on the first day of the fair and graced by the Mayor of Utrecht, Jan Van Zanen, who inaugurated the Stand by lighting the traditional oil lamp along with the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Netherlands, A.M.J. Sadiq, and representatives of Sri Lankan tour companies at the fair.

Sri Lanka has been participating at Vakantiebeurs for over a decade and this year the Sri Lankan presence was themed ‘Eight Experiences – Pristine, Essence, Heritage, Wild, Thrills, Scenic, Festive and Bliss’. The Sri Lanka Stand also featured a tea bar to introduce the world’s first ethically produced tea supplied by the Sri Lanka Tea Board to all visitors to the Stand.

Apart from showcasing Sri Lanka as an attractive tourist destination at this fair, the Sri Lanka Stand set the stage for the participating Sri Lankan tour operators to establish contacts with potential outbound Dutch tour operators, negotiate transactions and reinforce business relationships with existing tour operators handling  Sri Lanka. As this fair was open to the public, the Sri Lankan team was also able to project the diversity of attractions in the country to the large number of visitors who are the future and potential travellers to Sri Lanka.

The following nine tour operators from Sri Lanka participated in this fair, namely Airwing Tours, Andrew the Travel Company,  Ayubowan Tours,  Hawk Travels, Hotel Lanka Super Corals, Lanka  Sportreizen, Ratnaloka Paradise Tours, Sunway Holidays and Zenith Expeditions.

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