Tourism road show events promote Sri Lanka to Benelux industry stakeholders

With ever increasing tourist arrivals from The Netherlands and Belgium, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau ( SLTPB) successfully concluded two road show events in Amsterdam and Belgium to promote the island to potential tourism industry stakeholders of both regions.

Lighting the oil lamp: SLTPB Assistant Director Marketing Shenali Gunawardane, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators President Devindre Senaratne, Ambassador for Sri Lanka in The Netherlands A.M.J. Sadiq, SLTPB Director Marketing Madubhani Perera, Tourism Sri Lanka International title winner Vera Dijkstra, Senior hotelier/connaissance de Ceylan Chairman Chandra Wickramasinghe and SLTPB Board Member Mahen KariyawasanSixteen industry members from Sri Lanka joined the bureau to meet and contract with potential agents and operators from both countries to meet the increasing demands of tourist arrivals from the region.

Sri Lanka Tourism welcomed invitees from various tour operators, travel agencies, DMCS, MICE experts and media at the NH Grand Krasnapolsky hotel in the heart of Amsterdam recently. The event had been inaugurated by lighting the traditional oil lamp amidst the sounds of ‘magul bera’ by invitees and industry members from Sri Lanka. Ambassador for Sri Lanka in The Netherlands A.M.J. Sadiq delivered the welcome speech with a brief introduction to the longstanding Dutch connections and its heritage sites still remaining in Sri Lanka for visitors to see.

A beautiful addition to the event was the presence of the title winner of Ms Tourism Sri Lanka International, Miss Netherlands herself. A very candid and bubbly person who shared her experiences of Sri Lanka from the heart with the invitees who were not only mesmerized by her beauty but a true endorsement for Sri Lanka from one of their own.

SLTPB Director Marketing Madubhani Perera in detail presented to the audience the authentic, diverse and unique tourism products, attractions and experiences available i n Sri Lanka to a traveller. She also highlighted infrastructure growth in the country to support our arrival targets, accessibility, international chains starting up operations in Sri Lanka and endorsements received by a number of top-rated travel publications for the destination.

The Netherlands has been growing since 2015 as a source market for Sri Lanka Tourism with numbers increasing at a pace of almost 50 percent for the first two months of 2016.

“Sri Lanka is excelling i n tourism however, markets such as the Dutch travellers are emerging and growing at a remarkable pace and this is the ideal time to not only promote the destination in this region but also to create a platform for Sri Lankan industry members to span out their business,” said Perera.

The road show in Brussels was held recently at Pullman Hotel with proceedings similar to that of The Netherlands followed by networking sessions with the Sri Lankan companies and the i nvitees. The event was graced by Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Belgium Rodney M. Perera, who went on to further elaborate the uniqueness of the island as a tourist destination and the importance of the Belgium market as a source market for Sri Lanka Tourism. The event was also attended by Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in Belgium Monique De Decker-deprez.

The highlight of both events was the attendance of over 60 travel industry stakeholders from each country for the business-tobusiness (B2B) meetings with the Sri Lankan operators and hoteliers held at each event. It was a complete success where a number of potential business contracts were made. Media coverage was also received by a number of media personnel who attended the events, giving Sri Lanka prominence on a number of online and offline publications.

This was t he first ti me a business forum of sorts has been organised in the Benelux region and Sri Lanka Tourism was able to create awareness, interest and promote t he destination amongst those who are able to bring in the arrival numbers. Aitken Spence, Jetwing Travels, Wa lk e r s To ur s , Vi va n t a b y Taj, Shangrila’s Hambanthota Resort & Spa, Airwing Tours, Journeyscapes Travels, Andrew Travel Company, Connaissance De Ceylan, Sunway holidays, Galle Face Hotel, Sri Lanka Ho l i d a y s . n e t , Ay ub o w a n Tr av e l s an d To ur s , La n k a Sportreizen, Ratnaloka Paradise Tours and Ceylon Tours were the Sri Lankan industry partners who joined the road show events.

Sri Lanka being an all year around tourist destination has made t he island a desirable place t o t he vast variety of tourist categories in the region. Sri Lanka has become a new discovery as a destination in both markets, mainly as it is a safe destination to visit due to the inability to travel to destinations in the Mediterranean.



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