Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) launched its first roadshow in Australia from Melbourne, on 17 May with great success. Following the first show in Melbourne two more roadshows were conducted in Brisbane and Sydney.
The roadshow in down under was designed to educate the Australian travel trade while developing strong relationships between Sri Lankan tourism providers and Australian travel agents.
The Sydney finale on Monday night attracted over 100 Australian agents, wholesalers and tour operators with particularly strong numbers from behemoth agencies Flight Centre and Helloworld in attendance, according to SLTPB.
Other companies represented included Adventure World, Excite Holidays and Qantas Holidays, along with an assortment of niche wildlife, surf, and outdoor specialists. Representatives from 11 trade and consumer media outlets were also on hand to cover the event.
Addressing the delegation, which also included representatives from 29 Sri Lankan based tourism suppliers, SLTPB Director of Marketing Madubhani Perera reiterated the importance of Australian tourism arrivals into Sri Lanka and highlighted a strong growth rate of 9% last year. First quarter arrivals suggested that the SLTPB were well on target to achieve the goal of 70,000 Australian arrivals in 2016.
“Australia is the seventh most important tourists generating market for Sri Lanka which marked a steady growth rate of 9% in 2015 and this year we target 70,000 arrivals from Australia,” Perera said.
The roadshows in Australia are just one of the strategies that SLTPB is leveraging throughout 2016 to increase awareness in the country, which looks set to see continued growth in the years ahead.
The event, held at the five-star Hilton Hotel in Sydney’s central business district, commenced with a traditional oil lamp lighting ceremony, followed by a keynote address from Consul General for Sri Lanka in Sydney Lal Raj Wickramatunge, who was joined at the head table by Assistant Director Marketing for Australia C.L. Gasnawage.
A comprehensive two-hour networking and B2B session preceded a three-course dinner, before over a dozen lucky Sydney attendees won a range of fully hosted fact finding trips to Sri Lanka as well as an assortment of Sri Lankan sapphires, courtesy of Pledge Holidays, Golden Isle, Cinnamon Air, Singapore Airlines, Air India, Bernard Tours, Airwings Tours, Hawk Travel and Lanka Sportreizen.
The Brisbane roadshow recorded the highest number of delegates eclipsing all other tourism roadshows held during the past years with 74 Australian travel agents, media and tour operators attending the event. Flight Centre, Australia’s largest outbound travel agency marked its presence boding well for arrivals to Sri Lanka. Wend Wu Tours and Infinity Holidays, two of Australia’s foremost tour operators and many niche wildlife, surf, and nature specialists too visited the event.
The event was held at Sofitel, a five-star hotel located in Brisbane’s business district. Anton Philip Swan, honorary consul general for Sri Lanka in Brisbane made the keynote speech and also presented at the traditional oil lamp lighting ceremony.
At the Brisbane show, guests were treated with a three-course dinner and an intensive B to B session conducted nearly two hours between Australian and Sri Lankan travel industry partners. There were nine lucky Australians, who won a range of fully hosted fact finding trips to Sri Lanka gifted by Pledge Holidays, Golden Isle, Cinnamon Air, Singapore Airlines, Bernard Tours, Airwings Tours, Hawk Travel and Lanka Sportreizen.