Sri Lanka makes strong bid to be ITB Berlin’s host country, woos travel agents

Tourism Minister John Amaratunge serving kiribath to one of the German  Parliamentarians attending the ITB Sri Lanka Pavilion in Germany  yesterday. Picture by Shirajiv Sirimane

Berlin: Sri Lanka will make a strong bid to be the host country in the world’s largest travel show ITB Berlin in Germany soon, Lands and Tourism Minister John Amaratunge said.

He said that Sri Lanka has been participating at the ITB since its inception but have failed to be a host country though India and Maldives have done so. “We are keen to look at this and make a bid.” The finance to host the event will not be a major issue once we get it,” the Minister said. “Being a host country will give tremendous mileage to Sri Lanka as a destination,” he said.

Meanwhile Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman, Paddy Withana said they are also looking to play the host country for the German Travel Agents annual general meeting where over 800 travel agents attend. “This will be one of the biggest MICE events in the tourism history and the destination will gain tremendous exposure.”

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador for Germany Karunatilleke Amunugama said Parliamentarians from the German government attended the opening ceremony and this is a clear indication the German government is keen on supporting not only Sri Lanka tourism but investment and other areas too. Amunugama said last year Sri Lanka attracted 133,000 German arrivals while India 250,000 and Thailand saw 740,000 German tourists. “This shows that we can achieve more and needs promotions and the ITB is a good platform to it.”

German Parliamentarian, Jurgen Kilmke said that he has visited Sri Lanka many times since the tsunami and its one of the preferred destinations of Germans.

Source : http://dailynews.lk/2017/03/09/business/109844/sri-lanka-makes-strong-bid-be-itb-berlin%E2%80%99s-host-country-woos-travel

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