Over 55 Sri Lankan travel and tourism companies participate at Arabian Travel Market, Dubai

01The Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which is the industry’s leading travel and tourism exhibition within the Middle Eastern and Pan Arab Regions, was held in the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, UAE, from 24 to 27 April.

Over 55 companies in the travel and tourism industry of Sri Lanka have successfully participated housing under Sri Lanka’s country pavilion at the ATM 2017, promoting Sri Lanka as a key tourist destination having the natural advantages of the highest bio diversity in Asia, backed by a strong culture, historical artefacts, exotic beaches, green environment and friendly people. Sri Lanka participated at this event for the 14th consecutive time.

The Sri Lanka Pavilion at the ATM 2017 was inaugurated on 24 April by Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Affairs of Sri Lanka John Amaratunga with ceremonial cutting of tape. This was followed by lighting of the traditional oil lamp amidst the beat of the Sri Lankan drums. The Consul General of Sri Lanka to Dubai and the Northern Emirates Charitha Yattogoda and a large number of business leaders in the tourism industry representing both UAE and Sri Lanka also participated at this event. The traditional Sri Lankan dancing performances were staged at Sri Lanka’s country pavilion attracting visitors at the exhibition towards the pavilion of Sri Lanka.

The ATM brings about 40,000 industry professionals under a single roof, making avenue for generating over $ 2.5 billion worth of business over four days. In this year, more than 2,600 exhibitors, representing over 150 countries participated at the event, providing Sri Lanka with the opportunity to promote itself as a destination with authenticity, compactness and diversity.

Sri Lanka Tourism has achieved a multitude of successes during 2016 recording the ever highest number of tourist arrivals in the history which figured over 2.0 million. This was accompanied by a tremendous growth rate of inbound arrivals of 22.1% compared with the previous year.

The Middle East region contributes over 7%-8% for the total tourist arrivals for Sri Lanka every year. UAE brings the second highest number of travellers from the GCC region to Sri Lanka. It is to be noted that 8,475 travellers visited in 2016 from the UAE as per the statistics of tourism compiled based on the nationalities of the incoming travellers to the country. However, the above number confines exclusively to the UAE citizens (Emirati) visited Sri Lanka from UAE. But the actual number of UAE residents representing over two hundred different nationalities visited Sri Lanka during the period under review was much higher as the UAE citizens are only around 15% of the total population of the UAE.

The large numbers of the other nationals living and residing in the UAE who visit Sri Lanka are counted based on their original nationality, irrespective of their country of residence, without reflecting on the actual number of the tourist arrivals in the country from the UAE. There are twelve direct flights that have been operating from Dubai to Colombo on daily basis by Sri Lankan Airline, Emirates Air Line, Fly Dubai and Air Arabia, totalling 84 direct flights between the capitals on weekly basis, which is a good indicator to show the actual number of UAE tourists visiting Sri Lanka per year.

In testimony of the growing popularity of the tourism prospects in Sri Lanka among the UAE travellers, Sri Lanka also won the ‘Best destination off the beaten track’ award at the Conde Nast Traveller Middle East Readers’ Choice Awards held in Dubai on 14 November 2016. This is one of the premier award ceremonies held in the GCC region on annual basis, during which, the top rated countries, airlines, hotels and tour operators are awarded.

The Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Dubai and Northern Emirates coordinated Sri Lanka’s participation at the ATM 2017 in association with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

Source : http://www.ft.lk/article/615576/Over-55-Sri-Lankan-travel-and-tourism-companies-participate-at-Arabian-Travel-Market–Dubai#sthash.aTsPyOPd.dpuf

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