Archive for February, 2018

Sri Lanka participates in FITUR Travel Exhibition in Spain

For the second consecutive year, Sri Lanka Embassy in France and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau jointly participated at the 30th edition of the “FITUR, the International Travel Trade Fair” along with 10 private sector companies.

This travel exhibition was held from January 17 to 21, 2018 in Madrid, Spain.

As a global meeting point for tourism professionals, FITUR was inaugurated by the King of Spain, Felipe VI and Queen Letizia Ortiz. The event was graced by over 600 ministers, Ambassadors, high-level representatives from all over the world, and more than 7,000 journalists, who has provided media coverage nationally and internationally.

This year edition attracted 9,893 exhibiting companies from 165 countries/regions, 135,858 trade participants and 107,213 consumers with a record attendance in its history.

The Sri Lanka pavilion was opened by B K Athauda, Ambassador of Sri Lanka along with Harry Hwang, Deputy Director of Regional Programme for Asia and Pacific of UNWTO, Agustin Llanas, Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Barcelona, Sarangi Tilakesena, Assistant Director of SLTPB and diplomatic officials of the Embassy and other distinguished guests.

Sri Lankan traditional dancing performances and the Ceylon Tea counter at the Sri Lanka Pavilion attracted a large number of visitors to the Sri Lanka pavilion.

To coincide of the event, Ambassador Athauda met with the Spanish Travel Agents Association (CEAV) in order to host the Spanish Federation of Travel Agents Congress 2018 in Sri Lanka. The CEAV principally agreed to arrange a fact finding mission to Sri Lanka in February 2018.

Furthermore, Ambassador met Xu Jing Director of Regional Programme for Asia and Pacific of UNWTO. UNWTO Director appreciated the supports extended by Sri Lanka for the success of the organization as a founding member of the UNWTO. Sri Lankan Ambassador requested the assistance of UNWTO for capacity building in the hotel industry sector of Sri Lanka in order to keep up with the demand.

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Holiday World Show 2018 in Dublin Ireland

Sri Lanka Tourism attended the Holiday World Show for consumers and trade in Dublin, Ireland for the fifth time. Ireland is a country with a population of just over 4.7million and a tremendous appetite for travel that shows no sign of declining. Since attending the holiday show in January last year, we have had a 23.9% growth in the Irish market with 9806 visitors coming to SL in 2017.

The Holiday World Show, now in their 27th year, provided a cost-effective opportunity to connect face-to-face with the trade and travel hungry consumers to promote our travel and tourism products to consumers across Ireland. This is the only show in Ireland where one can meet more than 500 travel professionals from 50 countries. Visitors had the opportunity to experience the locations that were on offer and have first hand advice from the travel professionals.

The exhibition was attended by over 750 travel and tourism professionals, representing more than 50 different countries/tourist boards. During this year’s Holiday Show, 41,433 visitors including trade and public attended and 584 exhibitors also participated. During the show, SLTPB managed to disseminate a large number of Sri Lanka themed/specific brochures and fact sheets.

During the three-day show, SLTPB managed to have meetings with large numbers of trade partners as well. Goody bags containing Sri Lankan gifts were presented to few leading Irish tour operators for their efforts. Among them were Go Hop, Insight Vacations and GTI Travel Specialists.

Meetings were held with the following journalists in view of arranging individual trips or a media FAM to get the maximum publicity for the destination in the Irish market. Discussions were held with Four Monkeys Media broadcaster and writer David Gordon, RTE TV Channel Producer Rebecca Brady, Bride and Vow Mag Julian Bolger, Sunday Independent Associate Editor Shauna McCrudden, Irish Times freelance journalist Jamie Ball, Travel Talk travel writer Isobel Conway, The Novel Traveller freelance journalist Michelle Johnson, Various Publications freelance journalist Conor Power.

On the opening day, Nalin Perera from SLTPB represented Sri Lanka at the opening ceremony of the Holiday World Show. The chief guest at the opening was Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland Shane Ross TD and Irish Travel Agents Association President Cormac Meehan.

After the opening ceremony, as a result of the request made by the UK office, SLTPB organised a meeting with the VIP’s to brief them on the progress of Sri Lankan tourism in the Irish market and their vision for the future. The Minister was very pleased with the 23.9% growth that we have achieved and requested us to assist them to bring visitors from Sri Lanka to Ireland. Two very special Sri Lankan gifts were presented by Nalin Perera to Minister of Transport, Tourism and Sport in Ireland Shane Ross TD and to Business Exhibitions Ltd Sales Director Maureen Ledwith, which was the company behind the Holiday World exhibition with the presence of the Irish Travel Agents Association President Cormac Meehan.

Sunday Independent is the most popular newspaper in Ireland with the highest circulation. Mary O’Sullivan is the Travel Editor at Sunday Independent who has been to Sri Lanka on a FAM and over the last few years, we have had journalists from the newspaper visiting the destination. As such, after the recent trip in November 2017 by Marsterson, an extra feature was published in the show guide on Sri Lanka which extended extra publicity for the destination.

Eoghan Corry is an international award winning Irish journalist and Editor of Travel Extra, who is regarded as the most extensively journeyed travel writer in Ireland; he visited SL in 2015 with the journalist FAM. Free travel and tourism seminars titled  ‘Let’s talk Travel” were conducted by him at the show. In one of his seminars, he highlighted Sri Lanka as one of the best destinations to travel in 2018. In recognition of his efforts in promoting the destination in the Irish market, a special Sri Lankan gift was presented to him.

This year, Trail Finders highlighted Sri Lanka very prominently. Their competition at the show was a holiday to Sri Lanka and a very special offer package was promoted through their large screen at the show. Few other tour operators also had special offers to Sri Lanka which were highlighted very prominently at the show through various leaflets.

The leading economists in Ireland have confirmed that the Irish economy is booming again with the unemployment rate expected to dip below 5.5% this year and GDP forecast to grow by around 4%.

The Irish outbound travel market is one of the strongest in Europe. Increased purchasing power and the rising standards of living have resulted in a sharp increase in travel abroad and a growth in tourist expenditure. Geographical proximity and the strong ethnic ties have made the UK, Spanish Islands and the Mediterranean as the main elements of growth. But now Irish travellers and consumers have started looking further afield for their travels and adventures and have focused on areas such as the Far East and the Indian Ocean.

According to the Central Statistics Office in Ireland, there was an increase of 7.2% in the number of overseas trips made by the Irish residents to other countries in 2017 to 7.9 million. With the arrival of the large companies into the country due to the tax incentives and with the low unemployment rate, people have disposable income to spend on holidays as in pre-recession times.

Meetings were also held with large to medium sized, very high profile operators with the view of promoting the destination and arranging a FAM. Key travel companies such as GTI Travel specialists, Travel Mood, Insight vacations Ireland, CTM Travel Management, Trail Finders, Budget travel, Club Travel, Follow the Camino, Go Hop and Sunway also participated at this fair.

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Destinations – The Holiday and Travel Show

  • Held at Event City Exhibition Centre Manchester from 17-21 January 

Sri Lanka proved that it was a destination worthwhile exploring, as Sri Lanka Tourism participated at Destinations – The Holiday and Travel Show, in association with The Times, The Sunday Times and Sunday Times Travel Magazine, in January at the Event City – Exhibition Centre in Manchester.

Sri Lanka Tourism’s attendance this year at this show enabled it to reach a large number of potential visitors to Sri Lanka. The 2018 show had 30,120 visitors which was a 6.7% increase from last year. SLTPB has participated at this show successively, as this is an established event in the tourism calendar in the UK. During the four days of the show, SLTPB managed to disseminate tourism material and wildlife leaflets and promote Sri Lanka as a safe tourism destination with magnificent diversity.

Destinations Manchester show has raised its profile as one of the must-attend events in the North of England. With the presence of a large number of leading and independent tour operators, various tourist boards from around the world, cultural entertainments, cooking demonstrations from various destinations and with the participation of well recognised travel celebrities, the show was a great platform for the consumers from the North of England to collate information and book their holidays for 2018 and beyond.

This year 98 companies exhibited, of which 21 were Tourist Boards. Majority of the exhibitors in the Indian Ocean section were promoting many countries including Sri Lanka, whilst Earth Trip and Travel the Unknown were promoting a special itinerary covering Jaffna and the Escapes to India who started promoting SL recently had a special focus on the destination.

One tour operator conducted a presentation on Sri Lanka, which was attended by Nalin Perera from Sri Lanka Tourism, to assist the operator during the Q & A session if there was a need. The experts’ theatres provided free travel advice from destination specialists. The interest from the visitors from the northern UK to travel to Sri Lanka was very encouraging whilst visitors commented on the increased popularity of the destination in the recent years. They also commented on the endorsements by the leading travel journalists and the amazing articles published recently highlighting the destination.

SLTPB also awarded a few mementos to leading travel personnel in the UK. Sri Lankan mementos were presented to Travel the Unknown Manager David McGuinness and Escapes to India MD Lynn Stewart for recently starting to promote the destination. Another goody bag was presented to Great Rail Journeys Sales Manager Abby Harrison. The company started promoting Sri Lanka in 2016.

A number of high profile travel companies such as G Adventures, Escapes to India, Great Rail Journeys, Travel the Unknown, Camping and Caravan Club, India Travel, PGL Travels Ltd, and Travel Eyes Internationals participated, in order to consider Sri Lanka in their bucket list of travel destinations. Meetings were also held with the large to medium sized, very high profile operators in the view of promoting the destination and arranging a FAM and destination training. Another factor for the extra footfall was the fact that motor and caravan shows were at the same exhibition hall and people were allowed to enter both shows on one ticket. The Manchester show has become one of the UK’s biggest and most exciting consumer events in the northern parts of the UK including areas such as Leeds, Liverpool and Newcastle.

The economy of Manchester is amongst the largest in Northern England. Manchester lies within the UK’s second most populous urban area with a population over 2.6 million. Northern Powerhouse project is a proposal to boost economic growth in the North of England by government in the United Kingdom, particularly in the “Core Cities” of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull and Newcastle. The Northern Powerhouse forms part of the government’s industrial strategy which will build upon the strong economy and help businesses up and down the country seize the opportunities presented by leaving the EU.

The Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year competition is one of the well-established leading amateur travel photography competitions in the UK. Over 8000 photographers from around the world have entered the competition this year. An entry depicting Whales in Sri Lanka has made to the finals and was very prominently displayed in the Wanderlust Travel Photo


BBC North West produces regional TV news, current affairs and sports output including the flagship nightly news programs. The channel recorded a special program covering the Destinations travel show and highlighted a few destinations. Sri Lanka was chosen as one of the destinations to promote and Nalin Perera from SLTPB was interviewed to highlight and promote the destination to showcase why Sri Lanka is so special as a destination.

Worldwide Motor Homing Holidays is operated by The Camping and Caravanning Club which is 116-years-old and is the largest and oldest Club in the world for all forms of camping. It has 106 award-winning sites throughout the UK and through a partnership with the Forestry Commission, now runs and manages a further 15 camping in the forest touring sites. The Camping and Caravanning Club launched a new escorted tour to the unique coastal plain and inland plateaus of Sri Lanka at the Motorhome and Caravan Show at the NEC Birmingham in October 2017.

Their first escorted tours will be in 2018 and at the Motor Caravan show, which was adjacent to Destination Travel show, the caravan club was very proactively promoting their special tours to SL. In their club magazine they have also published a two-page feature on Sri Lanka to highlight the destination and their latest tour. SLTPB awarded a memento to the director of the club in recognising their efforts in promoting the destination.

Monty Halls is a broadcaster, speaker, naturalist, former Royal Marine, marine biologist, travel writer and leadership specialist. His experience covers over two decades of leading teams in some of the most remote environments on earth, presenting wildlife and adventure documentaries. In 2003, Halls formed his own expedition company, completing four circumnavigations of the globe over the next four years, seeking out the greatest encounters in the ocean. This brought him to the attention of television producers, being head-hunted as a competitor in the flagship Channel 4 show ‘Superhumans’. Thereafter, Halls was in demand to present further series for Channel 4, National Geographic, the History Channel, Channel 5 and the BBC. Halls has produced a clip on SL and is currently having discussions with several UK TV channels for a commission to proceed with a production of a three-part documentary on SL. SLPTB UK will be in touch with Halls to assist him on this. In recognition of this project and for the encouragement of promoting the destination, SLTPB awarded a SL memento to Halls at the show. With the considerable choice of holiday options and the competitive offers and propositions to choose from, the visitors were inspired to learn and discover the details of a variety of destinations from the participating companies and experts.


Sri Lanka Wonder of Asia IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo concludes on a high

Sri Lanka Wonder of Asia IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo commenced at 6.15a.m. yesterday with 880 participants from 63 countries taking on the challenge. The race began with a 1.9-km swim along Galle Face, followed by a 90-km three-loop route past the Colombo Port and Marine Drive and finished with a two-loop half marathon through the Colombo Port which ended at Galle Face Green. The flat and fast course through bustling Colombo was enjoyed by both the participants and spectators, with the race concluding at 3.00 p.m.

IRONMAN 70.3 was organised by Pro Am Serendib and made possible by title sponsor the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau. The host hotel for IRONMAN 70.3 Colombo was Shangri-La Colombo, the official apparel partner was MAS, the official electronic media partner was MTV/MBC Group, the official logistics partner was HayleysAdvantis, the official insurer of the event was Ceyllinco VIP,  the official tea partner was Dilmah, the official wellness partner was Siddhalepa, the official medical partner was Asiri Health, the official car partner was Land Rover, the official travel partner was Hayleys Tours, the official print media partner was the Wijeya Group, the official food and beverage partner was Elephant House and Keells Krest, the official nutrition partner was SIS, the official outdoor media partner was Emerging Media and the official video content partner was Gravity. The official bike mechanic was Spinner and the official swimming training partner was Rainbow Swimming.

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Wycliffe Gordon in Colombo to jazz up #USASL70

Join American jazz sensation Wycliffe Gordon and the US Embassy for a celebration of 70 years of US-Sri Lankan partnership (#USASL70).
The legendary Wycliffe Gordon and his International all stars will tour Sri Lanka 24-28 February, staging performances and master classes in Colombo, Galle and Matara, bringing this truly American music genre from across the sea.
The free public performances are as follows:
February 24, 2018
12:30 – Fort Railway Station, Colombo
17:00 – Galle Face Green, Colombo
18:30 – Viharamahadevi Park, Colombo
February 26, 2018
12:30 – Dutch Hospital, opposite World Trade Center, Colombo
16:00 – Wekanda Road, Colombo 2
February 27, 2018
17:00 – Galle Fort
Wycliffe is a renowned musician, composer, conductor and arranger. He is a veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet and an original member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. The Wall Street Journal named his show ‘Jazz a la Carte’ one of the five best moments in jazz history. He is currently an Artist in Residence at Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Georgia.
Source :–USASL70/10405-649998

JAT Holdings serves Sri Lankan tennis with new world-class stadium and experience centre

Further reiterating its commitment to uplifting sports in Sri Lanka, the diversified conglomerate JAT Holdings (Pvt) Ltd recently commenced a joint-initiative with the Sri Lanka Tennis Association (SLTA). The foundation stone for the state-of-the-art ‘JAT Stadium’ at the SLTA was laid at the SLTA premises by Earl of Wessex Prince Edward and the Countess Sophie of Wessex during their official visit to Sri Lanka. Minister of Sports Dayasiri Jayasekara, JAT Holdings Managing Director Aelian Gunawardene and SLTA President Iqbal Bin Isac were also present.

Financed and developed by JAT Holdings, the complex will consist of 80,000 square feet of exhibition space located on 2 levels, for high end interior design, life style and sports products. The 5 world class indoor tennis courts on the top level will be built to international standards in order to host and facilitate players, press and spectators. Ample parking facilities, a refurbished club house, sports library, 100 pax conference facility and restaurant are also on the cards. The existing ground-level outdoor tennis courts will also be revamped and flood lighting added for night time play.

Speaking at the ceremony JAT Holdings Managing Director Gunawardene said: “JAT Holdings has had a longstanding commitment to uplifting all sports in Sri Lanka and are happy to extend this support to the game of tennis. This initiative will no doubt take Sri Lankan tennis to the next level. The design and structure have been meticulously planned out with the involvement of renowned architect Bernard Gomez and our own experts to ensure that it is truly a world-class stadium.”

Also speaking at the opening SLTA President Iqbal Bin Isac noted: “We are indeed happy to collaborate with JAT Holdings on this project and are thankful that corporate entities are now coming forward to support all sports in the country. With the right kind of sponsorship and support, tennis in Sri Lanka can also reach great heights. This is only the first step in a great journey.”

As the sole local representative of the International Tennis Federation and tennis in Sri Lanka, the SLTA has a broad based national agenda which includes improving standards through training, selection, conducting international and local tournaments and increasing spectator and public awareness of the sport. This joint venture will help ensure that these goals are met as well as provide a much needed world-class showroom space in Colombo for many leading brands. The stadium is expected to be completed by early 2020.

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Amman SL Embassy organises road-show to promote Sri Lanka tourism

The Sri Lankan Embassy in Amman, Jordan organised a road-show alongside a spellbinding public performance of an array of Sri Lankan dances, performed by 12 members of Channa-Upuli Performing Arts Foundation, headed by globally-acclaimed Sri Lankan dancing virtuoso Kalashuri Channa Wijewardena. While this public performance was made to coincide with the 70th Independence Day of Sri Lanka, this road-show was primarily aimed at promoting Sri Lanka as a unique destination for Jordanian tourists.

The awe-inspiring performances were held at TAJ Lifestyle Centre, the largest multi-purpose shopping complex in Amman, which thousands of upmarket shoppers frequent on a daily basis. Around 500 people, both young and old, flocked around the main foyer to witness this novel spectacle.

The spectacle kicked off with the Sri Lanka Ambassador to Jordan A. L. M. Lafeer lighting the traditional oil lamp and inviting on-lookers to light the lamp as well. It was a very new experience for Jordanians and they enthusiastically took part.

An introduction to Sri Lanka was given in both Arabic and English languages, along with a brief description of what Sri Lanka offers as a tourism destination.

Wijewardena had specifically choreographed the dance items so as to cater to Middle Eastern audiences, while upholding a distinct Sri Lankan touch. A large amount of promotional material was disseminated among onlookers along with Sri Lankan flags. The sounds of upcountry drums and cheers by onlookers resonated though the mall, which attracted more enthralled onlookers.

Many of the onlookers came forward to dance with the dancing troupe. Several enthusiasts approached the Embassy staff to get more information about travelling to Sri Lanka at the end of the elegant event.

The Ambassador’s wife, members of the Embassy staff, and members of the Sri Lankan community also participated. The Sri Lankan flag was seen proudly fluttering at all times during this event.

It is noteworthy to mention that the Mission organised this event single-handedly, and should there be forthcoming support from the Sri Lankan Tourist Board in the future, the mission could organise many such events of this nature that would undoubtedly benefit the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.

Source :–road-show-to-promote-Sri-Lanka-tourism/27-649907