Archive for the ‘Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions’ Category

Sri Lanka Tourism taps high-end luxury French travellers

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau ventured into the world’s most prestigious global travel event International Luxury Travel Mart (ILTM) Travel and Tourism Fair that took place from 4-7 December in Cannes, France. The main intention of participating at this luxury travel fair was to showcase upmarket tourism products of the destination to high potential travel trade buyers from around the world.

ILTM introduces global travel buyers to an unrivalled collection of international brands with a diversified portfolio of 60,000 pre-scheduled business meetings and product segments exceeding 30 different travel sectors with over 100 countries participating showcasing their international luxury product brands. After a lapse of more than a decade, Sri Lanka was presented at this prestigious travel show this year with a grand entry featuring up-market luxury hotel properties, boutiques and luxury service categories.

Sri Lanka pavilion at the ILTM was ceremoniously declared open lighting the traditional oil lamp with the participation of the all travel trade representatives and Sarangi Thilakasena, Assistant Director Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, along with the ILTM show organiser for Europe and Asia, David Todd. The show organisers welcomed Sri Lanka to the event with a high note, commending the decision taken to participate at the show. On behalf of Sri Lankan participants, Chandra Wickramasinghe of Theme Resorts and Spas highlighted that it is a wise and timely move of Sri Lanka Tourism to take part at the ILTM travel Fair which will contribute immensely to position Sri Lanka as a luxury travel destination among the highly recognised tourism portfolio of ILTM.

Sri Lanka Pavilion at ILTM Travel Fair was designed to reflect the prestige and the attractiveness of the destination with added touch of luxury across all elements of the stall. Much prominence had been given to highlight the participants providing dedicated clusters for each and every company with individual back-lit panel featuring their properties. Each participant was provided with wifi facility and a tablet PC along with branded promotional material for their use at the business meetings. A wide screen video wall had been setup at the centre of the stand with promotional videos running continuously to give a live feeling of Sri Lanka. Ceylon tea boutique served freshly brewed Ceylon Tea throughout the ILTM Fair for all visitors, which was on high demand during the fair. Accordingly, this year Sri Lanka Tourism stall was specifically designed to showcase promotional themes as well as to highlight the rich luxury travel experience Sri Lanka has to offer to the avid French travellers.

During the ILTM travel fair, Sri Lanka Tourism was able to meet up with luxury travel media including leading travel magazines, journalists, online travel sites, luxury travel guide publishers and even high-tech mobile luxury travel application developers, bloggers, etc. The successful discussions had with these publications and online publicity options has opened up a new publicity frontier in the luxury travel segment for Sri Lanka Tourism in the future to ensure high level of exposure in the target travel segments.

With the intention of further expanding on the luxury product marketing segment in southern France, Sri Lanka Tourism representative met with the Government Tourism Promotion Authority of Republic of Monaco to obtain their support to conduct an exclusive promotional event in Monte Carlo in the upcoming year. Further, two productive meetings were conducted with the most famous fashion magazines in France ‘Figaro’ and ‘Madame Figaro’ to carry out an exclusive Sri Lanka publicity in the upcoming months targeted to their luxury fashion and lifestyle clientele.

Sri Lanka Tourism hopes to amplify the promotions targeted for luxury travel segment by spring-boarding on the success of the ILTM travel fair which has created immense business potential for Sri Lankan up market product segments. The long-term vision of this strategic direction is to ensure high revenue generation segments are tapped by the country’s tourism stakeholders especially within the European region. Over all, ILTM travel fair in Cannes, France has concluded with a high note, creating the platform for ensuring high potential for growth lying ahead for Sri Lanka’s luxury travel segment in the European region in particular.

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Sri Lanka’s participation at Winter Festival draws attention as excellent family destination

Sri Lanka Tourism was able to show its potential as an ideal destination for family trips with its unique sources of entertainment, authentic cuisine and cultural diversity for the Middle Eastern region at the Winter Festival Consumer promotion in Media City Amphitheatre, Dubai, which concluded on 9 December.

Dubai Winter Festival is run by Turret Media. A multi award winning company, Turret Media has conceptualised, developed and launched some of the most successful live events in the world and is a leading publisher in several market sectors in the Middle East.

The festival is a popular consumer event held annually in the month of December targeting the large expat community living in Dubai. Over 30,000 families with their children patronised festival. Sri Lanka was the co-stage sponsor of this popular festival. Amidst the Christmas spirit, Sri Lanka Tourism had the opportunity to showcase an eye catching stand with a wildlife theme enabling families to have a unique photo opportunity and to win airline tickets and holiday packages to Sri Lanka. Winners were selected by way of a raffle draw, where photos/selfies   taken in the Sri Lankan stand were shared on Instagram using a “hashtag” created to promote Sri Lanka during the event.

Dubai is relatively a liberal society compared to some of its neighbouring cities and therefore has attracted many global expatriates, including people from western nations. Native Emiratis are outnumbered in their own country by a ratio of nine to one. The consumer event was a great opportunity for Sri Lanka to create awareness of the destination to a large expatriate community living in Dubai.

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Sri Lanka Tourism concludes successful roadshows and food and cultural event in Australia

With a growing focus on the Australian market, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) concluded a series of events that kept Australia interested an entire week, which commenced from 20 November.

It proved to be a series of successful roadshows held in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, attracting a large number of visitors in each city along with a Food & Cultural Event which was held in Sydney, Darling Harbour.

Australia is famous for having one of the highest expenditures on travel per capita globally and is only just beginning to realise the potential of Sri Lanka as a tourism hotspot. This brings with it tremendous opportunity for Sri Lanka’s tourism economy.

Perth roadshow

Beginning in the Western Australia capital of Perth the first of the travel trade roadshows went off with a bang which started on Monday, 20 November, at Novotel Hotel.  Over 100 members from the travel industry, including representatives from Australian travel agents and wholesalers met with Sri Lankan hoteliers, tour operators and tourism officials for a series of B2B meetings.

Addressing the delegation, SLTPB’s Director of Marketing Madubhani Perera said that Australia has delivered an 8% increase arrivals to Sri Lanka for the year ending October 2017. The roadshows in Australia is just one of the strategies that SLTPB is leveraging to increase awareness in Australia.

Well-known journalist and deputy editor of Travel Talk Magazine, Jessica Zoiti said, “I’ve catapulted Sri Lanka to the top of my bucket list of places to visit.”

The event, held at the Novotel hotel in Perth’s central business district, also featured a key note address from Rosh Jalagge, Honorary Consul General for Sri Lanka in Perth, where he emphasised the importance of tapping the Australian market.

Guests were treated to dinner after two hours’ worth of intensive B2B meetings between Australian and Sri Lankan travel industry partners and some lucky Australian participants even won a range of fully hosted fact-finding trips to Sri Lanka.

Travel agents from Sri Lanka were able to connect with their Australian counterparts and share and strengthen their industrial ties, also building new connections.

Melbourne roadshow 

The Melbourne roadshow was held on 23 November with the presence of W.G.S. Prasanna, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Melbourne.  Andrew Fairly, former Vice Chair of Tourism Australia, graced the occasion and expressed his views on Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and the support that the Australian Government will extend towards Sri Lanka.

The event attracted more than 150 members from the travel industry, including representatives from Australian travel agents and wholesalers who met with Sri Lankan hoteliers, tour operators and tourism officials for a series of B2B meetings.

A positive response has been forthcoming with key Sri Lankan travel professionals such as Pledge Holidays Managing Director Eshan Pathirana heralding its success.

Golden Isle’s Managing Director Paddy Paul said, “We are targeting high end agents for tours and FIT. There is a market here in Australia. I was here last year and Sri Lanka has been marketed quite well. There is potential.”

The event was held at the auspicious Hotel Windsor in Melbourne and attracted a range of Australia’s major travel companies and attendees who were treated to sumptuous Sri Lankan cuisine.

The keynote presentation on the destination was delivered by SLTPB’s Marketing Director, enlightening the Australian travel trade on Sri Lanka tourism product.

A raffle draw was held to win flights sponsored by Srilankan airlines and Singapore Airlines along with packages offered by Sri Lankan travel trade to visit Sri Lanka.

The Australian travel community flocked to the event in large numbers as interest from consumers continues to grow with one eminent travel agent, Joanna Koffman from Helloworld Toorak commenting, “I just got my first booking for Sri Lanka in January 2018.  That›s why I›m here tonight, to ascertain the level of product.”

Sydney roadshow

The Sydney roadshow was held on 27 November and attracted nearly 170 travel agents, media, wholesalers and television celebrities to the glamorous Hyatt Regency in Sydney. Lal Wickrematunge, Consul General for Sri Lanka in Sydney, delivered the welcome speech on the occasion.

Travel agents also won a wealth of travel stays in Sri Lanka along with flights courtesy of Sri Lankan Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

The event, which attracted a range of Australia’s major travel companies such as Flight Centre, Helloworld, Travel Managers and more offered attendees the chance to sample sumptuous Sri Lankan cuisine, as well as learn more about the destination with a keynote presentation from SLTPB’s Perera.

Commenting on the event, Perera mentioned: “Australia is now a very important market for us. We will be targeting more marketing activity at the nation, which has one of the highest rates of expenditure per capita on travel in the world.”

“The has been significant growth in the number of Australian travellers arriving in Sri Lanka, we are working hard to ensure that this rapid growth continues for years to come and we are investing in order to make sure this happens.”

Australian travel agents and wholesalers met with Sri Lankan hoteliers, tour operators and tourism officials for a series of B2B meetings.

Food and cultural festival 

The food and cultural festival, which ran between Saturday 25 November and Sunday 26 November in Sydney, attracted more than 10,000 of the travelling public over the two-day festival.

Occupying one of Sydney’s most famous Darling Harbour, the outdoor event which was free to attend, showcased srilankan food, tea, handicrafts, gems and jewellery, batik clothing and painting from Sri Lanka.

During the event there was a variety of entertainment such as different competitions, raffle draws, cultural performances were on stage to keep the crowd entertained throughout the whole event.

The opening ceremony of the consumer event was graced by Members of Parliament of New South Wales, including Dr. Hugh McDermott, Kevin Conolly, and Damien Tudehope. Wickrematunge delivered the welcome speech.

Srilankan travel companies were also in attendance at the event that was designed to showcase Sri Lanka as a top destination for Australian travellers to visit, and were serving the inquiries made by the public.

Asia’s most exciting destination

The event was a culmination of work between the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and the Sri Lankan Consulate in Sydney and continues both organisations’ focus on Australia as a key market for growth in tourism numbers.

At this event, Sri Lanka was showcased as Asia’s most exciting destination.

The event was presented by famous television presenter, David Whitehill who works on Australia’s leading travel show, Getaway, on channel 9.  Meanwhile in attendance was Hugh Riminton, one of Australia’s foremost news reporters from Channel 10, who was born in Sri Lanka and came to the event to network with attendees and encourage them to visit the destination.

Guests were also treated to Sri Lankan dance performances from the Chandana Wickramasinghe Dancers Guild which was flown in from Sri Lanka to perform a mix of fusion and traditional dance that delighted the crowds.

Nancy Hromin of Bondi Beach, a local, commented: “The performers and the food have been incredible. I knew very little about Sri Lanka other than the conflict, but I visited the festival because some of my friends rave about the food. Now I know it’s a place I must travel to this year.”

Continuing further, Hromin said, “I’ve talked to some travel companies and I will be heading over there for a family holiday in March. I can’t wait to see the leopards and tea plantations.”

The events which took place showcased Sri Lanka Tourism’s effort in attracting the Australian market and enabling more high spending Australian tourists to visit the island nation to have the perfect holiday of their choice, and have a different experience. Adding to these efforts, the recent Virtuoso Luxe report of Australia has revealed Sri Lanka among the first five most popular global destinations for the Australian traveller to visit in 2018.

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CCEM appoints special committee to develop digital marketing campaign for tourism industry

The responsibility of coming up with a digital marketing campaign for the country’s tourism industry has been entrusted with a special committee appointed by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Management (CCEM) chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Mirror Business learns.

The committee consists of Secretary to the Tourism Development Ministry Esala Weerakoon, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Udaya Nanayakkara, National Agency for the Public Private Partnerships Chairman Thilan Wijesinghe, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Kavan Ratnayaka (SLTDA), Dilmah founder Merrill J. Fernando and top businessman Dhammika Perera.

The committee’s proposal in this regard will be submitted to the cabinet of ministers for approval. The move, despite the existence of a specific promotional arm (SLTPB) within the tourism apparatus, was to expedite the process and increase the number of tourists visiting the country.

Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka in the first 11 months, which grew only by 2.5 percent year-on-year to 1.87 million, were affected by the partial closure of the country’s main airport, the dengue outbreak and flooding. Over the last several years, Sri Lanka has been talking about a fully –fledged destination marketing campaign to lure in more tourists using both traditional and web-based media.

However, change of governments, procurement scandals and bureaucratic red tape delayed such a campaign being launched.

“Despite the floods, the dengue situation and the airport closure, we could have attracted a higher number of tourists this year had a proper destination marketing campaign, at least digital, was in place,” a tourism industry stakeholder who requested anonymity told Mirror Business.

He is among many tourism industry stakeholders to call for the perpetually delayed marketing campaigns to be implemented, since over Rs.2 billion had been accumulated from hoteliers and travel agencies through the Tourism Development Levy as well as through the Departure Tax for the purpose of promoting the country.

The government had as recently as this October, hoped to kick off the digital marketing campaign and a more traditional global advertising campaign through television by January 2018. Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga last week told Mirror Business that the latter was still a possibility despite delays with regards to the digital campaign.

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Colombo Christmas Fest and Christmas Street to transform city into ‘Tourism Wonderland’


By Shannon Jayawardena

With the festive season just around the corner, the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, together with many stakeholders, are working to transform Colombo into a ‘Tourism Wonderland’ from 20-22 December this year.

The Colombo Christmas Fest, being held for the third consecutive year, hopes to capture the eye of both local and foreign tourists and aims to transform Colombo into a tourism hub this Christmas season. Last December the fest displayed a variety of goods from Sri Lankan cuisine, handicrafts and shopping to music, dance and entertainment. This year’s event however is targeted to be much bigger and better, said the organising committee at the press briefing.

Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga said: “The objective of these events which are coming up during the Christmas period is to create an event for the Sri Lankan people. If you look around the world, in most parts there are so many festivities during this period so Sri Lanka is fast coming in line with those countries as well. The second objective is for foreigners, for the tourists who come to the country looking for events such as these during the holidays.”

“We have the cooperation of the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development and therefore together we can have a very successful program. Last year we had one which was a real success and with last year’s experience this year will be held on a grander scale. Hence everyone who visits Sri Lanka will have an enjoyable season,” he added.

Adding to this year’s celebrations, the Christmas fest will offer a wide range of international cuisines such as Mongolian, Arabic, Chinese, Malaysian, Thai, Korean, Italian, Indian, Japanese and Indonesian food alongside with food and beverage stalls from leading hotels and restaurants in Colombo. Live demonstrations of some of these cuisines will be given to visitors to provide a lively and exciting experience that will acknowledge the culinary aspects of Sri Lanka.

Highlighting Ceylon tea, which is a key feature of the country, the Sri Lanka Tea Board will be featuring a tea tasting centre with a huge spread of the different varieties of tea that the country offers and is well-known for.

In addition, this year’s Christmas Fest will be held at the Arcade Independence Square from 6.00 pm to 12.00 midnight, together with a zone by Sri Lanka Rupavahini, which is the main sponsor of the event. The zone will feature several novel attractions that have not yet been offered in Sri Lanka such as the ‘Snow City’ and performances by Naadro and Sri Lankan bands from Germany.

A fireworks display will be held on the first day of the event, along with Christmas choirs by the world-renowned Alston Koch, Voice Print and the Old Joes Choir, music performances by Flame, Heat and Black and a variety of cultural shows by the security forces. Fifteen stalls of five star hotels and 30 trade stalls representing the SME and handicraft sector will also be present at the event.

Furthermore, a special double decker shuttle bus service organised by the ‘Colombo City Tour’ will be available from selected Colombo Hotels during the days of the celebrations to and from the venue with live carols onboard.

Along with the Colombo Christmas Fest, the Colombo Christmas Street will be held in an exquisite manner from 21-23 December from 2.00 pm to 11.00 pm at Green Path, promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination during the upcoming festive season.

Parallel to the Christmas Fest, the event will offer 30 popup street food stalls, trade stalls, street fashion shows, a kiddies play area, Christmas carols, music and entertainment. While half a million visitors were present during last year’s event, the organising committee expects a much larger crowd this year.

Source :–Tourism-Wonderland-/8-644676


Honours for MICE tourism at IBTM Barcelona

  • Sri Lanka attracts more meetings business

Sri Lanka has shown increasing appeal to the MICE business over the past three years and is working on raising its profile further. Around 10% of the visitors to the island represent the meeting segment out of a total of more than two million in 2016.

Sri Lanka’s strategy is to focus on infrastructure, product and attraction development, and investments; hence the destination’s increasing number of conference facilities. Shangri-La Hotel Colombo is the latest addition to Sri Lanka’s meeting infrastructure and has the largest pillar-less ballroom in the region, with a capacity of 2,500 (theatre) backed by a second ballroom (504) and 4 smaller spaces. Outdoor dining is available for up to 420 guests. Shangri-La also opened a resort last year in the south of the island, with a 180-hole golf course in 145 acres of land.

It is also raising awareness in Europe with a view to attracting more business. During a visit to Spain last year, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga successfully invited the Spanish Travel Agents Association (CEAV) to hold its 2018 convention in Sri Lanka. As a result, president CEAV Rafael Gallego and Manager CEAV Mercedes Tejero will visit Sri Lanka to finalise arrangements for the convention. Around 100 tourism professionals are expected to attend, forging stronger links with Spanish travel agents, promoting Sri Lanka as an important destination from Spain.

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State Dance Ensemble enthralls crowds at Sri Lanka Festival 2017 in Canberra

Vibrantly colourful and authentic portrayal of traditional Sri Lankan dance and drumming by the State Dance Ensemble led by its Artistic Director and renowned choreographer, dancer and drummer Ravibandhu Vidyapathy, enthralled all present at the Sri Lanka Festival 2017 on Saturday 25 November in Canberra. They performed several items throughout the day starting with Namaskara Gaatha and Saraswathie Pooja and going on to low country, and Kandyan dancing traditions, with the grand finale of Bheri Vrunda or Drum Orchestra, that resonated throughout the grounds.

Chair of the Australia Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group in the Australian Parliament, Scott Buchholz and Minister for Multicultural Affairs of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Rachel Stephen Smith graced the occasion as Guests of Honour. The latter was representing the Chief Minister of the ACT. Also present as Special Invitees were the Secretary to the Ministry of Cultural Affairs Dewasirige Swarnapala, ACT Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs Elizabeth Kikkert, First Assistant Secretary for South and West Asia Division of the Department of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Kathy Klugman, Director, Multicultural Office of the ACT Azra Khna, and Assistant Commissioner and National Manager Protection Operations of ACT Policing, Commander John Bourke. Presidents of all Sri Lanka Associations in Canberra represented the diverse Sri Lankan community at the Opening Ceremony.

High Commissioner Skandakumar welcomed the invitees and said 2017 has been a very special year for Sri Lanka-Australia relations due to the number of reciprocal high level visits and special commemorative events that were held. Kathy Klugman from the DFAT who is a former High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, echoed the High Commissioner’s sentiments and applauded the presence of Ravibandhu Vidyapathy, as the pre-eminent expert on traditional Sri Lankan dancing and drumming in Sri Lanka.

Federal Member Scott Buchholz paid tribute to his predecessor in the Sri Lanka Australia Parliamentary Group the late Don Randall, for his contribution to strengthening relations between the two countries and Parliaments and announced that he will be going to Sri Lanka in April 2018 with a Parliamentary delegation. ACT Multicultural Affairs Minister paid tribute to the Sri Lankan community in Canberra for their participation and contribution to the cultural diversity of the Canberra community.

Large crowds braved the hot temperatures to savour the Sri Lankan tea and culinary delights on offer, as well as handlooms, burnt wood art and porcelain. The High Commission organised a Tea Counter and a Tourism stall to promote Sri Lanka while Sri Lankan Associations offered hoppers, thosai, vadei, fresh juice, rice and curry and kottu. Family members of the High Commission staff organised a food stall and the proceeds will be donated to the Government supported charity project ‘Little Hearts’ to construct a cardiac unit at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital in Sri Lanka.  The Festival was organised by Sri Lanka’s High Commission to Australia for the second consecutive year. In recognition of the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries this year, the Cultural Affairs Ministry sponsored the national Dance Ensemble to perform at the Festival. Other sponsors included the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Sri Lanka Tea Board, SriLankan Airlines, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, University of Canberra, Hony Consul for Western Australia and the Sinhala Cultural Association of Canberra. The Consulates Offices in Melbourne and Sydney, as well as the Hony Consuls in Queensland and Southern Australia also assisted in publicity, organising performances for the State Dance Troupe and selling raffle tickets.

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