Ernakulam: Sri Lanka Tourism continues to expand its warm bilateral and cultural ties with its Indian counterparts by venturing into a series of Road Shows in key Indian cities from 24th – 28th April 2023. The first road show will be held at Chennai (24 April), followed by Cochin (26 April) and finally at Bangalore (28 April).
Sri Lanka is witnessing a considerable increase in tourist arrivals with India leading the way and securing the number one position. The event also focuses on promoting a myriad of tourism experiences while focusing on converting potential travellers to make booking and highlight the positive message that Sri Lanka is open for Leisure, Business and MICE tourism, Times Now’s Vivek Narayan reported.
The target audience at these roadshows will be Tour Operators, Media, Key Influencers, Corporates, Trade Associations and key Tourism Industry stakeholders in India, who have the ability to take the message that Sri Lanka is not only one of the most beautiful countries with an amazing range of destinations and products, but is also safe and secure.
A delegation of over 30 Sri Lankan Travel Agencies and hotels will be participating at this event, with the delegation being led by the Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism accompanied by Mr. Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Mr. Thisum Jayasuriya, Chairman Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, Ms. Shirani Herth, Junior Manager, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and Ms. Malkanthi Welikla, Manager – Marketing, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.
Many industry stakeholders have supported this endeavour including Sri Lankan Airlines and Indigo. Each roadshow will include B2B Sessions facilitating numerous discussions followed by an Evening Networking event which will also help to improve business partnerships.
A touch of glamour will be added to these events with the participation of celebrities such as Cricket legend Sanath Jayasuriya. A dancing troupe specially flown in for this event will showcase Sri Lankan rich heritage of performing arts.
During the Roadshows, Hon. Minister of Tourism is expected to meet several high-profile Business Leaders, Tourism Stake Holders and Corporates while engaging in several media interviews with leading Indian media houses.
India has generated over 80,000 tourist arrivals to the country so far and it is expected to double these numbers by 2023. Thus, these roadshows will add more value to create a positive mindset regarding Sri Lanka and its diversity of attractions, cultural value and travel opportunities, enabling Indian tourist arrivals to the destination.
Tourist Arrivals from India
Tourists from India in January to March 2023 – 46,432
Tourists from India in 2022 – 1,23,004 with share of 17.1%
Tourists from India in 2021 – 56,268
Tourists from India in 2020 – 89,357 with share of 17.6%
Tourists from India in 2019 – 355,002 with share of 18.6%
Sri Lanka has seen an increase from tourism earnings with around 530 million U.S. dollars being received in the first three months of 2023 as compared to the $482.3 which was in the first three months of 2022.
Hon. Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism, said “Tourism in Sri Lanka over the last six months have been very interesting and promising. The last three months alone in 2023 from January to March has seen 8000 tourist arrivals a day, which is the highest since 2018″.
He further added, “Sri Lanka values the Indian outbound market and has been a key driver of arrivals into our country. Sri Lanka offers other than its rich heritage of 2500 years, a spectacular array of destinations and products such as wellness and yoga, beaches, shopping, cuisine, adventure and wildlife. The added attraction for the Indian market is the very well laid out Ramayana circuit, which is an excellent religious travel initiative. The time is perfect to experience the warm hospitality of our people!”
Mr. Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau further added “Sri Lanka offers a complete destination for families and is a yearlong destination. Sri Lanka is also meeting the travel industry here in India to further establish the country as go-to destination. We are here in India with our stakeholders’ representing hotels and resorts, destination management companies, event management companies to reach out to our travel-trade partners in India to add value to a mutually fruitful relationship.”
Mr. Thisum Jayasuriya, Chairman Sri Lanka Convention Bureau said, “Sri Lanka is a promising MICE destination for meetings, Conferences & Incentives. The proximity and good Connectivity enhances the appeal of Sri Lanka as a cost effective and attractive place for MICE .