66th TAAI Convention to boost Indian tourism to Sri Lanka, says Jyoti Mayal

Convention to be catalyst in revival of tourism
/ New Delhi
66th TAAI Convention to boost Indian tourism to Sri Lanka, says Jyoti Mayal

A tripartite agreement between SLTPB, SLAITO and TAAI was signed last week in Colombo (Photo: TAAI)

With Sri Lanka hosting the 66th Convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), tourism flow from India is expected to grow significantly, say TAAI officials. The island nation has also taken several proactive steps to boost revival of tourism from its biggest source market, they say.
Rate this post

Last week, a tripartite agreement was signed in Sri Lanka that could signal the strongest revival of international tourism in Asia as Sri Lanka prepares to host the largest B2B event since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic two years ago.

The 66th Annual Convention of the Travel Agents Association of India’s (TAAI) will see over 500 travel agents from across India as well as over 50 representatives of leading media in India gather in Sri Lanka in mid-April.

A tripartite agreement between Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and TAAI to this effect was signed last week in Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

The agreement signals a strong desire for cooperation between the travel trade and tourism industry stakeholders in both the countries to revive tourism in the region. ‘‘Post Covid-19, after a long lapse of over two years, TAAI has taken the initiative to hold its annual convention at an international destination, beautiful Sri Lanka. This convention shall not only strengthen bilateral tourism ties between the two countries but, will act as a catalyst in reviving the travel industry for both countries post the pandemic. We shall not only create opportunities to sell products of Sri Lanka as a tourism destination but also shall be promoting Incredible India to local Sri Lankan stakeholder partners,’’ Jyoti Mayal, President of TAAI, tells India Outbound.

‘‘Sri Lanka has always been a favourite tourist destination for Indians and being a neighbouring country, it is more like extension of domestic tourism. As President of TAAI, I strongly believe that we need to reconnect post Covid-19 and re-establish our strong ties with our neighbouring countries. We need to build on regional tourism & have been advocating to Ministry of Tourism to create regional passports/visa to see mutual growth not only of tourism but development of trade,’’ she adds.

SLTPB will spend around SLR 66 million on organising the event that will focus on inbound tourism to Sri Lanka, outbound to India, destination promotion, MICE, wellness, religious, wedding, sports and many more travel-related opportunities the two countries have to offer. Sri Lankan Airlines will be the official airline partner of the event.

At the signing of the agreement in Colombo, Mayal said that TAAI’s engagement with Sri Lanka will not stop after the convention, but will be a new beginning to enhance their partnership with B2B sessions, networking, and showcase new opportunities that will allow both countries to benefit from each other’s strengths.

Although India remains the biggest tourist source market, TAAI President said that the numbers Sri Lanka has recorded are insignificant compared to its large population, whilst pointing out that the tripartite agreement to promote tourism will be a ‘game-changer’.

Mayal also highlighted that wellness and wedding tourism are two key opportunities for Sri Lanka to grab on post-pandemic, as both sectors are high in demand. “India is leading the wedding tourism segment which grew from just USD 163 million to USD 700 million at present. This is a great sector that Sri Lanka should cash on, as Indian weddings expands from minimum three-days to 12-days with multiple functions. Post-pandemic, destination weddings are in high demand and I can assure that Sri Lanka is ideal for it,” she said.

On the occasion, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando said the TAAI convention was a great opportunity to reposition Sri Lanka. “We have not done enough to promote Sri Lanka to Indian tourists. We have only provided a cookie cutter product till now. Indian travellers are more sophisticated, knowledgeable, price conscious and sometimes demanding too, but it is time we give a premium tailor-made product, at a good price. Sri Lanka Tourism believes industry stakeholders will take the maximum exposure by engaging with Indian travel trade,” she added.

Fernando said that the key focus segments for promotion of Sri Lanka in India were film, water, wildlife, adventure, culture, wedding, religion, cuisine and wellness tourism.

Mayal is optimistic about the revival and says that the ground work for a major increase in tourism from India to Sri Lanka has already been prepared by Sri Lanka Tourism and that the convention would help in harvesting the fruits of this preparation. ‘‘Sri Lanka has taken many concrete steps future to build the infrastructure to attract Indian tourists. The Indian outbound tourist market represents one of the largest growing markets in the world and accounts for the largest number of arrivals to Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has a huge potential of growth of tourism & they are promoting so many aspects in tourism as adventure, sports, history, culture, cuisine, religious, beach, tea & looking at the Indian market focussing on weddings & wellness which has a huge potential. I would say Sri Lanka is much more beyond Colombo which needs to be explored & is truly value for money & breath taking experiences,’’ says Mayal.

You may also like
Rendezvous en France
With 28 Indian travel agents in attendance, Rendezvous en France 2024 breaks new ground in Toulouse
VFS Global organises roadshows to educate travel agents in India
VFS Global organises roadshows to educate travel agents in India
No respite for travel agents & tour operators in interim budget: TAAI
Maiden TIES witnesses important participation & key discussions

Leave a Reply

Get Magazine