With the rapid return of the country to normalcy after several months of chaos due to political unrest, Sri Lanka Tourism is now proactively promoting the country again in order to attract tourists back to the Emerald Island.
As part of its revival strategy, Sri Lanka Tourism will continue to expand its bilateral and cultural ties with its Indian counterparts by venturing into a series of roadshows in key Indian cities from September 26-30, 2022. The first road show will be held in New Delhi on September 26 followed by Mumbai on September 28 and concluding it with the Hyderabad roadshow September 30, 2022.
In an exclusive interview with India Outbound, Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau says, “The number one expectation that I and Minister Harin Fernando have is to clear the mindset of the Indian people regarding the negative publicity that we have received for the past 4-5 months of the incidents that have happened here. We want to communicate how safe Sri Lanka is and we want to tell the Indian travellers that it is the same Sri Lanka that most of you have experienced.”
“The second expectation is to revive the Sri Lankan tourism industry for the next few months because we have come up with special packages targetting families as well as culture, shopping and entertainment. We also have a gaming package for those interested in casinos since it a key segment in India and many Indians are attracted to gaming in Sri Lanka. From cultural point of view, we are targetting the Ramayana Circuit and other heritage circuits that would attract those tourists looking at experiencing the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka. So for the next 3-4 months, we will have these specific packages from which Indian travellers can benefit,” adds Gajabahu who will be part of the roadshow.
A delegation of over 50 local travel agencies and hotels will be participating at this event, with the delegation being led by Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism, accompanied by Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Thisum Jayasuriya, Chairman/Sri Lanka Conventions Bureau. Each roadshow will include B2B sessions, facilitating numerous discussions followed by an evening networking event which will also help to improve business partnerships.
According to a press release, the main purpose of hosting these roadshows is to promote Sri Lanka as an attractive tourism destination across India, as it is the largest source market for Sri Lanka and has been extremely supportive in Sri Lanka regaining lost momentum both post pandemic and the recent economic downturn.
Sri Lanka is witnessing a considerable increase in tourist arrivals with India leading the way and securing the number one position, it adds.
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. The target audience at these roadshows will be tour operators, media, key influencers, corporates and 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 but is also safe and secure; adhering to all the necessary health and safety guidelines.
The press release adds that a touch of glamour will be added to these events with the participation of celebrities such as Sanath Jayasuriya and Yohani De Silva, where dance & entertainment will be included at each event, to give the audience an amazing experience and also a glimpse of the Sri Lankan culture. The dancing troupe will be sponsored by Mastercard, and will showcase their talent along with Yohani’s musical performances.
During the roadshow, Minister of Tourism is expected to meet several high profiled business leaders, tourism stakeholders 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 mind set regarding Sri Lanka and its diversity of attractions, cultural value and travel opportunities, enabling Indian tourist arrivals to the destination.