Sri Lanka Tourism in full show at WTM-London

praneeth | 07 Nov, 2014 04:47PM | Leave a comment
World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event of Travel and Tourism Trade, kicked off from 03rd – 06th November 2014 at the Excel Exhibition Hall, London, UK, and promoting international travel throughout the world. Having foreseen the unique opportunity to promote Sri Lanka as a renowned destination in world travel, Under the guidance of Ministry of Economic Development , Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) has taken steps to participate in the event, along with 58 partners of the tourism industry. The official opening ceremony of Sri Lanka Pavilion took place on 03rd November 2014 with the participation of The Deputy High Commissioner of Sri Lanka High Commission in London, UK Ms.Chamaree Rodrigo, Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Mr. Rumy Jauffer and the industry members who represented Sri Lanka at WTM. A total number of 58 industry partners along with Sri Lanka Tourism participate at WTM this year highlighting many unique travel and hospitality products in an area of 250 sq meters. Out of the total participants, eight companies from the SME sector have been given the opportunity to participate at a reduced rate by Sri Lanka Tourism.

The Sri Lanka stall this year received much praise from all the participants and visitors for its unique and innovative design. Sri Lanka Tourism stand feature wildlife theme with local elephant family replicas at the entrance which is a unique Sri Lankan wild life attraction. A boulevard banner depicting Sri Lankan elephants and whales wasa key attraction at the entrance to the Asia Hall. The Sri Lankan stall design was prepared with the SLTPBin house design advices.

Under the guidance of the Minister of Economic Development Hon. Basil Rajapaksa , Sri Lanka Tourism industry is poised to new heights with the mega promotional campaigns launched globally while the industry of Tourism has witnessed a rapid growth in recent history. Sri Lanka has already become a most sought after travel destination among the UK tourists within the past few years. The arrival figures up to September 2014 from UK stood at 107,330 tourists while compared to the annual total of last year which was 137,416.

Sri Lanka Tourism has branded and launched 450 taxis in three of the UK’s biggest cities: Manchester, Birmingham and London recently. The first fleets of 300 taxis of this campaign were launched on 04th August in London. ‘Sri Lanka –A Journey Awaits’ tagline promote the key tourism attractions of Sri Lanka on taxis with a massive fleet of cabs in each city displaying Taxi Super sides, back seat covers, Taxi receipts with stunning visual imagery of Sri Lanka’s prominent tourism attractions. The campaign is active in UK at the moment.

During the four days of the fair, Sri Lanka Tourism has arranged to give away three precious Blue Sapphire gems for lucky draw winnersat the media briefing, and forthe trade visitors to the booth, signifying and recreating the famous blue sapphire gem of the royal wedding ring of Princess Diana, sourced from Sri Lanka for this purpose.

The Sri Lanka stall showcased traditional Sri Lankan dancing enriched with customs as an attractive feature at the stall, providing a very good opportunity for the visitors to get a glimpse into the culturally rich traditions of Sri Lanka. In addition, a programme to promote Ceylon Tea is held at the time of the exhibition, providing a rare chance to the visitors to enjoy a cup of pure Ceylon Tea.

Sri Lanka Tourism has been participating at this event for many years with the local travel industry. The main objective of this year’s representation is to provide Sri Lanka travel industry an opportunity to meet, interact and network with Travel and Tourism industry partners from UK and around the world to gain immediate competitive advantage for the Sri Lanka travel industry and stay abreast with the latest developments in the travel industry.The travel fair will provide the small and medium hotels and travel agents (SME sector) a valuable opportunity to participate at WTM at a concessionary rate this year as well.

WTM attracts more than 30,000 visitors, 5,000 trade partners (exhibitors) and over 3000 journalists around the world each year. More than 1000 travel agents, including over 200 tour operators, will attend this travel fair to market creating much opportunity for booming tourism industry of Sri Lanka.With the achievements in tourism industry so far, SLTPB is looking forward to exceed the expected target by the end of the year 2016 and WTM will indeed be a milestone in this journey.

Photographs by Praneeth Hettiarachchi