Sri Lanka Tourism shines at the World Travel Market, London with 60 Industry Partners

Press Release. Photos by – Praneeth Hettiarachchi

World Travel Market (WTM), the leading global event of Travel and Tourism Trade, attracting more than 35,000 visitors, 5000 exhibitors and over 2000 travel agents and tour operators, took place from the 6th to 8th of November at the Excel Exhibition Hall in London to promote international travel throughout the world. Having foreseen the unique opportunity to promote Sri Lanka as a renowned destination in world travel, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) participated at the event, along with sixty partners of the industry.

The Sri Lankan pavilion took a cutting edge position with a theme to highlight the sun, sea, sand and wildlife. The colourful pavillion was ceremoniously opened by the traditional oil lamp being lit by the distinguished guests, including Hon. John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, Ms Amari Wijewardene, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka for the United Kingdom, Mr. Udaya Nanayakkara, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and other industries leaders

A press conference was held on the 7th of November, 3-4 pm, preceded by afternoon tea 2.30 – 3 pm celebrating 150 years of Ceylon Tea for over 80 travel trade, print and electronic media. The conference was opened and moderated by Mr Alston Koch. The first address was made by the Hon. John Amaratunga, on the recent launch of the 3 year strategic plan for tourism to position the country as a place for “memorable, authentic and diverse tourism experiences”. A presentation was made to the Hon. Minister by Ms Druvi Gunasekera of the new Sri Lankan Boutique Hotels Guide and by Anuruddha Bandara of the Bush Camps brochure.

Following the Minister’s address, Mr Udaya Nanayakkara, Chairman of SLTPB launched the new brand video. This was followed by an address by Ms Amari Wijewardene, High Commissioner for Sri Lanka for the United Kingdom, SriLankan Airlines vision by Dimuthu Tennakoon, Head of Worldwide Sales and Distribution. The press conference ended with a photographic presentation by Sheena Harvey, BBC Wildlife Magazine’s editor, on her amazing wildlife experiences in Sri Lanka. A business card draw was held for a selection of 5 amazing stays in Sri Lanka which were won by 5 of the lucky media present.

The Sri Lanka stall showcased traditional Sri Lankan dancing enriched with customs, which provided a very good opportunity for the visitors to get a glimpse into the culturally rich traditions of Sri Lanka. In addition to this, in order to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Ceylon Tea, a programme was devised to promote Ceylon Tea during the exhibition, providing a chance for the visitors to enjoy a cup of pure Ceylon Tea at the stand.

Coinciding WTM, a special advertising campaign will be launched on London underground in 10 prominent London underground stations for 12 weeks. Sri Lanka’s most attractive images on elephants, leopards, whales and cultural sites will be depicted in this campaign.

Sri Lanka has already become one of the most sought after travel destinations among the UK tourists within the past few years.

The UK continues to be the No.1 in tourist arrivals from Europe to Sri Lanka. In the ten months to October 2017, the total arrivals from the UK was at 166,489, which was a 7.8% increase compared to the same period last year.