Sri Lanka Tourism, a premier partner of WTM

Sri Lanka Tourism made the correct decision at the right time to be the premier partner for the 40th edition of the World Tourism Market (WTM), said WTM Director Simon Press, at the opening. Speaking to the Daily News, he said that this is the appropriate time to be a premier partner when Sri Lanka Tourism is going through a recovery period after the Ester Sunday Bombings. He said that the WTM would be attended by over 50,000 travel decision-makers or buyers and they would carry a positive image on Sri Lanka. In addition, the opening ceremony would receive tremendous media publicity in global print, electronic and social media and the free publicity Sri Lanka receives, would be unmatched to help boost the destination image of Sri Lanka. “This is the best audience Sri Lanka received to promote the country and it came at the right time.’’

Sri Lanka High Commissioner in UK Manisha Gunasekara said the British travel market is very mature and they kept coming to Sri Lanka even after the Ester Sunday bomb attacks. “However, due to travel advisories which resulted in Insurance issues, the ‘Brits’ had second thoughts of visiting Sri Lanka.”She said that Sri Lanka attracted 254,000 arrivals last year and up to September, there were 153,000 British arrivals. “With the boost and our marketing campaigns in London and the free Visa arrivals policy, we predict that arrivals would pass the 200,000 marks, while the drop would be around 20% as compared to last year.’’

She also said that British arrivals to Sri Lanka are highest from European destinations and they are also high spenders since the British Pound is stronger when compared to Sri Lankan Rupee. The Sri Lanka Tourism branding was very visible in many areas at the WTM venue and Railway Stations and even footpaths were marked, providing visitors to visit Sri Lanka stand B220. Meanwhile, Minister of Tourism John Amaratunge said that they would further concentrate on pumping more money to promote the British market since yields from it are the highest. “They also stay around 11 days.’’

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