Sri Lanka launches ‘Gateway to South Asia 2017’ at ITB Berlin | Daily News

Sri Lanka launches ‘Gateway to South Asia 2017’ at ITB Berlin

Exclusive press conference arranged by Sri Lanka Tourism
Exclusive press conference arranged by Sri Lanka Tourism

Berlin: Sri Lanka’s first own travel fair, ‘Gateway to South Asia 2017’ was launched at the ITB Berlin by the Minister of Tourism Development, Lands and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga. The event will be held from May 4 to 7 in Colombo.

“I would like to invite journalists to attend ‘Gateway to South Asia’ International Travel Fair in Colombo in May and experience first-hand all that Sri Lanka has to offer,” Minister said at the Sri Lankan press conference at the ITB, organized by Sri Lanka Tourism as part of its ITB programme in Berlin.

This year the press conference was packed to capacity with some foreign journalists and travel writers even sitting on the ground to capture the money, clearly indicating the interest for Sri Lanka as a destination and to gather more information.

Minister Amaratunga highlighted the fact that Sri Lanka was participating at ITB for the 50th consecutive year, this year and that as a result of it, a strong relationship had developed between the two countries. He pointed out that Vogue Magazine (France) had described Sri Lanka as one of the most fashionable destinations to visit in its latest issue. He said that this was a very positive sign for the country’s tourism industry.

He was asked if what the government was doing to promote tourism in the North and the Minister said that all roads were done up and in addition several other assistance was extended to the province. He also said that for the first time Tilco Hotel Jaffna also attend the event. He said that all their domestic airports in the North East, Batticaloe, Palali and Trincomalee too are being developed.

“Sri Lanka has many luxury hotels and the list is growing. The country’s compactness, diversity and authenticity are unique. This is what makes Sri Lanka the perfect destination for leisure travelers,” the Minister said. “The current government does not have any enemies and had made friends around the world. Democracy has been restored along with respect for human rights. Sri Lanka is now a safe haven for tourists and everybody is free to move about,” he told the packed press conference.

Asked if they would promote Mattala Airport, he said that all development projects under taken by the previous government would continue.

He also said that they were looking at the possibility of reviving the SriLankan Airline routes to Paris, Rome and Frankfurt. “These were temporary halted due to the restricting of the airline.”

The press conference was chaired by others at the head table were Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany, Karunathilaka Amunugama, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism, Paddy Withana, President, Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), Devindre Senaratne, President, The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), Sanath Ukwatte and President, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism Sri Lanka (ASMET), Rohan Abeywickrama.

Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany, Karunathilaka Amunugama said that German arrivals had increased by 15% and last year 134,000 visited Sri Lanka. He said that the German government too is now supporting to promote tourism in Germany due to the two countries improved relations.

In a ground breaking move, the Public Relations team of Sri Lanka Tourism launched a special programme at the Sri Lanka Pavilion to attract top journalists and bloggers to Sri Lanka. Under the visiting journalists and bloggers programme of Sri Lanka Tourism, high profile journalists will be invited to Sri Lanka on fully sponsored familiarization tours in return for media coverage in international publications.

The Internationale Tourismus Börse (ITB) annually takes place in Berlin, Germany, in March.

As the Leading Travel Trade Show, ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for global touristic offers. In addition to very high exhibitor satisfaction (over 90%), the numbers offer more proof.

This is where supply meets demand from 5 Continents, 187 Countries, 1000 Qualified Top Buyers, over 10,000 Exhibitors, 26,000 Convention Visitors, 60,000 Private Visitors, 120,000 Trade Visitors, 160,000 Square meters of exhibition space and 7 Bn Euro turnover. 


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