Sri Lanka showcases best tourism potential in London | Daily News

Sri Lanka showcases best tourism potential in London

40th edition of WIM opens at ExCel

The 40th edition of World Tourism Market which began on November 4, would come to an end at the ExCel London.

Over 160 Sri Lankans are to participate at the event this year, led by Minister of Tourism John Amaratunga.

For the very first time Sri Lanka was nominated as the Premier partner at the WTM and had the opportunity to be a part of the opening ceremony, giving a huge media boost.

Minister Amaratunge said that this was a rare honour for Sri Lanka, which came at the right time when Sri Lanka needs publicity of this nature.

“The Premier Partnership deal with WTM London, would mean thousands of international travel trade professionals and buyers would witness see the new ‘So Sri Lanka’ branding, while hundreds of journalists and influencers would come to hear the country’s culture, scenery and heritage.’’

“This year, several novel features were added to Sri Lanka’s stand, which was the best ever decoration I have seen at the WTM,’’ he said. The Industry’s participants opined that they were happy to witness so many onsite brandings of Sri Lanka.

President, Tourist Hotels’ Association of Sri Lanka Sanath Ukwatte, said that the publicity gained by been the Premier Partner of the WTM, was a good boost to the industry.

Today, many countries throughout the world have handed over the control of tourism promotions funds to the private sector, as was the trend today. In Germany for example, 70% of Tourism Promotional Funds come from the Government, while 30% came from the private sector. Yet, 100% of the administration of the fund is handed over to the private sector.

“We propose a similar solution for Sri Lanka. We request the Government to bring forward and Parliament to approve the amendments to the Tourism Act to implement it. We also wish to witness the transfer and control of Sri Lanka marketing and promotions fund to the Tourism Joint Council.’’

Managing Director Charmarie Maelge said, “We are extremely fortunate to have our celebrity Cricketer Kumar Sangakkara to help us launch the WTM Premier Partnership in London by participating at the SLTPB organised massive broadcasters day interview session with the WTM.”

President, Colombo Hotels Association Shanthi Kumar, said Colombo needed more MICE events similar to the Borah Convention.

Lanka Sportreizen Founder and Chairman Thilak Weerasinghe, who had been participating for the WTM for the past 15 years, said that this gave them a moral boost. ‘’Sri Lankan branding is everywhere and it gives us a good feeling.’’

He also said that today 16% revenue and arrivals to the tourism sector is accounted from Adventure Tourism and more should be done to promote it.

Meanwhile, President Gateway Travels Italy, Ravi Dias Jayasinha, who promotes Sri Lanka and Male to Italian tourists, said that a more focused marketing campaign coordinated by Professionals is needed for Sri Lanka.

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