August 22, 2019
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    Sri Lanka Tourism on positive note Featured

    January 15, 2019

    Sri Lanka tourism sector ended 2018 on positive note despite several setbacks initial by political uncertainty.The month of December in 2018 has seen a sharp incline in arrivals compared to 2017. The total number of international arrivals for 2018 was 2,333,796, which is a growth of 10.3 % compared to 2116,407 arrivals in 2017.There were fluctuations in Sri Lanka’s source markets throughout the year yet India and China continued to be the country’s prime markets. Investment in culture, heritage and adventure offerings, has helped maintain the momentum in the market with the country leading to an increase in visitor spending during the year.

    According to Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB), the increase is due in part to marketing campaign promoting Sri Lanka as a travel destination around the world, including the top 10markets for Sri Lanka. The investment yielded a significant increase in the number of tourists from those countries.Earlier in 2018, National Geographic voted Sri Lanka as one of those places to bask in the sun when the winters get too cold and one years for sunny days. The National Geographic cited the East coast of Sri Lanka where travelers can explore by boat.

    Sri Lanka continued to top the National Geographic list with Sri Lanka being voted for the Cool List of 2018. In its publication, the National Geographic listed Sri Lanka as having some of the coolest haunts, hippest hangouts, bucket list breaks and enthralling escapes.Lanka tops Lonely Planet list for 2019One of the biggest and most notable endorsements came when Lonely Planet voted Sri Lanka as the Best Travel Destination for the year 2019 last year.

    “Already notable to intrepid travelers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived,” says Lonely Planet author Ethan Gelber in the Best in Travel 2019 book, which was published recently.

    Sri Lanka was further endorsed by Travel Lemming, as one of the 6 winning destinations for 2019 of the Travel Lemming Reader Awards. Travel Lemming is a site dedicated to promoting the world’s emerging destinations and encouraging travelers to think beyond the traditional “tourist traps.”

    Travel Week of Canada also highlighted Sri Lanka as a top destination for Canadian Millennial travelers, which was another endorsement for 2019.

    Recently, Sri Lanka was also selected as one of the 10 best places to visit in 2019 by the i-escape website, which is one of UK’s leading Boutique Hotel specialists.

    Impactful Influencer programme

    Reaching over 35 million global travel audience through social media by creating over 700 blog articles and social media posts, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau successfully hosted 48 travel bloggers and social media influencers during the last year, in a bid to showcase Sri Lanka as a prime dream destination.

    The travel bloggers, social media influencers covering various popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Youtube were part of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau’s visiting blogger platform.

    The total combined reach on virtual travel blogger platforms and popular social media hit over 11.5 million, while over 2.5 million global social media users and followers engaged with the original content created by bloggers and influencers.

    The outcome has been reflected in the renewed interest shown by tour operators and travel agents who cite that Sri Lanka remains a favored holiday destination year after year.By hosting 48 high profile travel bloggers, influencers and social media content creators, Sri Lanka Tourism bloggers supported in creating over 700 various Destination promotional content and gained a reach of 35 million with an engagement of 4.5 million.

    SLTPB hosted a tour for golf journalist representing international publications for a unique golfing experience. The journalists were flown in from Germany and Switzerland to visit golf courses in Colombo, Hambantota, Kandy and NuwaraEliya in a bid to create awareness of Sri Lanka’s golfing capacity.

    SLTPB hosts golfing journalists

    The journalists who head global renowned publications that specialize in golf played golf in Nuwara Eliya, Hambantota, and Kandy, and visited the Royal Colombo golf club.

    Film location of scenic spots

    Reputed British film location experts including the location manager for the famous television series Game of Thrones visited Sri Lanka last year, scouring for the most scenic places for their next ventures.

    The eight-member British team was a part of lucrative location familiarization tour with a view of encouraging the international film makers to shoot international movies in Sri Lanka based on the popularity of movies such as ‘’Bridge on the River Kwai’’, ‘’Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’’.

    Sri Lanka Tourism made its annual contribution to the New York Times Travel show 2018, which was held from 26th to 28th January 2018, at the Jacob Javichcentre. The New York Times Travel Show is a must see occasion for all travel enthusiasts and travel industry participants.

    TIC at BIA gets facelift

    In a bid to serve tourists faster and better, the 20-year-old Tourist Information Centre (TIC) at the Bandaranaike International Airport operated by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau which was recently refurbished was opened to the public recently.

    Taking sports tourism towards a new dimension, Sri Lanka Tourism hosted the first IRONMAN 70.3 event in Asia, as the title sponsor of the event, creating a stepping stone to promote Sports Tourism in the country and highlight Sri Lanka as a globally recognized sports destination.

    Tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka for the month of November last year, have shown positive increase after a momentary slump in October with two digits being recorded so far.

    Colombo important port for cruise liners

    Adding to the existing flow of tourists was the arrival of three super luxury passenger vessels with combined passenger occupancy of nearly 7000. The super luxury passenger vessel MV Mein Schiff 3 of TUI Cruises with 2,430 passengers and 995crew made her maiden call at the Port of Colombo on November 26.

    AIDAbella a cruise ship operated by AIDA Cruises ferried nearly 2200 passengers while Princess Cruise Line, the Sapphire Princess also made a visit with 3000 tourists on board the vessel. MSC Splendida cruise ship also called on Colombo.

    Participating in travel fairs

    Sri Lanka Tourism showcased its splendor in the Mediterranean by participating at the IMTM (International Mediterranean Tourism Market Travel fair which was on February in Israel.

    Sri Lanka Tourism continued to tap into the Indian market with its participation at the SATTE India in January 2018, which is South Asia’s leading Travel Show.

    Mumbai was identified as a source place and Sri Lanka took part at the India International travel and Tourism exhibition aimed at this segment.

    Sri Lanka was recognized as an ideal holiday destination at the roadshows held in Netherlands and Belgium respectively, encouraging the Benelux counterparts to visit Sri Lanka.

    Sri Lanka Tourism highlighted its potential to promote the destination as a major tourist attraction at the Jeddah International Travel and Tourism Exhibition in Jeddah, which was held at the Convention Center- Jeddah Hilton on March.

    Sri Lanka proved that it was a destination worth visiting by attracting the Chinese visitors with its colorful themes and beautifully decorated Sri Lanka stall, at the Guangzhou International Travel Fair, (GITF) in March.

    Sri Lanka Tourism also received the “Most attractive Tourist Destination Award” at GITF 2018. Sri Lanka Tourism participated in the maiden B2C travel fair in the French Market, Salon Mondial du Tourisme in Paris.

    Sri Lanka was a colorful attraction at the National Association of Travel Agents Singapore Travel fair 2018 in March at the Singapore Expo Hall.

    Sri Lanka showed its prestige as a holiday and travel destination at the Arabian Travel Market in April, at the Dubai International Exhibition Convention Centre.

    Sri Lanka established its successful participation by receiving the award of “Most popular tourist destination of Asia’’ at the Shanghai World Travel Fair in May at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, China.

    Sri Lanka Tourism showcased its potential in promoting Sri Lanka as a tourism hotspot in Eastern Europe, by organizing three successful roadshows in Poland and Hungary.

    SLCBand SLTPB also participated at the Spanish Travel Agents Congress B2B session.

    Highlighting its potential to take tourism in every dimension, Sri Lanka participated at the Marine Diving fair held from 6th to 8th April 2018 in Tokyo, Japan.

    So Sri Lanka makes a splash

    Sri Lanka unveiled new slogan and strategy for at WTM in London. The new slogan “So Sri Lanka” goes beyond being a place descriptor and embodies the vibrant qualities that inspire us about our travels and tales from the island nation.

    Two charter flights from Europe, namely TUI Poland, Switzerland’s Edelweiss have started servicing the Sri Lankan routes from the month of October onwards. Russia’s national carrier Aeroflot also started flights after a lapse of 10 years from the month of November, 2018.

    Sri Lanka Tourism is vigorously carrying out multi-platform promotional campaigns while the digital campaign is in the final stages of evaluation process. The campaigns have focused on key international markets including Europe, Middle East, Australia, China and India respectively. SLTPB also commenced a three month CNN global advertising campaign, to depict Sri Lanka’s identity to the world as a tourism hot spot.

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