‘Positive Transformation’ Sri Lanka’s theme at ITB 2015

Hostesses from Sri Lanka pose at the International Tourism Trade Fair (ITB) in Berlin, 4 March 2015. The fair has over 10,000 exhibitors from around 190 countries – Reuters

The Sri Lanka pavilion at the world’s biggest travel fair, ITB in Berlin, this year is promoting ‘Positive Transformation’ in the country following the peaceful and decisive presidential election held on 8 January 2015.

The fresh push to woo German and other European tourists at ITB Berlin is supported by the participation of 52 private sector travel and hotel firms. The Lankan pavilion was inaugurated by Tourism and Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake earlier this week in the presence of Sri Lankan Ambassador for Germany and Switzerland Karunatilleka Amunugama, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Dr. Rohantha Athukorala and Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Paddy Vithana.

Sri Lanka tourism ITB 2015
Minister Navin Dissanayake speaks at the opening of the Sri Lanka Pavilion at ITB 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Germany Karunatilleke Amunugama and Chairman Sri Lanka Promotional Bureau Dr. Rohantha Athukorala are also present

In his speech at the opening, Minister Dissanayake said that the people of Sri Lanka had voted in a new Government that promised good governance, financial responsibility with public funds, equality in development, religious harmony, respect for human rights and inclusive development.

“We have already started delivering this promise to the people of Sri Lanka. We now want to understand the thinking of the private sector better and thereby aggressively develop the tourism promotional agenda in key markets,” the Minister added.

Promotions Bureau Chairman Dr. Athukorala said that the latest data from Google indicated that Sri Lanka has crossed the 23 million mark on travel related searches in 2014 globally, and from Germany the number stood at 1.5 million in 2014, up from 1.3 million the previous year.

Against this backdrop Sri Lanka registered 85,470 visitors from Germany in 2013 while in 2014 the number grew by 20.5% to 103,000. “This shows the potential Germany has for Sri Lanka tourism,” Dr. Athukorala stated.

According to him the gap between awareness and conversion provides an opportunity that Sri Lanka Tourism is working on with different strategies such as taking part in ITB, staging visiting journalist programs, trade familiarisation tours and regional roadshows among others. The world’s largest travel fair, ITB, will continue until 8 March and the footfall is forecast to be over a million visitors from all over the world.

[ Via DailyFT ]

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