Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) carried out a series of Webinars for essential markets in cooperation with the Sri Lanka High Commissions overseas, main associations of Sri Lanka and the economic sector to keep essential tourist stakeholders updated on the current situation in Sri Lanka and to obtain feedback from worldwide media and Trip Operators in order to establish Post COVID 19 Promotional Activities for the respective markets.

This thrust in tourism is focused on exploring Sri Lanka’s diverse gold mine of resources, changing the nation to maximum levels, from the globally struck financial crisis and shoot growth strongly benefiting the country at large.

SLTPB arranged a wide-scale Webinar on “Sri Lanka Tourism– Post-COVID-19” by means of online platform of the Association of Trip Operators of Russia (ATOR) with the assistance of Sri Lanka Embassy of Russia.

This webinar had 126 Tour Operators/ Travel Agents registering from 6 nations consisting of Russia along with from other nations such as Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Iran, covering twenty-three cities.

The Webinar began with the opening remarks of H.E. the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation, Prof. M.D. Lamawansa. In his welcome remarks, he quickly explained the current activities of the Embassy targeted at promoting Sri Lanka as a traveler destination and highlighted the importance of increasing the number of arrivals of Russian tourists who have “an unique place in the heart of Sri Lankan tourism”. He likewise drew the attention of the attendees to the significance of boosting cooperation in spheres such as culture and education.

Senior officials from tourism-oriented authorities of Sri Lanka made presentations. Among the crucial speakers, Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of SLTPB, revealed the readiness of Sri Lanka’s tourist market to invite Russian guests; Yet, there is no set date for the opening of the worldwide airports. A briefing referring to the guidelines the traveler requires to follow on arrival in Sri Lanka, was explained to the audience. The Webinar participants were essured of the dedication of Sri Lankan Tourism Authorities, to do their very best to supply a safe and safe stay for tourist arrivals from Russia and other countries.

Director (Marketing) of SLTPB Dushan Wickramasuriya, in his update, pointed out favorable dynamics on the Russian tourist arrivals, which experienced a 34% growth in 2019 in spite of the Easter Sunday attacks. He highlighted that, before the pandemic the Aeroflot airlines had 3 direct flights each week from Moscow to Colombo and expressed hope of the resumption of flights soon. The audience was informed of the tactical sectors Sri Lanka intends to promote, especially, beach-oriented vacations, the honeymoon market and family holidays. He referred to the Webinar as an excellent opportunity to start working together and establishing excellent interactions between Sri Lankan and the Russian tourist sectors.

The agent of the Russian Federal Agency for Tourism Demyan Smilevets, dedicated his presentation generally to the effect of COVID-19 on the Russian economy and tourism sector, the technique embraced by Russia to handle the pandemic circumstance and the criteria set for resumption of air connections with foreign nations. Smilevets also kept in mind the longstanding friendly relations between Sri Lanka and Russia and established the fact that Sri Lanka is the favored travel destination for many Russian travelers.

Mahen Kariyawasan (President, SLAITO) Sanath Ukwatte (President, THASL) Mervin Fernandopulle (Past President of ASMET) highlighted the significance of the marketplace and steps taken by the private sector to cater to the current circumstance.

The program was concluded with a Q&A session, during which a large range of questions were raised by Russian trip operators, who later on described the Webinar as a very interesting and informative event that was useful for tourist companies amidst uncertainties brought on by the around the world coronavirus pandemic. The majority of the questions raised were concerning the COVID 19 standards and health protocols.

Russia and CIS nations have actually revealed year-on-year growth and the highest traveler arrivals from Russia was tape-recorded in 2019 with 34% y-on-y increase in spite of the unfortunate Easter Sunday incident which occurred in 2019.

On 17th September, an useful Webinar was carried out for crucial Tourist stakeholders of the Scandinavian area in cooperation with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Sweden and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Norway. The Webinar was hosted by the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) on their platform with the participation of the CEO of PATA Dr. Mario Hardy, raising a helpful hand for Sri Lanka. There were over 60 tour operators who participated at the Webinar were keen to obtain current updates on Post COVID 19 Tourist strategies of Sri Lanka.

The primary function of the Webinar was to highlight Sri Lanka’s achievements in controlling the pandemic as a country and actions taken to ensure safety of travelers getting here in Sri Lanka, once the airport opens up for business. Likewise in the program was Sri Lanka recent endowment with the Safe Travel Stamp from the World Travel and Tourist Council (WTTC).

SLTPB advised the individuals on the distinct qualities of the destination and tourism products used by Sri Lanka as a favored long-haul holiday location for Scandinavian travelers. The opening remarks were made by Chairperson, SLTPB on the COVID circumstance and the efficiency of managing the scenario in contrast to the global state of affairs. This was followed by updates from the Ambassadors of the particular missions and other panelists.

The Webinar panel consisted of Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Lativa and Lithuania H. E Sudantha Ganegama Arachchi, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Norway and Finland H.E Godfrey Cooray, CEO, PATA Dr. Mario Hardy, Sweden Chapter representative PATA Lena Skogstrom, President, ANTOR – leading travel association in Norway, Sundt Bjerck, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Kimarli Fernando, Director Marketing Sri Lanka Tourism Dushan Wickramasuriya, Market officer Sri Lanka Tourist for Scandinavian area Danojani Weeransinghe, President THASL Sanath Ukwatte, Member SLAITO Nishad Wijetunga and Past President, ASMET Mervyn Fernadopulle.

Scandinavia and the NORDIC region is an important area for Sri Lanka. The highest number of arrivals from this region was tape-recorded in 2018. It is interesting to keep in mind that roughly 20% of the arrivals from Northern and Western Europe consists of Scandinavian travelers.

SLTPB has likewise connected with key tour operators in Pakistan with the support of the Sri Lanka High Commission where over 16 key tour operators from primary cities consisting of Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar participated in the Webinar. Promoting wedding event tourism, presenting group packages for multiple sections such as luxury, honeymoon etc. Promoting rewards for groups of pharmaceutical, banking and insurance, were highlighted as crucial locations for Sri Lanka to focus on, going forward. Trip operators kept in mind with terrific interest, the trends in yearly tours from lots of high– end schools and higher education organizations.

In June this year, SLTPB collaborated with Spice Land Holidays and One World connecting with big group of trip operators, having more than 7,000 registrations.

SLTPB strategies to organize a webinar for essential Trip Operators with the assistance of German Travel Association (DRV) in collaboration with Sri Lanka Embassy in Berlin. As a high-level association, DRV represents the travel industry in Germany that includes tour operators and take a trip representatives. Germany having records of 70BillionEURO travel expense in 2019, SLTPB anticipates the prospective as a crucial tourism market in Post COVID 19 environment.

Going forward Webinars are prepared by Sri Lanka Tourist in other European countries including Australia and also in Japan, China, and the Middle Eastern area.

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