HE Mr. Mustapha said, “We are becoming more relevant to the Middle East travel trade and the consumers by bringing together an exceptional audience of top-level travel industry professionals from the region to foster bilateral dialogue and generate more tourism business.”
HE Mr. Mustapha noted that the Sri Lankan team will have much needed discussions with the Saudi travel trade to enable pan-industry collaboration that advances the interests of Sri Lanka’s travel industry.
“We are now poised for a new era of peace that Sri Lanka is expecting within the next couple of months, following the victories of the government forces against the LTTE. The Sri Lankan Government is positive about the post war scenario and we are looking at an aggressive promotional strategy for Sri Lanka Tourism,” he said.
Bucking global economic recession and a downward spiral in the tourism industry worldwide, Middle East travellers visiting Sri Lanka surged by 24% in 2008 according to SLTPB’s Middle East Office.
Heba Al Ghais Al Mansoori, Middle East Director of SLTPB, said:
“The year 2008 has been one of promising growth, driven by heightened consumer awareness in the Middle East, and the growing desire for culture and adventure among regional travellers.”
“Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is expected to make rapid strides, owing to increased travels related to wellness and spas, culture and adventure purposes,” said Ms. Al Mansoori.
Sri Lanka is one of the first countries to produce an event bringing together public and private sector enterprises to collaborate in this way as the roadshow has received extensive support from Sri Lanka missions in Saudi Arabia, SriLankan Airlines Saudi offices, and the private sector in Sri Lanka and the SLTPB is helping to find common ground to leverage tourism’s full potential for the island nation.
The roadshows are designed to position Sri Lanka as an exciting tourism destination and will include an intense series of well-run, information-rich presentations combined with lively, business-oriented networking sessions between the Saudi and the Sri Lankan travel trade.
Organised by SLTPB in conjunction with Sri Lankan missions and SriLankan Airlines, the roadshows in each city will be attended by select travel trade from Saudi Arabia.
Cultural attractions, entertainment, shopping, and dining are some of the factors that draw modern day Arab travellers to their preferred destinations and Sri Lanka offers a good product that scores on all counts and is less than four hours flying time away from the Gulf.
The Middle East has outperformed all other regions of the world, by becoming the fastest growing source market for Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka is one of the best kept secrets in the world as a travel destination, especially for Middle East travellers. The food is exotic and wonderful, the people are gracious and friendly, the accommodation options are first rate and many of the sights are unparalleled anywhere in the world,” said Ms. Al Mansoori.
SLTPB’s Middle East office is responsible for all tourism promotional activities in the Arab markets including exhibition participation, marketing visits, presentations and road shows, advertising, brochure distribution, public relations, as well as familiarization visits to the island for influential business and travel journalists.
Factors such as government support for the tourism sector, and expansion of low-cost carrier services are also contributing to the growth of the industry. The tourism industry is one of Sri Lanka’s economic pillars and is keen to develop business from the Middle East region by enhancing its position as a tropical paradise.
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