Daily FT reports that Sri Lanka tour and holiday companies are out in strength at the InternationaleTourismus – Borse (ITB) Berlin, one of the most important events on the international tourism calendar.

Pledge Holidays joins other big names in destination marketing to show the world the best that Sri Lanka—the Pearl of the Indian Ocean—has to offer.

The island’s top 60 travel agents and hoteliers are there, and tourism boss Paddy Withana says it is “an excellent opportunity to promote Sri Lanka as a compact destination filled with cultural and historical values”.

Read more here.

Australia supports tourism business development in Sri Lanka

Lanka Business Online reports that Australia is to contribute Market Development Facility (MDF) of SLR1billion over four years to help promote Sri Lanka develop and expand its tourism industry.

Working with business, MDF will support the diversification of Sri Lanka’s tourism destinations, products and services while spreading the economic benefits more widely.

Says Australian High Commissioner Bryce Hutchesson: “This initiative will operate like a social venture capitalist. We will invest in businesses to stimulate innovation to reap results that are both commercially sustainable and socially desirable in tourism and related sectors.”

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Sri Lanka named China’s most popular tourism destination

Travel and Tour World reports that Sri Lanka has been named as the Most Popular Tourism Destination at the Guangzhou International Travel Fair (GITF).

The volume of visitors to this event has been increasing annually and this has enabled Sri Lanka to gain greater exposure and visibility for its unique destination brand, the Foreign Ministry statement said.

Sri Lanka won the prestigious award for the second consecutive year which is a testament to the country’s growing popularity among the Chinese travel enthusiasts.

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Sri Lanka eyes over 26 per cent growth in Indian travellers in 2017

The Indian Express reports that Sri Lanka is expecting a 26 percent jump in the number of Indian tourists and visitors this year, ahead of China, the UK, Germany and France.

It quotes Tourism Promotion Bureau’s Director of Marketing Madubhani Perera as saying: “India is the number one source market of our country. We are witnessing a huge growth in travellers attracted to the beaches, night life and adventure sports.

“With destination wedding becoming a trend, we see a huge potential and want to tap this market in India. MICE and films are other areas which provide us good opportunity.”

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Top hotel school boosts number of senior graduates

LMD reports that over 130 hospitality professionals graduated from the Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism & Hotel Management (SLITHM) last year, the highest number in a single batch since its inception 50 years ago.

This is particularly good new because the island’s growing international attraction as a must-visit tropical destination has created a hotel manpower shortage across the board.

LMD quotes tourism minister John Amaratunga as praising SLITHM for taking up the challenge “in a positive spirit by increasing its annual output without compromising on the quality”.

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And finally—RDS Surf School wins Red Bull Levels 2017

The Sunday Times reports that RDS Surf School creamed the opposition in the Red Bull Levels 2017 on Mirissa beach with a magnificent display of strength, grit, stamina and team work.

The team—three Sri Lankan surfers from Ahangama and one from Sweden—were ecstatic: “This was more than a race. The course was tiring and hardcore and we have never faced anything like this.”

Seventy teams took on the toughest obstacle course that tested them to the limit while making sure that a good time was had by all.

Read more here.

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