In the run-up to this year’s World Travel Market (WTM) in London, Sri Lankan tourism minister John Amaratunga said that Britain will be the focus of a major ongoing tourism marketing and promotional campaign.
He says on the ministry website: “I am delighted to learn that a total of 62 Sri Lankan companies are taking part in the WTM this year. This is the highest ever number of Sri Lankan participants recorded at any international travel show. This shows the confidence our tourism industry has in the UK market.”
Sun, sea, sand and wildlife will be the message to UK travellers.
“The United Kingdom has traditionally been one of Sri Lanka’s primary tourism markets. The UK ranks as the No. 1 European market for Sri Lanka tourism and one of the top three global markets for the country. The number of tourist arrivals from the UK which stood at 143,412 at the end of September this year, reflects a solid growth of 17% over the corresponding period last year.”
The minister noted that “we have such a variety of options from sun, sea and sand to culture and heritage, to scenic, adventure and wellness to wildlife in a very compact setting that it is ideally suited for the long haul, long stay tourists looking for that idyllic vacation in a tropical paradise”.
“Where else on Earth can one see the biggest animal on land, the elephant and in a couple of hours see the biggest animal in water, the blue whale?
“We have the largest concentration of leopards in Asia and our Sinharaja Forest is a world acclaimed biodiversity hotspot. Which island of Sri Lanka’s size can offer 8 World Heritage Sites?”
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Meanwhile, at WTM itself, responsible tourism topped the agenda, with the massed ranks anxious to be part of the largest day of responsible tourism action in the world, WTM World Responsible Tourism Day (WRTD).
Women in travel, millennials in the travel retail environment and partnerships and collaborations in the travel industry also hinted at what will be major considerations in the year ahead.
Finally, health and wellness was also high on agenda, with the Global Wellness Institute hosting the Wellness Travel Symposium, with invaluable insights into this half-trillion-dollar industry that Sri Lanka is well placed to exploit.