Sri Lanka Tourism showcased the best of the country’s offers to journalists and the travel trade at the start of this year’s mega travel show held annually in London.
At a well-attended World Travel Market press conference, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr. Nalaka Godahewa officially launched the 2011 Visit Sri Lanka campaign, with its theme of eight wonderful experiences in eight days.
This year he said it was exciting that more than 50 Sri Lankan hotel and travel companies had committed to attending the event and marketing their products to attendees – the biggest turnout ever.
The Sri Lankan pavilion demanded attention with its banners proclaiming ‘Visit Sri Lanka 2011’. It was opened by Justice Nihal Jayasinghe, Sri Lankan High Commissioner in UK, who lit the traditional oil lamp.
Dr. Nalaka Godahewa, Malraj Kiriella, Acting Managing Director and Sanjika Perera, Director UK and Ireland of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, along with Nishatha Wickramasinghe, Chairman, Sri Lankan Airlines, joined the 50 industry leaders to present the Sri Lanka tourism story.
Dr. Godahewa applauded the industry support for the campaign logo and slogan, ‘Refreshingly Sri Lanka... the Wonder of Asia’.
He said the eight different colours of the letters of Sri Lanka in the new logo represented eight different stories: Pristine: beach; Wild: wildlife and nature; Thrills: sports and soft adventure, Scenic: Tea country, Heritage: 2500 years of civilisation and eight UNESCO sites; Bliss: Ayurveda, and upmarket boutiques for chilling out; Essence: authenticity of people, eco tourism, culture, the arts, shopping, and Festive: entertainment of festivals and events, and a unique place for weddings.
Kiriella explained that the 12 letters of the Wonder of Asia depict the 12 month calendar of events for the Visit Sri Lanka 2011 Campaign.
“Every month we will be celebrating a different theme. First up is January which will promote beaches at the season’s peak. February will feature Sri Lanka co-hosting of ICC matches. March will promote Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions, (MICE) combined with the organising of UNWTO regional commission meeting in Sri Lanka.
“In April People and Culture will highlight Sinhala and Hindu New Year celebrations. May focuses upon religion with the 2,600 anniversary of Buddha Jayanthi, celebrating the religious diversity of Sri Lanka. June focuses on Sri Lanka’s niche market for weddings and honeymoons. July promotes Shopping, when there will be a major shopping festival in Colombo.
“August will highlight the History and Heritage of the country with the world famous Kandy Esala Perahera. September establishes the Sri Lanka’s rich Wildlife and Nature with the Minneriya Elephant Gathering. October will introduce a new community and education product to support developing nine tourism villages in Sri Lanka’s nine provinces where guests will be able to experience the Sri Lankan way of life staying in a local home.
“November focuses upon Bliss: Sri Lanka’s reputation for wellness and Auryveda, and promoting the Asian Health Show. Finally December highlights Sri Lanka’s distinctive culinary traditions with the World Spice Festival”.
Meanwhile special guest Bill Oddie, the well known television personality and expert on wildlife and birds worldwide who has recently visited Sri Lanka, enthused about the country’s outstanding nature and wildlife.
Participation fees hiked
By Sunimalee Dias
Sri Lanka Tourism has this year increased charges levied from participants at the World Travel Market (WTM) in the UK.
Previously charges from participants were levied to cover about 25% while this year it had increased to 50% as this was deemed necessary by the Government. This comes in the wake of a successful year enjoyed by the tourism industry. The Government was previously engaged in covering the rest of the costs for such participation.
However, the number of participants this year has been similar to previous years, with only 50 companies engaged in promotional activities at the UK travel fair.
The event is conducted annually and is the second largest global event of the Travel and Tourism Trade, which is scheduled from 8-11 November at the Excel Exhibition Hall, London, UK to promote international travel throughout the world.
It is the platform for buyers and sellers from various countries to renew their business contacts or to look for new business opportunities.
WTM attracts more than 30,000 visitors, 5,000 trade partners (exhibitors) from 200 countries. There are around 1,000 travel agents including 200 plus tour operators who sell Sri Lanka are also expected to attend this travel fair.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has reserved 173 sq metres (14.5 m x 10 m) and there will be 50 Sri Lankan companies including nine small and Medium Enterprises participating at this year’s event.
A reception was organised by Sri Lanka Tourism London office for the UK travel trade and media and for the Sri Lanka delegation on Monday at Zero Sette Restaurant in London.
Emirates enters WTM in good shape
Emirates is looking forward to a strong second half as it participates in the World Travel Market (WTM).
The international airline of the UAE recently posted half year profits of US$ 925 million, a powerful model of recovery in the global airline industry.
WTM, which takes place at ExCel in the British capital, is the first major travel trade event for the airline since its impressive first six months picture was revealed.
“The financials from the first half of the year provide an excellent platform going into WTM 2010, “ said Richard Vaughan, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Worldwide. “We’ve worked tremendously hard to fight the tectonic plates of the world economy and strongly believe that we are well positioned to take full advantage of the second half year period.”
In the front half of the year, Emirates’ net profits were up by 351 percent, compared to US$ 205 million, for the same period in 2009. The number of passengers carried jumped 17.3 per cent and the 81.2 per cent seat factor posted was the highest first half figure in airline’s 25-year history.
At WTM, Emirates’ double-decker Wing stand will house a number of the group’s divisions including Emirates UK, Arabian Adventures, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in Australia, Emirates Holidays, Skywards and Emirates Tours.
Since WTM in 2009, Wolgan Valley has been recognised as one of the world’s best luxury resorts, becoming a member of the exclusive leading hotels of the world portfolio.
Visitors to the stand will also be able to sink into an Emirates’ A380 First Class Private Suite. The airline’s 14 double deckers now serve London Heathrow, Manchester, Paris, Sydney, Auckland, Toronto, Bangkok, Seoul, Jeddah, Hong Kong, New York and Beijing.
Emirates is the world’s largest operator of the superjumbo. “The Emirates A380 – the future is ready for boarding” is the message carried on the outside of the 123 sq. m stand.