Australian Tour Operators Chairman meets Tourism Minister

Thursday, 29 August 2019 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Delegation of Australian travel agents on their visit to Sri Lanka in July

Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga meeting Dennis Bunnik during his visit to Sri Lanka, with SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes, SLTPB Managing Director Charmarie Maelge, Director Marketing Dushan Wickramasuriya, Officer in charge of the Australian market Chami Lanka Gasnawage and Public Relations officer to the Minister Anne Amaratunga

In order to revive the tourism industry, Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga invited the heads of Tour Operator Associations worldwide to visit Sri Lanka after the 21/4 incident. As a result of this invitation, Council of Australian Tour Operators (CATO) Chairman Dennis Bunnik met Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga and other SLTPB officials in Sri Lanka recently. He was also accompanied by Kevin Bishop, General Manager of Bunnik tours operation in Sri Lanka. 

Australia has proven to be a very resilient market for Sri Lanka in 2018. Tourist arrivals from Australia recorded a total of 110,928 and a growth rate of 37% during this period. In 2019, the expected target of tourist arrivals is seen as 149, 752, and this number does not account of ethnic visitors holding dual passports. Up to July 2019, 52,698 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka and in 2019 a growth of 36% from the Australian market is expected.  


Billboard campaigns in Australia


Australia has an outbound travel of 8.4 million and has a population of 23.77 million. Their main purpose of travel is holidaying, visiting friends and relatives, business and other purposes. 

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) had a large contingent of tour operators/travel agents visiting Sri Lanka in July this year. SLTPB conducts promotions through participating in trade fairs, special consumer events, and conducting tour operator programs and FAM visits. Subsequently between March-July this year, a billboard advertising campaign was carried out in Melbourne and Sydney, whereas a consumer event is scheduled to be held in Sydney on 23 and 24 November. 

During his visit to Sri Lanka, Dennis Bunnik said that Sri Lanka is a fast selling tourist destination which has the potential to attract a large number of tourist arrivals due to its cultural and natural resources and various holiday opportunities. He has seen the market picking up rapidly with queries to visit Sri Lanka. He further said that none of his clients had cancelled any of their visits or postponed them. He has been a loyal supporter of the SLTPB for several years and believes that Sri Lanka has everything in store for every travel enthusiast. He believes that Sri Lanka can attract the Australian market as Sri Lanka can be promoted as a popular destination among Australians. 

Minister Amaratunga appreciated Bunnik’s visit to Sri Lanka and loyalty towards SLTPB with several key promotional activities to boost tourism in Sri Lanka. Bunnik expressed that reasons for Sri Lanka to be popular among Australians are its culture, natural attractions and the common interests of cricket.