Sri Lanka Tourism participated in the maiden B2C travel fair in the French Market, Salon Mondial du Tourisme in Paris, France which was held at Parc des Exposition, Porte De Versailles from 15-18 March.
Salon Mondial du Tourisme is the second largest travel show held in France annually with the participation of various tourism stakeholders from around the world. The main exhibit sectors of the trade show Salon Mondial du Tourisme are foreign tourism offices, tour operators, travel agencies, French national, regional and departmental tourism offices, reception, accommodation, thalassa therapy, airlines, car rental, railway, cruise lines, business tourism, new technologies, leisure, training, information and services, associations – press. The show covers wide scope of tourism products and service sectors with high active presence during the exhibition.
The Ambassador of France Buddhi Athauda, SMT Show Director Audrey Quentin, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Assistant Director Sarangi Thilakasena, First Secretary – Commerce Chandima Abeyrathne and Embassy of France Third Secretary – Consular Damitha Hewawickrama officially opened the Sri Lanka Stand at SMT travel fair along with other officials and travel trade representatives participated at the exhibition.
Sri Lanka stand witnessed the presence of the secretary of state in French Govt. Madame Geneviève DARRIEUSSECQ with Madame Florence PARLY the Ministre des Armées visiting the Sri Lanka stand and talking highly on the potential Sri Lanka has to become a leading travel destination for the French travellers. They highly praised Sri Lanka and its attractions to offer to avid French travellers.'
Addressing the audience, Buddhi Athauda remarked that the popularity of Sri Lanka among the French travellers is increasing and the number of travel inquiries Embassy has to handle on daily basis has become almost five-fold showing the interest of French travellers for Sri Lanka. He further added that Sri Lanka’s presence in Salon Mondial du Tourisme will create a highly competitive position for the destination with the presence of other popular Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Male, India, Indonesia etc. who have been regular attendees of this travel show from the inception.
The travel show was attended by reputed Sri Lankan Travel Agents and hoteliers active in the French market such as Airwing Tours, Back Pool Hotels, Yathra Travels, Ayuobowan Tours, Bernard Tours, Travel Talk Asia, World Lanka Tours, Asian Escapes, Chamathka Holidays and Zenith Expeditions etc. Sri Lanka stand was able to attract a very high level of enthusiasm from the show attendees being present at the show for the very first time. Sri Desi dance troupe from Paris added colour and vibrancy with traditional dance performances at the Sri Lanka stand. Ceylon Tea Boutique served freshly brewed Ceylon Tea for the travel show participants throughout the fair. Sri Lanka Tourism Counter handled large number of inquiries with the inflow of potential travellers ready to visit Sri Lankan in the near future.
Sri Lanka Tourism was able to gain double exposure at this travel fair with another travel show called Salon Destination Nature which is focus on nature and eco-tourism products taking place parallel to SMT fair in the same venue. The visitors attending Salon Destination Nature spilled over to Sri Lanka stand as the country had many natural attractions to travel to and for the purpose of discovering eco -tourism products and services available in the country.
Sri Lanka Tourism representative met with leading travel media in France Le Quotidien du Tourisme, Le Figaro, Paris Match and L’Echo Touristique to seek possible cooperation to promote Sri Lanka in these media in future. Further discussions were held with travel agents, airlines, PR agencies, Tour Operators, electronic media production houses, bloggers, Travel Guide book publishers, digital marketing companies, etc., to promote Sri Lanka in the French market.
Based on the discussions had with the Ambassador on the plans for future promotional activities in the French market, the Embassy of France has laid out plans to carry out a three-day consumer promotional event at the famous Champs-Élysées, considered as world’s busiest shopping street. The promotional campaign will take off in late May-early June period during this year.
More than 105,000 visitors including 2409 professionals, 652 staff works councils, clubs or organisations, 531 journalists and 400 exhibitors participated at 2017 edition of the show creating opportunity to promote destination on various consumer segments. The visitor consumer profile consists of 56% actively employed and 44% retired persons with high disposable income. More than 96% of visitors attending the travel fair go on a holiday as per the research.
Out of the total visitors 42% have more than 3000 Euros as their holiday budget and 45% of visitors allocate Euro 100-3000 as their household holiday budget making Salon Mondial du Tourisme travel fair one of the high potential avenues to promote destinations to the avid French travellers.