The High Commission of Sri Lanka together with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) organised Sri Lanka’s participation at the MATTA Fair, B2B and also at the ‘Sri Lanka Tourism Extravaganza’ at JW Marriott in Malaysia from 7-9 September.
Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga, MP accompanied by High Commissioner of Sri Lanka A.J.M. Muzammil and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Dehan Seneviratne, were received by MATTA President Datuk Tan Kok Liang, MATTA CEO Phua Tai Neng and the Exco members of MATTA at the PWTC Exhibition Centre.
The official welcome ceremony was held at the Sri Lanka Pavilion and the visitors were able to witness a traditional Sri Lankan dance by the Channa Upuli Dance Troupe creating a truly Sri Lankan ambiance. Datuk Tan Kok Liang and Phua Tai Neng also joined the Sri Lankan dance troupe performance.
16 leading Sri Lankan travel agents also participated at the MATTA Fair 2018. The Fair attracted a large number of visitors and were able to position Sri Lanka as a leading tourist destination in Malaysia. MATTA Fair attracted leading travel agencies from Malaysia and over 200,000 visitors.
The High Commission and SLTPB organised a Tourism Forum and B2B for over 100 travel agents from Malaysia at the JW Marriott on 8 September. This gave the Sri Lankan travel agents an opportunity to develop closer ties with their counterparts in Malaysia.
On the invitation of John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia YB Muhammad Bakhitar bin Wan Chik Deputy attended Sri Lanka: Wonder of Asia Extravaganza as Guest of Honour. A.J.M. Muzammil, Dehan Senaviratne, and Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agent (MATTA) Vice President Sinnadurai S. Jayakumar were also present at the event.
The Sri Lankan Tourism Minister recalling the close ties between Sri Lanka and Malaysia thanked Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia for attending the event. Amaratunga specially thanked High Commissioner Muzammil for organising this event which is truly an extravaganza well-choreographed in keeping with the Sri Lankan cultural traditions. The Minister acknowledged the role played by the High Commissioner over the past two years to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination in Malaysia.
The Malaysian Minister was overwhelmed by the truly Sri Lankan ambiance created at the Extravaganza promoting Sri Lanka’s eight tourism themes in Malaysia. The Malaysian Deputy Minister thanked the High Commissioner for the role played to promote the destination Sri Lanka.
High Commissioner Muzammil while thanking Amaratunga and YB Muhammad Bakhitar for gracing the occasion went on to recall the special relations that existed between the two countries over the years. The High Commissioner specially thanked Senaviratne and his team for all the support given to make the event a success.
The Sri Lanka: Wonder of Asia Extravaganza was attended by approximately 500 invitees which includes Malaysian VIPs, diplomatic community, officials, leading Malaysian travel trade, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, academics and the Sri Lankan community.
The Extravaganza promoted Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and highlighted the rich cultural heritage where the Malaysia nationals will have the opportunity to reminisce with Sri Lanka tourism eight themes namely Heritage, Festive, Pristine, Scenic, Essence, Thrills, Wild and Bliss and has given a glimpse of Sri Lankan tradition, culture and cuisine creating a truly Sri Lankan ambiance.
A tourist guide book containing eight themes of tourism was published for the potential Malaysian nationals visiting Sri Lanka in Bahasa Melayu for the first time and presented to the Deputy Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture of Malaysia at the event.
On the side-lines of the Extravaganza a press conference was also held where a number of print and electronic media participated.
Guests were able to enjoy the music by Bathiya, Santhush, and Umariah and also traditional dance Channa and Upuli Dance Troupe. Jananath Warakagoda also entertained the guests with his traditional drum fusion.
The eight themes of tourism were choreographed with the music and dance using state of the art technology promoting and position Sri Lanka as a tourism destination in Malaysia.
At present there are four airlines operating 39 flights a week. The Sri Lanka; Wonder of Asia Extravaganza gave an ideal opportunity to brand Sri Lanka during the MATTA Fair giving practical meaning to the MOU signed during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena to Malaysia in December 2016.