The Sri Lanka Consulate General in Mumbai together with the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) organised two MICE (Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences, Exhibitions) promotion events on 13 and 15 November in Mumbai and Pune respectively. This was the first time that a series of MICE promotion events has taken place in Western India to promote Sri Lanka as an ideal destination for global corporate events.
India is the largest MICE market for Sri Lanka with over 33,990 arrivals in 2018. Financial hub Mumbai and start-up hub Pune are extremely important markets for Sri Lanka’s MICE industry in targeting the growing business world and corporate sector.
The Sri Lanka delegation comprised officials of Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB), 14 travel and tour operators and two award-winning craftsmen. The key players of the travel trade in Western India, outbound MICE agents, corporates, association heads, incentive houses and media were in attendance.
A media interaction was held prior to the events in Mumbai and Pune to brief local media on the safety of the country and positive developments in Sri Lanka tourism industry following the Easter Sunday attacks. Delivering the opening remarks, Consul General Chamari Rodrigo welcomed the distinguished gathering and thanked them for their interest and support towards Sri Lanka when its tourism has been going through a recovery period after the April setback. She remarked that the recovery process of Sri Lanka tourism is faster than anticipated and regaining its status as an attractive MICE destination. While urging the travel trade to support Sri Lanka in jointly promoting the destination for the Indian market, she invited industry leaders to “join forces to bring Sri Lanka back on track and even beyond”.
SLCB Marketing Manager Malkanthi Welikala made a presentation on ‘Why Sri Lanka?’ positioning Sri Lanka as a preferred MICE destination and showcasing its opportunities and unique offerings for Indian travellers. SriLankan Airlines Western India Manager Ruwan Wijekoon in his presentation highlighted that Sri Lanka and India have been well-connected through air connectivity, which is the largest and widest air link. Two Indian companies that visited Sri Lanka for their conventions shared their experiences at both events to create interest amongst the Indian travel trade to promote the destination.
The program also included a ‘mask making demonstration’ by the award-winning Sri Lankan craftsmen during the B2B meetings with the travel and tour operators. Mask-making is a unique industry in Sri Lanka and the demonstrations received wide media coverage in Mumbai and Pune.