Sri Lanka Tourism returns to exhibitions abroad
Sri Lankan tourism officials will resume participation in overseas exhibitions and trade fairs, with the kick off of the three-day Moscow International Tourism and Travel Fair starting today (September 7).
Sri Lanka has only been represented virtually at these fairs for the past 18 months, after the Covid-19 pandemic restricted travel around the world.
Sri Lanka Tourism (SLT) officials said about 13 Sri Lankan companies are participating in the Moscow fair, with the delegation including Tourism Minister Prassanna Ranatunga and SLT Chairman Kirmali Fernando, both of whom will also attend a travel fair in Ukraine. after.
Plans are also underway to send delegations to attend the IFTM show in France (5-8 October) and the World Travel Mart (1-3 November) in the UK, but vaccination requirements in host countries could be a stumbling block, officials said.
While a dozen companies have already confirmed their participation in the IFTM fair, officials say there are entry problems since France, for example, has not approved the Sinopharm vaccine which was the vaccine Most widely administered Covid-19 in Sri Lanka.
They added that in the event that entry is not permitted, overseas representatives of such companies as well as officials from the Sri Lankan embassy will represent the country instead.
Chandra Wickramasinghe, hotelier and president of the travel company Connaisance De Ceylon, stressed the importance of a physical presence at international trade fairs. “Travel fairs have a major influence on tourist destinations,” he said.
Nalin Jayasundere, Managing Director of Aitken Spence Travels, Sri Lanka’s largest incoming travel agency, said it was important to attend these shows for marketing purposes.
Sri Lanka’s physical presence at travel shows comes at a time when the industry hopes tourism will pick up by the next winter season, by which time 75% of people over the age of 30 in the country will have been fully vaccinated.
Air France and Swiss airline Edelweiss have announced their intention to resume flights to Sri Lanka in November.
Meanwhile, health officials said on Sunday that fully vaccinated tourists would be allowed to visit places of interest across the island and to frequent restaurants under a nationwide lockdown in effect since August 20. The initial 10-day lockdown has been extended twice and is due to end. September 13.