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Sri Lanka Tourism’s second 3Day Mega Promotional campaign named “ Get Sri Lanken’ed” kicked off in style in the city of Mumbai on 10th Friday 2013 with a high profile media conference held in Taj Lands End Hotel- Salcette –Mumbai . The press conference was the first of series of events lined up under the “Get Sri Lankaned” promotional campaign of Sri Lanka Tourism, implemented with the aim of positioning Sri Lanka as a most sought after travel destination in emerging markets of the world.
Organised with joint efforts from Public and Private sectors, the “Get Sri Lankaned” campaign has been initiated under the advice of H.E the President Mahinda Rajapaksa inspired by the vision of developing sustainable tourism industry in Sri Lanka. During the press conference the Indian media was briefed about the objective of the promotional campaign and the nature of events scheduled to take place from 17th -20th May 2013 in Mumbai. The press conference was graced by the distinguished presence of the Hon. Muthu Sivalingam- Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Hon. Sanath Jayasuriya (MP) - Sri Lanka tourism Brand Ambassador, Ms.Upekka Samaratunga –Honorary Consul in Mumbai, Mr.Bhashwara Gunaratna Chairman- Sri Lanka Tourism, Mr.Rumay Jauffer – Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism, Mr.Nishantha Ranatunga- Secretary, Sri Lanka Cricket, Mr. Douglas Nanayakkara –Additional Secretary ,Ministry of Higher Education, Mr. Rohit Khosla – General Manager- Taj Group of Hotels.
Addressing the gathering the Hon. Deputy Minister -Muthu Sivalingam noted that India and Sri Lanka have many similarities as Asian Nations and the long standing relationship they have as close neighbors creates immense opportunities for both countries to share common interests, values and develop socio-economic ties with each other. “We would not call India our Big Brother, we would like to call it our elder brother” remarked the Hon. Deputy Minister emphasizing the good will existing between the two countries. He also stressed the giant efforts put into developing tourism industry by the government of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Economic Development, and it is time to reap the benefits of tourism industry of Sri Lanka.
Mr.Bhashwara Gunarathna Chairman- Sri Lanka Tourism addressing the media explained the rationale behind launching “ Get Sri Lankaned” campaign in India and how Sri Lanka Tourism plans to achieve maximum influx of Indian tourists from Indian market. “According to UNWTO reports Indian out bound tourists will rise to 50 million in 2020. Sri Lanka’s target is to attract 400,000 Indian tourists by year 2016 thus helping to reach the goal of 2.5 million arrivals by year 2016.” Mr. Gunaratna also added that “we are thankful to H.E. the President of Sri Lanka and Hon. Basil Rajapakse –Minister of Economic Development for the continuous guidance provided to carry out promotional campaigns of this nature to develop travel and tourism industry of Sri Lanka.
Hon. Sanath Jayasuriya (MP) and Tourism Brand Ambassador, captured the center of attention of the media during the press conference and in his speech mentioned that “I am glad to be in India on a different mission to cricket, my country has always supported me throughout my career as a cricketer and I am inviting all my media friends here today to help us promote Sri Lanka in India to enhance the relationship of both nations. Sri Lanka always treats everyone the same. We never had any issues with Chennai people coming to Sri Lanka. We treat them like brothers and sisters and we will continue to do that," he maintained.
Sri Lanka’s Honorary Consul General of Mumbai – Ms. Upekka Samaratunga speaking during the conference highlighted the strong diplomatic relations existing between the two countries and the strategic advantages of targeting Indian market for travel and tourism development in Sri Lanka. She noted the Mumbai has high potential for tourism growth being the economic and industrial hub of India and housing the wealthiest people who are frequent travelers and investors in many avenues of travel trade.
Mr. Rumy Jauffer –Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism, with a detailed presentation explained to the media how the Mumbai 3Day promotional campaign is planned to be execute in Mumbai from 17th -20th May 2013, and the events that would take place during the period.
Mr. Nishantha Ranatunga –Secretary of Sri Lanka Cricket adding his thoughts on the promotional campaign said that both India and Sri Lanka are now in a position to create greater advancement in their common interests beyond cricket and tourism is one major source of linking the two countries together. “We are here today because we can ensure that our country is a great destination to travel, than in 10 years back, where the picture is a different one”.
The other distinguish panel including Mr. Douglas Nanayakkara –Additional Secretary, Ministry of Higher Education added his views on the contribution made by the education frontier for tourism development and Mr. Rohit Khosla – General Manager- Taj Group also commented on the vast opportunities created for the hospitality industry of Sri Lanka by this promotional campaign.
The press conference held in Mumbai was able to attract more than 120 high profile media from the leading publications and broadcasters including Hindustan Times, Indian Express, DNA, Mumbai Mirror, Bombay Times, New Indian Express, Deccan Herald, Finanacial Express, The Hindu , NDTV, CNN –IBN, India News, Zee TV , Live India etc. creating wide coverage for the event by the Indian Media. The event was graced with the traditional Sri Lankan dance performances of the Western province dance group that captured everyone’s attention during the event.
The ‘Get Sri Lankaned’ Campaign is now all set to take off in Mumbai –India from 17th -20th May 2013 with Sri Lanka Night on 17th May with the participation of 500 high profile guests from Mumbai including Indian film sport celebrities, Sri Lankan Cricket celebrities including Sri Lankan cultural show and food festival launched on this night. The shopping mall activation will take place in Phoenix Shopping Mall in Mumbai during 17th – 19th May providing consumers with the opportunity to taste Sri Lankan food, get a glimpse of Sri Lankan Culture and traditional dancing, while DJ’s and Entertainers will interact with the audience. Live games will be organized at the Phoenix Mall and the winners will be awarded with free holiday packages to Sri Lanka.
The B2B Meetings for Travel & Tourism Industry will take place on 18th May. Travel & Investment Forum will be held 20th May with the participation CEO’s from key government & private sector organizations from India and Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Food Festival will be happening from 18th -26th May parallel to other events.
All activities including Sri Lankan Evenings, Sri Lankan Food Festivals, B2B meetings between the travel trade of the two countries and Business Seminars etc. will be launched at the Taj Land’s End in Mumbai from 10th May onwards. The events will showcase nearly 70 Sri Lankan public and private sector institutions, representing tourism, trade and investment in their joint efforts to create a single collaborative platform for promoting travel, trade and investments of Sri Lanka.