Given that the Russian economy is strangling with economic embargoes that has resulted in the currency depreciation by almost one hundred percent and Russian arrivals to Sri Lanka plunging by 32%, Sri Lanka tourism went on to invest in the market with strong brand building with focussed relationship with key travel agents and tour operators at the key Russian fair MITT that was staged in Moscow last week. "Once the economy opens out, the strong relationships can respond to selected market selection where Sri Lanka can benefit” said the Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Rohantha Athukorala.
The Sri Lanka delegation was led by the Managing Director Milanka Gajanayaka who personally took the responsibility to ensure the Sri Lanka booth was up and running when the suppliers at the MITT fair found it tough to meet the stringent standards that Sri Lanka tourism sets for its global marketing promotions. Total number of 11 leading tour operators participated at the MIIT this year including Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts, Aitken Spence Travels, Deluxe Vacations (Pvt) Ltd., Delux Holidays (Pvt) Ltd., Pigion Island Resort, Long Beach Resort & Spa, Connaissance De Ceylon, Exotic Holiday International (Pvt ) Ltd, Bernard Tours (Pvt ) Limited., Green Holiday Center (Pvt) Ltd and Concord Exotic Voyages Lanka (Pvt) Ltd. Sri Lankan representatives were able to meet with the top tour operators of Russia during the show such as PAKS Tours, Russian Express, TZ Tours, KOMPAS Tours etc. creating a golden opportunity to revive business strategy during this challenging period of time.
The highlight of the conference was the Ceylon Tea Boutique that catered to the visitors with single origin Ceylon Tea which was staged in partnership with the Sri Lanka Tea Board that drew a large crowd for the Ceylon tea experience. Sri Lanka Tourism stand stood elegant at the show featuring all aspects of destination promotions with live video screens attracting all visitors. The Sri Lanka Embassy staff in Russia and the Sri Lanka Tourism brand manager of Russian market Mr. Viranga Bandara played a key role in achieving promotional goals of MIIT.
Sri Lanka Tourism hope to roll out focused advertising and PR strategy for the Russian market including media promotions and setting up video walls with promotional videos in high populated areas such as red square to further develop the avenues in promoting the destination to counter present situation in the Russian market.