The grand Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Show- Mega Tourism Caravan 6 commenced its activities with a Cultural Show followed by a Banquet, fittingly named " Sri Lankan Night" at the Crystal Ballroom of the hotel " Lotte Plaza" in Moscow, on the night of 29 May 2014. Under the guidance of Ministry of Economic Development and supported by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau the event is meticulously planned and executed under the close supervision of His Excellency Udayanga Weeratunga the Ambassador to Russian Federation. The 'Sri Lankan Night' at the Lotte Plaza was showcasing the 'Beauty and Traditions' of Sri Lanka became a tremendous success and gave the right impetus to other activities to follow in the Mega Tourism Caravan 6 show.
The presence of over 200 guests at the 'Sri Lankan Night' comprising members of the diplomatic corps, leading travel and tour operators in Moscow, prominent businessmen in the tourism and tea trade, leading print and electronic media representatives and the members of the Sri Lankan community added glamour and quality to the evening.
The photo exhibition which greeted the guests on their arrival added a lot of colour to the event too with over 120 photos displayed on visits of His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka to the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Republic of Kazakhstan. The photos on display also included photos of major tourist destinations in Sri Lanka such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, Kandy, Sigiriya, Pinnawela and Nuwara Eliya along with scenic and pristine beaches on both Western and Eastern coasts, Hotels, Sri Lankan cuisine, traditional dancing and wild life. One of the highlights of the evening was the Sri Lankan Cultural Show presented by the Dance Guild of maestro Chandana Wickremasinghe encapsulating rich Sri Lankan culture through traditional dancing, drum fusions, mask dancing and a medley of folk songs.
Addressing the august gathering the Ambassador eloquently explained why Sri Lanka is considered the best tourist destination in the Asian region and the recent acknowledgement of it by many internationally renowned tour operators. He also spoke of the long standing friendship between Russia and Sri Lanka and the strong bonds between the peoples of both the countries and invited all those present from the travel trade to encourage their customers to visit Sri Lanka which the Ambassador assured would be an experience to remember.
The Crystal Ballroom of the Hotel Lotte Plaza in Moscow where the event was held is one of Moscow’s newest hotels. Situated in the heart of Moscow's shopping and financial districts, Lotte hotel is a much sought after hotel for its grandeur. Thus the hotel provided the guests with a luxurious environment to enjoy the unique evening of Sri Lankan dance and music. The “Three Michelin” star chef, Pierre Gagnaire, along with a team trained exclusively in Paris, presided over the reception which followed the cultural show.
With the auspicious beginning in Moscow the three week long “Mega Tourism Caravan 6” will conduct shows in other Russian cities of Kazan, Samara, Saratov, Volgograd and Rostov, finally culminating with the show in Yerevan the capital of Armenia. The journey of "Mega Tourism Caravan 6" will cover approximately 7000km. This show is a continuation of the programme launched by the Sri Lankan Embassy in the Russian Federation to promote tourism where the previous event the “Mega Tourism Road Show” was held in October 2013, in Ukraine.
The enormous task of organizing this 3 week long tourism promotion campaign, which has now become an annual event in the activity calendar of the Sri Lanka Tourism executed with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Russian Federation. The event has been a tremendous success during a short span of time in popularizing Sri Lanka as a tourist destination in the CIS countries. Within the first four months of year 2014 Russian tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka has increased by 81.1% owing to the heavy promotional campaigns of this nature.