Syndicat National Des agents de Voyages (SNAV) – The largest Travel Agents Association in France at their Executive Board meeting on 20th October 2015 voted unanimously for Sri Lanka as the venue for their congress 2016 against other contenders. This is considered a land mark occasion for Sri Lanka Tourism not only with the winning of the bid but also the opportunity to show case Sri Lanka to over 700 French Travel Agents when they are hosted for the congress in Sri Lanka.
The Syndicat National des Agences de Voyages is a professional organization ruled by the French law of 1884. Created in 1944, It has a membership of 5,700 state approved travel agencies and tour operators of France representing more than 5,000 sales points in France. SNAV seeks to constantly develop the profession of the travel agent. Since 1962, the SNAV has also given the consumer better protection by creating the APS (the Association professionnelle de solidarité du tourisme) relating to financial guarantees. On a European level, the SNAV is a member of the ECTAA (European Travel Agents' and Tour Operators' Associations).
Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, Ministry of Tourism and Christian Affairs, Embassy of Sri Lanka in France, Tourism Promotion Bureau together with Sri Lankan Airlines and Industry stakeholders pursued the bidding process to its final success. The factors that attributed to the winning of the bid according to SLCB were several fold. First, the effective communication with SNAV in the research as to what would trigger Members' interest to vote for Sri Lanka. Second, participation of everyone with their commitment for SNAV as a collective exercise - from the Tourism Authorities, bidding Committee comprised all Tourism Associations. Third was the preparation and presenting a professional bid document which dealt with SNAV specifications with eye catching pictorial presentation of what the visitors would experience in Sri Lanka. Fourth the professional approach adapted when competing for an event of this nature reinforcing Sri Lanka's capacity to handle the event with international standard while giving the delegates a memorable experience.
Finally, the bid was formally handed over at the IFTM Top Resa to SNAV President Jean Pierre Mas and Secretary General Jean Marc Roze. IFTM pavilion of Sri Lanka after being ushered by the Sri Lankan Traditional dance troupe thus making the event colorful specially with the formal assurances given by the Government through letters of commitment by the Deputy Minister, Ambassador of France , SLCB, SLTPB as well as Industry partners CCTHA, THASL, SLAITO and Sri Lankan Airlines.
The formal announcement of Sri Lanka as the host nation of SNAV Congress 2016 will take place in Marseille, France on 18th November 2015 at SNAV Annual General Meeting. Sri Lanka will be represented by delegates including the Ministry Secretary, Ambassador of France, GM –SLCB at this occasion. Sri Lanka will showcase cultural dance performances and promotional video and food promotion, gift souvenirs at this event to create interest of the agents to visit Sri Lanka for the next year’s congress.
Currently, French tourist arrivals have moved up from 16,205 in 2009 to almost 80,000 in 2014 and this year so far the increase is almost 10%. France is a primary tourism market for Sri Lanka and through this event, Sri Lanka wishes to open her full tourism potential to French Market in the coming years. France also produces the highest number of Incentive Travelers from Europe and that is another key factor for Sri Lanka to bid for this conference where the buyers would get a firsthand experience of the development in the country with access to many locations and products at a time Sri Lanka is looking for value against numbers'. We got DMC experts who could offer creative programs with ' Wow factors' which is the USP in Incentive Travel over Leisure.
of Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) and Sri Lanka Tourism would like to thank the former Minister Naveen Dissanayake for pushing us for SNAV’ in the first place and the current Tourism Minister John Amaratunga and the Ministry Officials for their continued support with the able assistance of the Deputy Minister Arundika Fernando who led the team to Paris with the bidding team to present the bid formally. Sri Lanka Ambassador in France H.E. Tilak Ranavirajah with Commercial Counsellor Alexi Gunasekera played a key role to keep the rapport going with SNAV and ensuring Sri Lanka wins the bid. Sri Lankan Airlines both director in Paris and Officials in Colombo with their Chairman Ajith Dias were effective partners in the process with their commitment followed by Industry Associations and some of the overseas participants who became influential lobbyists for Sri Lanka for winning SNAV Congress for 2016.
The Congress will be staged in Sri Lanka from 30th October – 03rd November 2016 with the participation of around 700 French travel agents and they will be visiting Negombo, Colombo with excursions to the cultural triangle during the 5 days of the Congress.