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Sri Lanka Tourism highlighted it's potential to promote the destination as a major tourist attraction at the Jeddah International Travel and Tourism Exhibition (JTTX-8) in Jeddah, which was held at the Convention Center- Jeddah Hilton, from 28th February to 2nd March, 2018. In parallel to the main event, a roadshow was also held on 26th February, 2018, which enabled Sri Lankan industry participants to showcase their products and get the maximum advantage of strengthening their business partnerships with their foreign counterparts. Sri Lanka has identified the Middle Eastern market as an important source market for the growth of tourism sector. Sri Lanka has participated at this fair in the previous years as well, and the Middle East market has shown a growing interest towards Sri Lanka as a preferred travel destination which has direct Air connectivity between the two nations. Sri Lanka Tourism was represented by Mr. Ajantha Rathnayake, Assistant Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.
The main objective of participating at this travel exhibition was to create awareness about the Sri Lanka Tourism products, Promoting Sri Lanka Tourism in the Middle East, especially in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, promoting Ceylon tea throughout the Middle Eastern region, and providing the local trade industry participants to have one to one meetings with KSA operators. The industry participants were also able to share their experiences with the local tour operators who had been dealing with tourists and further promote the destination via more information gathered about Sri Lanka. The roadshow hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism was held prior to the exhibition, in order to create awareness about Sri Lanka as a travel destination and increase the number of tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia, through presentations and B2B meetings. Sri Lanka Tourism was accompanied by leading hotels in Sri Lanka and tourism stakeholders, meeting up with Jeddah’s leading travel companies. The Sri Lankan delegation included representatives from Movenpick Hotel, Centauria travels, Asian adventures, Holiday park, Walkers tours, Exotic Global Holiday, Lanka holidays .net and figco Lanka holidays.
Mtr. Ajantha Rathnayake, Assistant Director,Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, expressed, ‘’ Sri Lanka is a compact island with a vivid diversity of locations, beaches and everything that an ideal traveler requires. The Middle East is a major source market for Sri Lanka, and contributes a great deal for the growth of the tourism sector. Complete with the natural resources, wild life, beaches,picturesque locations and Ayurveda, Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for Middle Eastern families who like to have a different holiday experience in a different destination’’.
By participating at the JTTX 2018, Sri Lanka was able to present its wide range of unique holiday experiences for the ideal traveler. The Sri Lanka stand, which turns out to be an impressive result of the creativity and teamwork carried out by Sri Lanka tourism was a major attraction at the fair, drew out a large number of visitors, curious to know what the Sri Lanka stand had to offer. Attracting 50,000 tourist arrivals fromKSA in 2018 with high spenders is also one aim of Sri Lanka Tourism this year, and also to increase the arrivals of travel journalists, tour operators and bloggers to Sri Lanka.
During 2017, Sri Lanka recorded 35, 481 tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia. Sri Lanka hopes to increase the number further by the end of this year, with the initiative of highlighting Sri Lanka as a compact and a safe destination for Middle Eastern travelers.
Opening ceremony with HRH Prince Abdulaziz Bin Faisal Bin Abdulmajid lighting the oil lamp