The 39th edition of the world's third largest travel show IFTM Top Resa 2017 took place in Paris, Porte De Versailles from 26th -29th September 2017. Presenting the destination Sri Lanka in a unique and unparalleled manner to the avid French travel trade, Sri Lanka Tourism was able to strike an all-time high at the IFTM Travel and Tourism Fair kicked off in Paris, France on 26th September 2017. With the participation of record number of local travel partners representing 25 travel agencies, tour operators and the hoteliers, the travel fair was able to maximize the opportunity for destination representation at the French market.
The Sri Lanka delegation at IFTM Top Resa was led by The Ambassador of Sri Lanka in France H.E. Mr. Tilak Ranaviraja with Ms. Sarangi Thilakasena , Assistant Director Marketing of SLTPB, along with the high ranking officials from the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris and travel trade of Sri Lanka. The official stand opening ceremony was held at Sri Lanka stand No L039 on 26th September under the auspices H.E. The Ambassador of France, tourism officials, media and special invitees with traditional Sri Lankan dance performances of Thisaravi Dance Academy in Paris.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, H.E. The Ambassador of France noted that Sri Lanka has come a long way establishing strong diplomatic ties with France and increase of French travelers to Sri Lanka has been very encouraging in the past years and hope it will continue to flourish in future as well. Speaking on behalf of the travel trade, industry veteran Mr. Chandra Wickramasinghe of Connaissance De Ceylon remarked that it has been a pleasure to participate every year at IFTM Top Resa, the travel fair is the most sought after event in French market calendar for all trade representatives in Sri Lanka. He also added that French market will gain even higher momentum in future with increase of arrivals trend continuing to Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Pavilion at IFTM
France being the fifth largest tourism generating market to Sri Lanka, and identifying its potential for growth, actions were taken to set up an attractive stall in the IFTM, inclusive of all the tourism products related to the market. Accordingly, this year Sri Lanka Tourism stall was specifically designed to showcase 8 major themes giving much focus on promoting Sri Lankan beaches, wild life, heritage and culture that are highly favored by French Travellers.
A wide screen video wall had been setup at the center of the stand with promotional videos running continuously to give a live feeling of Sri Lanka. Ceylon tea boutique served freshly brewed Ceylon Tea throughout the IFTM Fair for all visitors which was on high demand during the fair. Moreover, Sri Lankan pavilion became the cynosure of all stands among the IFTM with the colorful cultural dance performances that added true Sri Lankan experience on the stage. With all these attractions in place Sri Lankan stall was able to attract many number of visitors with its unique design and variety of experiences offered.
Integrated Marketing Promotions - Sri Lanka Tourism made a strong marketing statement for the country by showcasing the destination in various advertising platforms, consumer promotions, PR and publicity and road shows during the period of the IFTM travel fair. This was the first time in the history of IFTM a coordinated marketing plan was launched addressing trade and consumers alike.
IFTM Official Advertising Sri Lanka Tourism launched a comprehensive online and print advertising campaign for the first time at this year’s IFTM Top Resa. Sri Lanka Tourism full page advertisements appeared in IFTM Daily official magazine on first three days of the travel fair along with half page articles about the destination’s tourism developments and new attractions. Sri Lanka Tourism advertisements also appeared on IFTM official show catalogue and IFTM official web site. On the official web site, three pop-up banners were placed as interstitials which appears on screen as the first thing when users log-in to the site. All these print and online platforms have a combined readership & viewership exceeding one million which Sri Lanka Tourism was able to reach in one go.
IFTM Official Publicity
Further three outdoor advertising panels on the IFTM Fair grounds were fully branded with Sri Lanka Tourism promotional advertisements. These panels were located directly on the pathway to the fair grounds exposing to more than 30,000 visitors who were attending the travel fair, providing high visibility for Sri Lanka Tourism destination promotional messages.
PR and Publicity during IFTM Top Resa - During this year’s IFTM Top Resa , Sri Lanka Tourism was able to secure highest number of press and media coverage in leading travel magazines. Sri Lanka Tourism was featured in the leading tourism magazine “Le Quotidien du Tourisme” with one full page article interview by Ms. Sarangi Thilakasena , Assistant Director French Market of SLTPB on latest tourism developments in French Market . There were other articles appeared on Tour Hebdo, L’Echo Touristique, Hotel and Lodge, Edgar, Monaco Madame & Altitudes, Residence Decoration and Tendance Nomad & Voyages. The publicity in these travel magazines created much hype for the destination Sri Lanka with high level of exposure in the target reader segments.
IFTM TOP RESA TRAVEL FAIR 2017
International French Gastronomy Festival (Fête de la Gastronomie) Sri Lanka Tourism also participated at International French Gastronomy Festival (Fête de la Gastronomie) was held in Paris, River Seine from 22nd -24th September 2017, to promote Sri Lankan food culture by showcasing authentic Sri Lankan cuisine, Tea varieties and Spices and tourism attractions for the French public. This year over 40 countries participated at this international event Fete de la Gastronomie, with over 15,000 French public visiting the event. Fête de la Gastronomie has gained much reputation as the premier international festival of gastronomy and food of countries around the world where Sri Lanka was able to showcase country’s culinary delights, local spices, tea and cultural performances at this most sought-after consumer event taking place in the heart of Paris.
Road Shows in Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse & Bordeaux -Sri Lanka Tourism conducted four road shows post IFTM Travel fair in key cities of out of Paris, namely Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse & Bordeaux. The road shows created an opportunity for local travel agents to meet and develop business relationships with the travel agents in the four regions where the roadshows were conducted. Representing Sri Lankan travel industry 17 companies participated for the series of French road shows and they were able to meet with their counterparts in regions where the event was conducted. Sri Lanka Tourism made destination promotional presentation and Airline presentation and key influencer’s speeches to the audience during the roadshows . For the first time after assuming duties in France , The new Ambassador designated for Sri Lanka in France H.E. Buddhi Athuda , addressed the travel agents in Marseille and Bordeaux. The new Ambassador met with the travel agents and other industry representatives including the regional media during the road shows.
SLTPB hope to continue the momentum created by these integrated marketing campaigns by planning a comprehensive destination promotional program for French market I year 2018. Meanwhile, the SLTPB and Sri Lanka Embassy of France also took steps to arrange Business Meetings, exclusive media interviews, Air Line meetings pre and post IFTM 2017. Over all, IFTM travel fair and surrounding events generated many opportunities for promoting destination Sri Lanka among French travellers where the country is targeting to attract more than 100,000 visitors from France before the end of the year 2017.
Sri Lanka Tourism’s participation in the International French Gastronomy Festival
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