Being located approximately 5,400 Km away from Sri Lanka, Israel has shown an increasing attention on Sri Lanka over the recent years as a unique tropical destination in the Indian Ocean with great surfing locations similar to Miami beach (USA) and Jaws, Maui-Hawaii.
Giving consideration to the importance of showcasing the exquisite Sri Lankan cuisine in Israel, Sri Lanka Tourism organised an authentic Sri Lankan culinary festival & tourism promotion with the collaborative partnership of The Sheraton Hotel Tel Aviv- Israel, and Kingsbury Hotel Colombo. The Sri Lankan food festival took place from 7th to 18th May. This was the very first event of its kind (Culinary Tourism) to be organised in Israel by Sri Lanka Tourism.
The Sri Lankan food festival was kicked off with a grand opening ceremony on 7th May 2017 with the country’s top media houses, food bloggers and elite diplomats who were invited for this ceremony to explore ‘what is truly Sri Lankan’. The event took place for 12 days and highly skilled Chefs from the Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo contributed their valuable service for this food festival by creating truly Sri Lankan culinary dishes for the Israeli food lovers. During this food festival, The Kingsbury hotel’s Culinary team collaborated with the Sheraton Hotel, Tel Aviv to create various Sri Lankan cuisines from traditional to street food to offer greater culinary exposure on destination Sri Lanka.
With this culinary tourism promotion activity Sri Lanka Tourism in collaboration with Sri Lanka mission in Israel expected to offer new tourism products for Israeli travellers based on their consumer behaviours where it will create a greater impact on decision making process when Israelis select their holiday destinations for upcoming holidays. Overall this food festival created greater awareness among the public about destination Sri Lanka and further encouraged Israel’s outbound travel agents to promote Sri Lanka within their potential clientele.
According to Mr. Yariv Fisher, ‘‘currently, most young Israelis are excited to travel to destinations like Sri Lanka’’. He is the CEO at Fly East which is one of the leading outbound travel operator companies in Israel which is responsible for over 50 percent of Israeli tourists’ arrivals to Sri Lanka. Young & middle aged Israel families travelling to Sri Lanka have grown dramatically, since Sri Lanka is considered as a peaceful country with a large number of natural wonders to excite their children and create a memorable holiday experience full of fun and adventure. Currently, Turkish Airlines are providing flight services to Sri Lanka via Istanbul and Maldives, and is expected to have a direct flight service within both countries.
During the event all the distinguished invitees were welcomed by The Honourable Ambassador for Sri Lanka H.E Mr. P. Selvaraj and explained about the central features of Sri Lankan cuisines, Sri Lanka’s ancient historical roots, rich cultural values, multi-religious influences and many other aspects which makes Sri Lanka amazing, unique & a satisfying holiday destination. Mr. Chaminda Munasinghe –Junior Manager of Public Relations division at the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau also addressed the invitees by highlighting the importance of culinary tourism promotion to attract more Israeli travellers to Sri Lanka during upcoming seasons and conveyed Sri Lanka Tourism’s gratitude for the management of Sheraton Hotel, Tel Aviv & Sri Lanka Mission in Tel Aviv, Israel for creating such a great opportunity for Sri Lanka. Mr. Patrick Mudalige- The Executive Manager of the Sheraton Hotel, Tel Aviv gave his fullest support together with his team by organising all the ground arrangements for the Sri Lankan delegation.
With a population of only 8 million in the State of Israel, approximately 12 million international departures are made every year by locals. Most Israelis make one or more international travel per year mostly on leisure or business purposes. The urban population of ‘Tel Aviv’, is approximately 411,800, which is also the financial hub of the country and is further considered to be the 3rd largest economy of the Middle Eastern region after Abu Dhabi & Kuwait. It has one of the highest living standards in the world and considered to be the 25th most important financial centre in the globe. With a high income, the majority of the population carry higher possibilities of traveling abroad on their holidays.