Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau showed its glamourous prestige at the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) 2017, which is a spectacular and a most highlighted event in travel and tourism in India. It was held from the 15th to 17 th February 2017, in New Delhi. 47 Sri Lankan companies in the tourism industry of Sri Lanka showcased their services and products at the event. It is a considerable increase since 32 companies participated at last year’s event, and shows their growing interest year on year. The Exhibition was also a good opportunity for the participants to expand their business contacts and share their ideas about the cultural and industrial benefits which can be offered from their countries.
The Sri Lankan Pavilion showcased its creativity and the vivid, colorful attractions and the importance of choosing Sri Lanka as a preferred travel destination. The pavilion was graciously adorned with its cultural and natural attractions, lush greenery, and the exquisite beaches, wild life, Ayurvedic bliss and many more attractions. Further glamour was added by a cultural dance troupe from the Western Province Aesthetic Resort performed both at the Sri Lankan pavilion and the inauguration ceremony. Ceylon tea was served to the visitors with a view to promote "Pure Ceylon Tea" in India. Brouchers about the destination were also distributed to the visitors, which provided useful information to enable them to have an experience of a life time, which promised a holiday full of adventure and relaxation.
Mr. Karan Anand, chairman, Cox and Kings India expressed his opinion on the partnership between India and Sri Lanka. " India is a key anchor market for Sri Lanka. We have direct connectivity to various cities of India. "
The inauguration of the exhibition was held under the patronage of the Indian minister of Tourism, Mr. Mahesh Sharma on 14th February. The exhibition had representations from travel companies from 30 countries and about 900 participating agents. The Sri Lankan pavilion was declared open by the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in India H.E Chitranganee Wagiswara, on February 15th , amidst a distinguished audience, along with the Managing Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau , Mr. Sutheash Balasubramaniam, Assistant Director, Mr. Viranga Bandara , and other travel and tourism industry members. Mr. Balasubramaniam along with other tourism officials met the joint secretary, Ministry of Tourism, India, Mr. Suman Billa , and also Mr. Sumedha Ponnamperuma , Minister Counsellor ( Commercial), Sri Lanka High Commission of India , to discuss on how they can jointly promote the region and promote the Ramayana Trails and Buddhist sites.
Coinciding with SATTE 2017 panel discussion was held on sustainable tourism and the discussion aimed to support a change in policies and perception, business practices and industry outlook towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute effectively to the UNWTO’s Sustainable Development Goals. The panel also discussed ways and means to build a responsible and committed tourism sector in India.
The Panel was moderated by Ms Daniela Wagner, Director - EMEA, PATA, had Mr Junichi Kumada from UNWTO, Mr Subhash Goyal, Imm Past President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO)& Member, National Tourism Advisory Council, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, Chairman, STIC Travel Group,India , and Mr Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO, Nepal Tourism Board. Mr Suman Billa, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Govt and Mr.Sutheash Balasubramniam ,MD ,SLTPB were among the other members .
The Sri Lanka Tourism officials also had discussions with the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and Travel Agents Association of India (TAFI) members. the IATO officials showed interest in holding their first convention in Sri Lanka, with the support of Sri Lanka Tourism. In this regard, Sri Lanka Tourism is currently working with the IATO, to hold their first convention in Sri Lanka, expecting 400-500 outbound tour operators to visit Sri Lanka in the second half of the year. Further, there were discussions held with one of the largest international media companies, for partnering through glamourous events.
Mr. Subash Goyal, Imm Past President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), & Member, National Tourism Advisory Council, Ministry of Tourism, Govt. of India, and also Chairman, STIC Travel Group , India stated,
"I would like to compliment you on the very beautiful booth and the promotion done, which has inspired us to hold our first convention in your beautiful country. "
In year 2016, 356,729 Indian tourists visited Sri Lanka which was 12.8 increase compared to year 2015.