Sri Lanka is prime and ready to grow. That was the key message from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Road Show, held on Monday 27 November in Sydney. Hotels are keenly training staff to welcome Australian travellers and the country is now one of the safest destinations on Earth.
The evening began with a traditional welcome to all those at the event and those heading to Sri Lanka. The nation’s charms have been documented since the 13th-century, when Marco Polo hailed it as, “Undoubtedly the finest island of its size in the world.”
Adventure tourism is one of Sri Lanka’s biggest drawcards, offering adrenaline-seekers an array of surfing, whitewater-rafting and kite-surfing experiences along 1600km of pristine coastline. Animal-lovers can see the two biggest mammals on Earth – elephants and blue whales – on the same day and enjoy whale-watching and dolphin tours. Ancient healing rituals are practised at spa and yoga retreats, and festivals (Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Hindu) take place all year round. As Sri Lankan cuisine grows in popularity, gourmet travellers are seeking out the island and its unique flavours. Cricket is huge, and the destination is gaining traction in the wedding and cruise markets. Visa processing online and new direct flights from Melbourne to Colombo with SriLankan Airlines adds to Sri Lanka’s appeal.
The figures show Australians are embracing all that Sri Lanka has to offer. The nation welcomed 85,000 Australian travellers in the last year, making us the second biggest growth market (tourism has grown 15% each year for the past 3 years). Vision 2025 is Sri Lanka’s blueprint to prosperity, with the aim to be recognised as the best island for culture and authentic tourism experiences.
Attendees enjoyed drinks and canapés served before the official opening and throughout the networking session with representatives and exhibitors from across Sri Lanka. Throughout the evening, guests were entertained with spectacular musical and dance performances by a troupe brought over specifically for the roadshow.
Dinner featured a range of delicious traditional Sri Lankan curries and regional specialties, followed by a large prize promotion and giveaway, with plenty of happy attendees now boasting free tickets to and tours of Sri Lanka
A very enjoyable and productive evening was had by all. It showed how serious Sri Lanka is about the Australian market.