In order to revive the tourism industry, Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, invited the heads of Tour Operator Associations worldwide to visit Sri Lanka after the 21/4 incident. As a result of this invitation, Mr. Dennis Bunnik, Chairman of the Council of Australian Tour Operators, (CATO) met the Hon. Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga and other SLTPB officials’ in Sri Lanka recently. He was also accompanied by Mr. Kevin Bishop, General Manager of Bunnik tours operation in Sri Lanka.
Picture shows the Hon. Minister meeting Mr. Dennis Bunnik, during his visit to Sri Lanka, with Hon. Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, Mr. Kishu Gomes, Chairman, SLTPB, Ms. Charmarie Maelge , Managing Director SLTPB , Mr. Dushan Wickramasuriya , Director Marketing , Ms. Chami Lanka Gasnawage , Officer in charge of the Australian market , and Ms. Anne Amaratunga, Public Relations officer to the Hon. Minister.
Australia has proven to be a very resilient market for Sri Lanka in 2018. Tourist arrivals from Australia recorded a total of 110,928 and a growth rate of 37% during this period. In 2019, the expected target of tourist arrivals is seen as 149, 752, and this number does not account of ethnic visitors holding dual passports. Up to July 2019, 52,698 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka and in 2019 a growth of 36% from the Australian market is expected.
Australia has an outbound travel of 8.4 million and has a population of 23.77 million. Their main purpose of travel is Holidaying, visiting friends & relatives, Business and other purposes.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, (SLTPB) had a large contingent of tour operator’s /travel agents visiting Sri Lanka in July this year. Seen in the picture is the delegation of Australian travel agents on their visit to Sri Lanka in July 2019.
SLTPB conducts promotions through participating in trade fairs, special consumer events, and conducting tour operator programmes and FAM visits. Subsequently between March –July this year, a bill board advertising campaign was carried out in Melbourne & Sydney, whereas a consumer event is scheduled to be held in Sydney from 23rd & 24th November 2019.
During his visit to Sri Lanka, Mr. Dennis Bunnik said that Sri Lanka is a fast selling tourist destination which has the potential to attract a large number of tourist arrivals due to its cultural and natural resources and various holiday opportunities. He has seen the market picking up rapidly with queries to visit Sri Lanka. He further said that none of his clients had canceled any of their visits or postponed them. He has been a loyal supporter of the SLTPB for several years and believes that Sri Lanka has everything in store for every travel enthusiast. He believes that Sri Lanka can attract the Australian market as Sri Lanka can be promoted as a popular destination among Australians.
Hon. Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga appreciated Mr. Bunnik’s visit to Sri Lanka and loyalty towards SLTPB with several key promotional activities to boost tourism in Sri Lanka. Mr. Bunnik expressed that one reason for Sri Lanka to be popular among Australians are its culture, natural attractions and the common interests of cricket.
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