Webinar on “ Opening of Sri Lanka and the Revival of the Hospitality Industry” organized by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Germany together with the German Travel Association (DRV) and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau ( SLTPB ) was held on 24 February 2022 with the participation of a large number of German travel agents and out-bound tour operators.
Kicking off the webinar, H.E Manori Unambuwe, Ambassador of Sri Lanka in Germany welcomed the participants and highlighted Sri Lanka’s readiness to welcome tourists and the GoSL’s successful vaccine drive and increasing emphasis and attention to the development and revival of the Tourism Industry. She further requested for the active role of German out-bound tour operators and travel agents to assist the government’s efforts for the sustenance of the industry.
Addressing the webinar, Mr. Norbert Fiebig, President of the German Travel Association welcomed Sri Lanka’s prompt actions to “open Sri Lanka fully again “ as one of the first Asian destinations to do so, especially in the context of evolving COVID situation across the globe and congratulated GoSL on its endured and far-sighted decision making to open the doors for the tourism industry.
Further, he shared his experience on time spent in Sri Lanka during one of DRV’s official tour in 2019, drawing fond memories in some of the UNESCO world heritage sites. He further highlighted the increasing contribution of German tourists to Sri Lanka’s tourisms industry. It was also highlighted the fact that as Sri Lanka is not categorized as a “ High Risk Country “ by Germany so far, the time has come for German travellers to experience the nature, culture, history and plethora of authentic culinary wonders in the South Asian island. The DRV President ensured continued assistance to encourage German tourists to visit Sri Lanka.
Mrs. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau shared insights into Sri Lanka’s resolve to opening of the Tourism Industry again and latest information on simplified health protocols and mechanisms in place to ensure the safety and well-being of every individual tourist travelling to Sri Lanka.
Mrs. Fernando also highlighted Sri Lanka’s strong credentials in the global scale as one of the best and unique wellness tourist hotspots and shared information on recent travel awards and worldwide recognition for Sri Lanka’s tourism sector as a highly professional industry.
The Chairperson elaborated on the diversity of Sri Lanka and its rich intangible cultural heritage and unperturbed wilderness, animal and plant life, biodiversity, colossal marine environment and culture of water sports.
Mrs. Fernando made special remarks on Sri Lanka’s readiness to launch Global Communication Campaign 2021 – 2025 including in Germany to promote Sri Lanka as a destination in the eyes of German speaking tourism segment soon.
Mr. Dushan Wickramasuriya, Director Marketing of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau shared a comprehensive analysis on recent tourism trends and market strategy to attract more tourists to Sri Lanka in the current context.
Addressing the gathering, Mr. Ashok Pathirage, Chairman, Srilankan Airlines shared insights on the direct connectivity from Frankfurt to Colombo and on the carriers’ plans to enter into new interlining facility agreements with reputed Airlines in the European region.
Mr. Devindra Senaratne, Former President & Senior Committee Member of theSri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), Mr.M. Shanthikumar, President of the Tourism HoteliersAssociation of Sri Lanka (THASL) and Mr. Justin Karandawala, Immediate Past President of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises of Tourism (ASMET) spoke at the webinar, emphasising on the long-standing relationship between Sri Lanka and German tourists and requested their continued support.
Ms. Verena Grossjohann, Head of Events, Trainings, Marketing of the DRV Service GmbH moderated the webinar enabling travel agents with their clarifications and better understanding of the current landscape in Sri Lanka for tourism.
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