Sri Lanka Tourism Hosts Captivating Networking Event in Kolkata

Sri Lanka Tourism, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), hosted an exclusive networking evening on a cruise over the Ganges River on 10th July 2024. This event, aimed at the travel-trade and media of Kolkata, showcased the rich cultural heritage and diverse natural landscapes of Sri Lanka, fostering invaluable business partnerships and promising to reshape perceptions of this beautiful island nation.

The evening was inaugurated by prominent figures including Mr. Thisum Jayasuriya, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau; Mr. Manav Soni, Chairman of the Eastern Region Chapter of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI); Mr. Bilolaksha Das, Chairman of the Eastern India Chapter of the Travel Agents Federation of India (TAFI); Mr. Dammika Kulathunga, Manager of Northern India at SriLankan Airlines; Mr. Debjit Dutta, Chairman of the IATO West Bengal Chapter; Mr. Sanjiv Mehra, President of SKAL International – India; Mr. Amin Asghar, President of the Kolkata Chapter of SKAL International; and Ms. Malkanthi Welikala, Manager of Marketing at the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.

“Sri Lanka – You’ll Come Back for More”

Under the resonant tagline “Sri Lanka – You’ll Come Back for More,” the event aimed to entice Indian travellers by highlighting Sri Lanka’s diverse tourism offerings. The networking evening brought together around 300 of Kolkata’s travel agents, key figures in the industry, and media representatives, who engaged with a strong delegation led by 25 Destination Management Companies (DMCs) specializing in Leisure and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions), as well as leading hotels, resorts, homestays, tour operators, and other service providers from Sri Lanka.

Strengthening Tourism Ties with India

India remains a vital source market for Sri Lanka, with nearly 200,000 Indian tourists having arrived so far this year. The extended visa-free entry for Indian nationals is expected to boost these numbers further, setting new records in 2024. Sri Lanka Tourism is committed to providing the best tourist experiences and assures Indian tourists and investors of the country’s readiness to welcome them with all necessary safety and security measures in place.

Aggressive Marketing Strategy

Sri Lanka has adopted an aggressive approach towards the Indian market by establishing a strong presence through multi-city B2B roadshows in Bengaluru, Chennai, Cochin, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Pune, Mumbai, and New Delhi. These efforts are complemented by participation in major travel trade shows like the Outbound Travel Mart (OTM) in Mumbai and the South Asia Travel and Tourism Exchange (SATTE) in New Delhi. The year-long marketing efforts will be intensified with participation in various travel exhibitions such as TTF-Kolkata and IITM-Bengaluru, IITM-Chennai and so on. Another round of B2B roadshows in other Tier-II markets is planned for September – 2024.

Showcasing Sri Lanka’s Unique Attractions

The networking evening in Kolkata highlighted Sri Lanka’s stunning landscapes, vibrant cultural heritage, and welcoming atmosphere through engaging discussions and presentations. Attendees were treated to a showcase of Sri Lanka’s varied attractions, ranging from pristine beaches to ancient temples, marking a new chapter of tourism excellence for the island nation.

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