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Ministers Initiative in Thailand pays Dividends

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Thai monks staying for a group photograph with the Minister

 

Sri Lanka has seen a positive increase in the number of tourist arrivals from Thailand, as a result of the initiative taken by the Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga to develop the untapped Thai outbound Market. A delegation led by Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga, accompanied by Mr. Felix Rodrigo – the Senior Advisor to the Minister and Mr. Jeevana Fernando – Assistant Director of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) visited Thailand as the first initiative to showcase Sri Lanka at the Thai International Travel Fair, and subsequently on a separate exercise along with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Thailand, supported by SLTPB in organizing an event called THAIFEX World of Food Asia, which was held from 28th May to 1st of June 2019,  combining a Consumer promotion, Food tasting and export products by the Exporters registered with Export Development Board. 15 Destination Management Companies from Sri Lanka participated at this event, which was highly successful. Thailand has proven itself to   be a very crucial market for Sri Lanka, sharing similarities between culture, heritage and religion of the two nations. Ms. Kshenuka Seneviratne , former ambassador  for Sri Lanka in Bangkok also participated at this event.

On this mission, the next strategy of the Hon.  Minister was to meet the high profile Buddhist (Monks) within Thailand who control the entire Thai population, where 93% of the citizens are Buddhists. During the visit, the ministerial delegation also had a detailed discussion with the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand to identify measures taken by Thailand during crisis situations, which could be applied to Sri Lanka, respecting the directions given by the Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to execute more PR Campaigns as recovery measures.  The Minister invited the Governor to visit Sri Lanka with a Delegation of Travel Agents, Media and also Buddhist Monks.

After accepting the invitation of the Hon. Minister the Deputy Governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) responded by visiting Sri Lanka with 38 Travel Agents, 20 media on a three-day Familiarization tour hosted by SLTPB and also 45 Buddhist Monks visiting Sri Lanka on the 5-day pilgrimage alongside   with a FAM tour, from June 27th to the 1st of July 2019.

During their stay in Sri Lanka the group of Buddhist Monks had an exclusive opportunity to meet the President Maithripala Sirisena and further develop the religious and cultural ties between the two nations.

Thai Buddhist monks meeting H.E president Maithripala Sirisena on their visit to Sri Lanka

A memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation between Sri Lanka and Thailand was signed on 27th June 2019, as a result of the Hon. Ministers visit. The MOU signing was followed by a series of events such as a Media Briefing for Thai Media, Business to Business Meetings among Sri Lanka and Thai travel Industry, Media briefing for Sri Lankan Media and a Dinner reception which took place at the Hilton Colombo.