Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) hosted a press tour for a delegation of high profile journalists from prominent media houses in India, who arrived in Sri Lanka in order to promote the destination as one of the best and the safest tourist destinations, offering a wide variety of travel opportunities for Travel enthusiasts who are keen to have a new experience. They undertook the tour from 28th August to 02nd September 2019, exploring the various cultural and natural resources Sri Lanka has to offer for Indian audience. This media crew was further recommended by the Sri Lankan Consul General’s office in Mumbai. The Group consisted of journalists from Lonely Planet India, The Times of India, Loksatta, The Indian express (pvt) Ltd, Sakal papers (Pvt) Ltd, National Geographic traveler India, Lokmat Media Group, Mumbai Messenger Newspaper, Indian Express, & Maharashtra Times online.
The main objective of this visit was to give an opportunity for the Indian media to have firsthand experience after the 21/4 incident, to explore new attractions and also to show the diversity of this country.
The media delegation also met the Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, on their visit to Sri Lanka, at the Tourism Ministry. They held discussions with the Minister and were able to get important feedback for their queries regarding the security situation and new projects implemented to encourage more tourist arrivals.
Their FAM tour included places such as Colombo, Bentota and the Lunugaga Estate, followed by a Galle city tour, visiting Udawalawa national park, Nuwaraeliya, Kandy and also visit the temple of the sacred tooth relic as well. A few of the Indian journalists expressed their impressions on Sri Lanka as an amazing destination with so much to explore. Samarphan Bhowmik from Lonely Planet India said,
‘’ There are many things I noticed on my first trip to the island country. First and foremost, the warmth exhibited by Sri Lankan people. At the same time, security checks (at airports or on road) wasn’t so cumbersome to deal with that it would put tourists off. A great balance between security and openness. Natural beauty in the country is quite breathtaking, I have not seen such colors of the ocean before. From the beaches to the mountains, I would ideally spend more time exploring the country and get detailed insights, things that aren’t always evident on a quick visit.’’
Mayura Janwalkar , from the Indian Express mentioned,
‘’Sri Lanka is a country that has great tourism potential. Its seashores and beaches are already popular but its hill stations also hold great promise. The people of Sri Lanka were warm and hospitable in every part of the country we visited. And I think Sri Lankan food can go places if tourists coming to Sri Lanka get access to Sri Lankan farms and kitchens. All in all, it was great visiting Sri Lanka and I do hope to be back some day, hopefully, soon. ‘’
The Indian media delegation also met with SLTPB officials at a reception held in Colombo in order to express solidarity and goodwill among the Sri Lankan & Indian counterparts. Mr. Kishu Gomes, Chairman, SLTPB, Ms. Madubhani Perera (Director PR), Mr. Chaminda Munasinghe (Assistant Director VJP) were among the senior officials who participated at the event. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, undertook this national promotion as a joint collaboration with the industry partners including Movenpick Colombo, Avani Bentota, Jetwing Kaduruketha, Araliya Green City, Mahaweli Reach Hotel and Heritance Negombo. Prestige destination travel company Red Apple Travels & Holidays Lanka offered ground transport with professional guide service.
Up to August 2019, Sri Lanka has seen 269,484 Indian tourist arrivals and will be expecting more Indian tourist arrivals this year.