Sri Lanka made its contribution for the first time at the Dhaka Travel Mart (DTM) for the first time and was able to create a positive impact among the Bangladeshis who were keen to spend a holiday worth their expense. The travel fair was held from 22 to 24th March 2018 at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel, Dhaka. The compactness of Sri Lanka as an island, the wide range of holiday opportunities, and the ability of witnessing the cultural and natural wonders within a day enabled the Bangladeshi visitors to include Sri Lanka as their next holiday destination in their list. SLTPB participated at this fair in collaboration with the High Commission of Sri Lanka in Bangladesh. The Sri Lanka pavilion was declared open by Mr.Crisanthe De Silva, High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in Bangladesh, Mr. Shermal Perera, country manager, Sri Lankan Airlines, among other distinguished guests. Several Industry partners including Royal Holidays, Aitken Spence Travels, Bernard Tours (Pvt) Ltd, NKAR Travels & Tours, Apple Holidays and Hamoos Travels (Pvt) Ltd participated along with the SLTPB at this event.
Being one of the SAARC countries, Sri Lanka has a strong social and a cultural bond with Bangladesh, and this participation increased the relationship between the two nations. The unique diversity of cultural attractions and locations attracted the Bangladeshi visitors to flock into the Sri Lanka stall, study the colorful and informative Sri Lanka brochures, describing Sri Lanka in a nutshell. In this regard, though Sri Lanka’s participation at the fair was for the first time, it proved to be a resounding success. Most of the Bangladeshi tour operators were seen at the Sri Lanka stall, interacting with their Sri Lankan counterparts.
According to the Bangladesh Monitor, a premier travel publication in Bangladesh, Sri Lankan travel agents are receiving a good number of tourists from Bangladesh, but they wished airfares were lower, flight timings convenient and transfer of payments problems solved.
During this 3-day fair, a record number of 15,000 visitors participated, including 300 travel agents and tour operators, over 2000 representatives from different corporate and leading business houses. Since this was a B2C fair, most of the visitors were in a buying spree of various travel products, while the tour operators took the advantage of establishing networks with their counterparts from different countries.
The Dhaka Travel Mart is the biggest travel extravaganza in Bangladesh, being held under the premier travel publication of the country, the Bangladesh Monitor. It started as the first travel fair in the country, taking place in the year 2002 and since then it has been an annual event in the travel and tourism calendar in Bangladesh. Dhaka Travel Mart is a major event where all key travel, tourism, and hospitality industry partners in the country and abroad join one platform to showcase their products and services and reach out directly to the customers to explore new customers and expand market reach. Up to February 2018, Sri Lanka received a total number of 1,723 tourist arrivals from Bangladesh, where a total number of 89, 584 tourist arrivals were recorded from South Asian region.
(Courtesy : Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau)