Sri Lanka tourism Promotion Bureau launched a major charm offensive in China recently, courting some of the most popular travel agencies and tourists in a bid to lure more Chinese visitors to the city. Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian religious affairs John Amaratunga even highlighted the possibility of lifting the visa fee for Chinese visitors, seeing that the country is ready to welcome Chinese tourists again.
In conjunction with the exhibition, Sri Lanka Tourism also held a special media briefing for Chinese and International media outlets on June 17th at the China World Hotel in Beijing. Over 60 media outlets and 40 representatives from airlines and travel agencies participated in the event, which included China’s CCTV, People’s Daily, Global Times, China Radio as well as Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and China southern airlines. The minister speaking at the event highlighted that China was one of the key markets to Sri Lanka and he was keen on lifting the visa fees to Chinese tourists.
Sri Lanka tourism participated in the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2019 which is recognized as one of the most influential and famous international expositions sponsored by the Beijing Culture & Tourism Administration, organized by Beijing Relation Conference and Exhibition. Hon. Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife & Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga graced the occasion as a special guest.
Every year, BITE serves as an important for exchange as well as a trade platform for promotion of global tourism resources and products. BITE 2019 was held for the 16th successive year which went on from June 18th – 20th. BITE, the largest international travel exhibition in China, is an important exchange and trade platform for promoting the global tourism resources and products and stimulating tourism consumption.
It features comprehensive multi-field exhibition projects such as tourism investment and finance, tourism real estate, tourism commodities, special towns, tourism, intelligent tourism, sports tourism, medical tourism, outdoor tourism, RV camping tourism and much more.
China is Sri Lanka’s second largest source market which drew 265,965 tourists last year. China has over 150 million outbound tourists, increasing 14% year-on-year. At the presser, questions were posed by attendees on the current situation in the country. Minister John Amaratunga, Ambassador to Sri Lanka in China and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Kishu Gomes updated the media on the current situation in Sri Lanka and that the country was safe to travel to.
In parallel with the participation at the fair and presser, Minister John Amaratunga also undertook a special visit to the Yunnan College of Tourism in Kunming, China. The Ministerial delegation including the Minister of Tourism Development, Wild Life & Christian Religious Affairs; Hon. Minister John Amaratunga, Senior Advisor to the Minister; Mr. Felix Rodrigo, the Coordinating Secretary to the Minister; Mr. R.A.P. Ariyaratne, Assistant Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau; Mr. Chinthka Liyanaarachchi visited the Yunnan College of Tourism in Kunming, China on 17th June, 2019 during their visit to China.
Mr. Zhang Jinglong; President of Yunnan College of Tourism, Mr. He Ligui; Head of Yunnan Provincial Culture & Tourism Department, Mr. Sheng Wei; Director of International Cooperation, Ms. Li Jiaxin; Director of International Cooperation, Division of Yunnan College of Tourism and Mr. Pan Guangyou; Deputy Director of office participated at the event, in order to represent China.
The main objective of this visit was to strengthen the ties between Sri Lanka and China & during the Minister’s visit to Yunnan College, the benefits Sri Lanka Tourism can receive from the Yunnan College of Tourism in Kunming, China were discussed in detail with the officials of the Yunnan College. Further, this visit provided a massive chance to discuss about, how to develop Sri Lanka Tourism in Kunming, China.
As a result of this visit, the Yunnan College of Tourism also gave the opportunity for Chinese speaking Tour guides from Sri Lanka to participate in their Chinese Speaking Elite Tour Guides Training Programme, titled as ‘’ Sino – ASEAN Tourism Personnel Education & Training Base ‘’ which will be conducted from Oct. 13th – Nov. 2nd ,2019. Furthermore, Sri Lanka Tourism was also fortunate enough to receive the award for the “Best Organization” at the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2019.