Sri Lanka Tourism at EXPO 2020 DUBAI records having earned over USD 124,000 worth of media coverage presenting destination Sri Lanka, at the Sri Lanka Pavilion; on CNN Arabia, CNBC, SKY, Dubai TV, Abu Dhabi TV and Sharjah TV alongside being featured in the Khaleej Times and numerous magazines and periodicals and newspapers carrying over 40 articles, in just two months from commencement of exhibition.
Inaugurated on 1st October 2021 running through to 31st March 2022, among 192 countries boasting of mega stalls and making a hi tech presence, there is the Sri Lanka Pavilion, making a small but vibrant presence on 212 square metres at the 1,083 acre exhibition grounds, presenting Sri Lanka’s offer to the world, registering just below 30, 000 visitor to 28thNovember, housed in the ‘Opportunity District’ of the Expo Village, participating with dignity overcoming many challenges.
Sri Lanka Pavilion’s success is due to the efforts of eight government agencies: Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau, Export Development Board, Ceylon Tea Board, National Gem and Jewellery Authority, Laksala, the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, Port City and Board of Investment working in harmony with the able support of the Consular Office in Dubai under the guidance of the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates based in Abu Dhabi. Sri Lanka Tourism leads the efforts where a touristic perspective is taking frontline in the presentations. Port City and Board of Investment are assigned to drive investment promotions at Expo 2020 Dubai where Port City has established themselves and are B2B networking and establishing connectivity at the global event.
Opportunity provided for the Travel and Tourism industry representatives to be present at the Sri Lanka Pavilion, operating on a rotation basis, making new contacts with Walk In Visitors to the Pavilion and getting new market opportunities which is the objective of the participation in a global exhibition of this nature, running for a total period of six months. Travel and Tourism industry is being further assisted through a Travel B2B forum to be held in January 2022 which will connect them with the middle-eastern and global travel and tourism community to better explore strategic business opportunities.
Sri Lankan companies which are part of the Retail Corner have been able to make connections and pipeline project deals, and two of our featured companies from the retail corner which has participated now have been able to test their product and attain consumer insight and review their market entry into the Dubai market by their presence at the Sri Lankan Pavilion.
“In comparison with the other countries participating at the Expo2020, the Sri Lankan Pavilion provided us with a golden opportunity to exhibit our products at the Retail Corner we were exposed to several potential buyers, distributors and wholesalers and got information on market entry into the Middle Eastern markets as well as other markets. We are truly grateful for the opportunity” Ahmed Mohsin, Export Manager, Macksons Paint Industries (Pvt) Ltd
“We were able to reach a wide range of people and markets and now can explore new opportunities in the Middle Eastern, European and Indian markets. It was an amazing experience being part of Expo 2020 and it has opened many doors for us to introduce our products to international markets. CDDEF is grateful for the opportunity to display and promote our products at the Expo 2020 Dubai” Ms. Sachini De Fonseka, General Manager – Business Development and Strategic Planning, CDDEF Group of Companies, Premier Coconut based Exporter.
Small and medium enterprises exhibit alongside big names in tea and high value gems, opportunity to many industries. There was cane craftsman in the ‘Craft Corner’ who drew attention as did batiks, Sri Lankan puppetry and creativity in brassware. At the ‘Retail Corner’ of the pavilion, value added coconut by-products are a huge draw as well as world renowned Sri Lankan spices. Ayurvedhic products and soaps infused with local fragrances are due in the coming months to interest and delight consumers. As each retailer is given a dedicated time span for exhibition another set of retailers prepare to participate in the ‘Retail Corner’ and by this rotating scheme more individuals get an opportunity to engage with potential buyers. Laksala is also given a separate souk to showcase and to sell Sri Lankan arts and crafts outside the Sri Lankan Pavilion paving more opportunities for SMEs at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Events and Engagements
Cultural events added diversity with large number of delighted visitors at each of the events- the Drum Festival, the Song Dance and Drama Show, the Drums of Sri Lanka and an Evening of Traditional Dances each attracting and showcasing Sri Lankan vibrancy at this global event.
Celebrity Chef Dharshan Munidasa made a guest appearance and delivered a beautifully crafted presentation on Sri Lankan Food, Seafood and Spices at the Sri Lankan Pavilion to an enticed crowd.
VIP visitors impressed
H.E. Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh Minister of State to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Cabinet and Executive Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market and Chairman of Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) the International Financial Centre in the UAE’s capital city; the German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dr. Gerd Müller; the Speaker of the People’s Majlis of the Maldives Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, spending time at the Sri Lanka Pavilion was an added impetus to all.
In the month of December
The next planned event is ‘Wedding Fantasy’ scheduled for 21st December, showcasing Sri Lanka as an attractive wedding destination. On 24th December at the ‘Children’s Book Reading’ renowned children’s author Sybil Wettasinghe’s book ‘Sun Rain and the Foxes wedding’ is featured at the Sri Lanka Pavilion.
A ‘Gem & Jewellery Raffle Draw’ is yet another attraction on the cards for December along with a Gem promotion in the month of December/January.