Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) jointly with Nepal association of Tours and Travel Agents (NATTA) successfully participated in the Sales Mission held in Colombo, the major city of Sri Lanka with the objective of promoting Nepal as a destination for everyone, for the people of every age group and for every season. The main focus of the event was to highlight the Buddhist circuit of Nepal especially, Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha among the Sri Lankan outbound tour operators and media people.
Delegates of 16 people from 11 travel and tour companies along with the officials from Nepal Tourism Board and NATTA participated in the event. B2B session followed by Nepal Night, a formal ceremony was held in Ramada by Wandham, Colombo on 16th November 2021. In the program, Sri Lankan outbound tour operators, officials from Embassy of Nepal in Sri Lanka, Officials from Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau, representatives of UFTAA and IATA, official of Sri Lankan Airlines, media people were present as participants.
During the B2B session tourism fraternities from both the countries enhanced their mutual contacts and shared their business prospects and possible areas of co- operation for the benefit of both the sides. As Sri Lanka being 5th largest country with Buddhist Population in the World, the Nepalese travel trade sector came in a mission to launch various packages especially focusing on Lumbini and the surrounding area related to Buddhism. Furthermore, the adventure and nature-based products and activities available in Nepal were also highlighted among the Sri Lankan Tourism stakeholders targeting people of younger age group who have such products in the bucket list already.
In the formal program of Nepal evening, welcome remarks were put forward by acting head of the Embassy of Nepal in Sri Lanka, Mr. Bishwash Bhatta focusing on the vast potentialities of tourism in Nepal and stressing on further co-operation between both the countries for mutual benefits. Mr. Hikmat Singh Ayer, Senior Director of Nepal Tourism Board shed light on the tourism products of Nepal and the current travel protocols through the slide and video presentation. He emphasized on combining the Sea to Summit products to share benefits to the tourism fraternities of both the countries. Further he highlighted the Greater Buddhist and Ramayana Circuit and the newly available facilities in Lumbini and surrounding area. He presented the promising progress of Gautam Buddha International Airport which is expected to commence shortly that is hoped to be a turning point in making Lumbini more visible in the international market. Treasurer of UFTAA , Mr. Trevor Raja Rathnam also addressed the audience with the hope to see more traffic between two South Asian neighbors in tourism sector. NATTA president Mr. Achyut Guragain with the closing remarks thanked the audience for participating in the event within the short notice.
Apart from the main event of Sales mission, a number of informal meetings with the representatives of tourism- related organizations have also been conducted. In a luncheon meeting on 18th of November officials of Nepal Tourism Board, officials of NATTA, representative of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, representative of IATA, treasurer of UFTAA discussed on various issues regarding the promotion of tourism in Nepal and Sri Lanka. They stressed on the specific roles that can be played by different authorities for the tourism connection between both the nations. The discussion was concerned on the establishment of affordable fare of direct flight between the capital cities of Nepal and Sri Lanka which would attract more tourists in the two countries. The participants also agreed that the regular Sales Missions and FAM trips in both the destinations would be the key to promote tourism in the region and ultimately giving tourism a new height.