Azerbaijan is considered as an emerging market in the CIS region. Due to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine it is important to expand the promotional activities in other potential CIS countries in the region. Therefore, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has made arrangements to organize series of Trade familiarization tours ( FAM Tour) from CIS region in collaboration with Nawaloka Aviation, GSA for Air Arabia. The first such trade familiarization tour was organized for 16 travel agents, from Azerbaijan from 08th November to 14th November 2022, considering the importance of attracting more tourists to Sri Lanka by creating great awareness on the destination.
The main purpose of this FAM tour was to convey the messages to the travelers that Sri Lanka is a safe and an attractive destination for tourism, filled with a myriad of holiday opportunities to choose from. Also, to spread a positive atmosphere about the prevailing situation in the country to emphasis that Sri Lanka is ready to welcome the travelers. Hence, it was decided to showcase the tourism products and services to these group of Travel agents by giving them the opportunity to experience a tour in Sri Lanka with the purpose of attracting more tourists from CIS region, also encouraging them to promote the destination among potential travelers as one of the best destinations to visit during their holiday season. The Travel agents were impressed by the beauty and culture of the destination, and most importantly, the warm hospitality of its people.
With the first initiative taken by the Sri Lanka Tourism in organizing a meeting with all the Airlines in Sri Lanka, Air Arabia has offered their assistance to Sri Lanka Tourism for the promotional activities in CIS region. Another significant opportunity is that Air Arabia currently flies to 170 destination including many of the countries in CIS region such as Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Georgia which has a great potential in attracting tourist to the country. Air Arabia has extended their collaboration by choosing the key travel agents in Azerbaijan and further supporting by providing the return air tickets for all 16 travel agents.
During their stay in Sri Lanka the Agents group visited some of the main attractions in Sri Lanka including Kandy, Sigiriya , Eco Park Safari and Southern Beaches.
Support was extended by Aitken Spence Travels, Heritance Kandalama, The Earls Regency, Sheraton Kosgoda, Radisson Blu, Siddhalepa Ayurveda Resorts and Spa, hotel RIU, EKHO hotels, Browns Hotels, Citrus hotels and Tangerine group of hotels for ground arrangements.
Furthermore, SLTPB gave the opportunity to develop new business contacts to promote the destination for the local travel trade partners and hoteliers by arranging a successful B2B session at Taj Samudra on the 12th November including DMC’S and Hoteliers. Ms.Padma Siriwardana, Managing Director of SLTPB made a welcome speech and addressed the Azerbaijan Travel Agents at the B2B event on behalf of Sri Lanka Tourism. Ms. Sasika Jayaweera, Assistant Director in charge of Russia and CIS countries at SLTPB coordinated this Familiarization tour.
The Tourism Industry is gradually progressing forward with its growth of tourist arrivals, and has a positive attitude of regaining its former status as one of the most sought-after holiday destinations. In this context, this Travel Agents Familiarization Tour would further give a boost to the industry in attracting more tourists from CIS Region.