Sri Lanka’s first participation at the “ARAB HEALTH 2019”
Sri Lanka was able to showcase the best offering of her Wellness Tourism Sector to the Arab clients and almost all the travel agents while participating for the first time at the Arab Health Exhibition and Congress from January 28th to 31 in Dubai, UAE.
Sri Lankan Wellness Tourism sector delegation, revealing the huge potential Sri Lanka possessed regarding wellness tourism, offered most of the Arab clients a short holiday package of three to four days in the Island. It was also reported that the business delegates had been able to generate 100 to 120 initial business contacts with travel agents and the relevant organizations at this venue.
According to details reported, each company had conducted nearly 15 -20 business meetings with potential clients, influential travel agents during the exhibition which could result to the future business developments of the companies. The new business contacts generated in this event with the potential agents would create the platform to increase business in the best interest of Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka Consulate in Dubai and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and EDB organized this event as a collaborative programme and facilitated the following six leading companies to participate at the exhibition.
- Siddhalepa Ayurveda Resort -Wadduwa
- Barberyn Reef Ayurveda Resort -Beruwala
- Heritance Ayurveda Mahagedara -Beruwala
- Sen Wellness Sanctuary -Tangalle.
- Tree of Life -Kandy
- Reefs Edge( Kaya Resort) -Uswetakeiyawa, Negombo
The main focus of organizing this program was to introduce Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism offerings to the GCC countries as new service area and to build up business relationships between the two countries.
The Managing Director of Tree of Life, Mr. Shelly Thenuwara stated that “The program was very helpful for us to find potential clients, identify the specific client base, market segments/ intelligent/analysis to enter Middle Eastern Countries”. Mr. Sudheera Kankanamge, Managing Director, Sen Wellness Sanctuary, Tangalle said: “it was the vision of the organizing committee in providing a new working forum for our members in a pleasant and comfortable environment which helped to make our vision a reality in today’s modern wellness world as we continue to grow as a chapter”. The General Manager, Heritance Ayurveda Maha Gedara, Mr. Janaka Buddhakorala stated that “We had quite a number of potentially successful meetings pre-arranged by the consulate and we identified that there is a huge vacuum for Wellness Tourism in the market in the region”
In the previous year EDB organized specific events for the Wellness Tourism sector by inviting world renown wellness tourism experts namely Dr. Franz Linser, Linser Hospitality, Austria and Ms. Stella Photi, Wellbeing Escape, London to evaluate the readiness of the individuals to cater/attract the wellness travelers from UK/ EU to Sri Lanka and conducted two Industry seminars with the participation of over 100 participants each.
On the recommendations given by these two experts; EDB is now taking the initiative of developing a National Brand for Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism sector to position the sector internationally.
Also, EDB has taken the lead role to establish Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism Association and its initial meeting was held with the representatives of the related companies.
The EDB has identified Wellness Tourism as a focus sector in the National Export Strategy (NES) which aimed at the global positioning of the sector by country branding and promotion in the key target markets including Middle East. This strategy seeks to make Sri Lanka the ‘preferred destination for wellbeing’ in the region. Considering the above strategic objectives, organizing this event was a significant experience for Wellness Tourism sector where the companies could witnessed that there is a huge potential for Sri Lanka Wellness Tourism sector in the market and the region.
The EDB is encouraging the Sri Lankan Wellness Tourism sector to achieve the overall national Wellness Tourism goals of reaching more foreign exchange revenue to the country. Therefore, the EDB is planning to organize similar programs in other countries to explore business opportunities for Sri Lankan Wellness Tourism Sector along with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the future as well.