SriLankan Airlines could consider returning to Frankfurt, Germany later this year after its restructuring is completed under a new investor,
stated Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga during the international press briefing held at the ITB press centre yesterday.
Sri Lanka Tourism is representing ITB with its largest-ever delegation of over 140 participants from the Sri Lankan travel trade.
The fair saw presentations from 10,000 exhibitors including hotels, resorts, travel companies, airlines, agents and travel journalists from nearly 190 countries.
Responding to questions from journalists, Amaratunga emphasised that the Government was committed to improving connectivity from Europe, especially from Germany, to further boost growing numbers.
“But now we are targeting all high-end travellers to Sri Lanka. Though we are keen on the numbers of the arrivals, Sri Lankan Tourism is looking at the yield not the headcount. We have an extraordinarily good product, so we need to attract good spenders to our country,” he said
Press conference participants included Tourism Minister Amaratunga, Ambassador to Germany, Karunathilaka Amunugama, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana, SLAITO President Devindra Senaratne, Hoteliers Association President Sanath Ukwatta and the President of ASMET.
Speaking at the press briefing, Ambassador Amunugama said German travel agents as well as the German Government were keen to help Sri Lanka to achieve higher targets of tourism arrivals.
Meanwhile, International Media Market (IMM) had its inaugural media event in Germany on 7 March. The event, which took place at Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin, brought together leading journalists from Western Europe, predominantly from German-speaking countries.
Over 135 journalists representing well-established media houses in Europe participated in the event to meet 75 exhibitors representing 25 countries including Sri Lanka. IMM enabled participating exhibitors to schedule online appointments with journalists prior to the event.
In regard to the IMM, Sri Lanka Tourism’s Additional Marketing Director Dushan Wickramasuriya said it hoped to attract over 120 top travel journalists to Sri Lanka this year.
Under the ‘Visiting Journalists Program’ of Sri Lanka Tourism, journalists are invited on fully-sponsored press trips in return for predetermined media publicity in identified international print and digital media.
The Sri Lanka pavilion was the star attraction at ITB Berlin 2017. The Sri Lanka Stand was bedecked with scenic pictures of Sri Lanka and videos were relayed spotlighting the major attractions of the country.
A wide variety of ‘Ceylon Tea’ was served to visitors at the stand. The curtain will come down on ITB 2017 on Sunday, 12 March. (Daily FT)