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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sri Lanka to promote its ‘Wild Pride’ for tourists

After ending 30 years war, Sri Lanka Tourism targeting to be the ‘Miracle of Asia’ has announced a new campaign focusing on eight key products, with the country’s wildlife to be heavily promoted for the first time. Sri Lanka unveiled promoting ‘Visit Sri Lanka Year 2011’ in line with this eight different product themes and a new product logo for Sri Lanka tourism was launched at World Travel Market (WTM) in London started on Tuesday.

The first seven products promote Sri Lanka's heritage, beaches, sports and adventure, wellness, scenery, friendly people and festival tourism according to reports. Officials say the wildlife tourism has not been exploited enough up until now. The tourist board is planning to promote very specific nature tourism, with a focus on bird watching or butterflies, for example.

New York Times voted Sri Lanka as No-1 destination to travel in 2010.

Nearly 50 Sri Lankan companies, the highest number of participants so far, along with the national carrier SriLankan Airlines, would be showcasing their product at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

The whole travel world meets under one roof at the second biggest global travel event World Travel Market (WTM), the global travel and tourism event in London and what open out before the visitors could be described as ‘Around the World in Four Days’.

WTM attracts more than 30,000 visitors, 5,000 trade partners (exhibitors) from 200 countries. There are around 1000 travel agents including more than 200 tour operators who sell Sri Lanka as a tourism product are also taking part in this event.

The island nation is expecting to reach the 600,000 arrivals mark for this year, the highest ever in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry history and current arrival figures already recording 550,000.

Reports reveal that up to September this year the arrivals from the United Kingdom had reached an encouraging 78,038 and industry officials predict by the end of the year, the number would exceed the 100,000.

Next year, with ‘Visit Sri Lanka 2011’ country is targeting for 750,000 international arrivals, and by 2016, the country hopes to attract 2.5 million annual visitors, and a further 30,000 beds are yet to be added over the next three years within capital city Colombo and suburbs.

According Sri Lankan Airlines chairman Nishantha Wickramasinghe country’s premier airline is hoping to secure a slot at Gatwick to increase its UK flights from 14 per week to 21. Sri Lankan is also in the process of upgrading the seats on its aircraft, introducing flatbeds in business class.

However ending war sentiments enabling the economy to boom earlier in June 2009 Sri Lanka launched a massive tag line for tourism titling ‘Small Miracle’ that cost millions for rebranding which later denied by the government which wanted to make the miracle bigger and at recent times the island is called to be the ‘Miracle of Asia’ by country’s politicians.

The continuous changing brand strategy of Sri Lanka’s tourism during the last year in turn brought up negative sentiments to the expected tourism boom according to tourism industry experts.

Sri Lanka’s wildlife is as diverse as the island itself, ranging from elephants and leopards to egg-laying turtles and a huge variety of birds. With 12%of the country chosen for wildlife with so many breathtaking 12 Nature parks such as Yala, Wilpattu and Migrant Bird Paradise Kumana and Bundala, country has diversity in Bio Genetic endemic creatures such as Elephas maximus zeylanicus (Sri lankan Elephant), Sri Lankan Leopard with a few Crocodiles, Water Monitors and 24 Indigenous species of Snakes with Cobras and many more high flying unique birds.

Country is building a tourism attracting zone with 14 islands in Kalpitiya which is famous for whale and dolphin watching along with Arugam Bay and nearly 20 new mega hotel development proposals have come out during last three months whilst many hotels in the country are undergoing a refurbishment drive.

- Asian Tribune -
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