The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Manila, in cooperation with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), organized a tourism promotion and high-level networking session themed “So Sri Lanka: The Resplendent Island” on 5 February 2020 at Shangri-La Makati. The event was held in line with the SLTPB’s participation at the PTAA Travel Tour Expo 2020.
Filipinos travelers are known to be adventurous and thrill-loving individuals who are always seeking out new experiences and exotic destinations to satisfy their wanderlust. Sri Lanka, as an island-nation blessed with scenic environment, amazing wildlife, colorful festivals, ayurvedic practices, diverse and unique cultural heritage, and vibrant people, is emerging as a must-see destination for Filipinos.
“I have seen a lot of breathtaking sceneries and I truly enjoyed my visit.”
- Kian Kazemi, Actor-Host
“Sri Lanka is one of the best places I have ever been”
- Ms. Christine Cunanan, Editor-in-Chief, Travelife
“I have heard a lot from my friends that Sri Lanka is the best place to visit and the country is definitely in my must-visit list”
- Ms. Mary Jane Cruz, Quezon City
One hundred ten (110) decision makers and management level representatives from local travel agencies and tourism organizations participated in the said event while the Sri Lankan tourism industry was represented by three (3) travel agencies namely NKAR Travel and Tours, Jetwing Travels and Lanka Sportreizen.
The said event was divided into two parts: tourism briefing and the high-level networking session. The program was initiated with the lighting of the traditional oil lamp by distinguished guests.
Ambassador Gunasekera, in her welcome remarks, introduced the country and presented a detailed tourism presentation which showcased Sri Lanka as a highly-sought after destination. She elaborated on the country’s niche sectors for tourism which will definitely attract Filipinos such as wedding and honeymoon destinations, unique shopping experiences, delectable and unique dishes for culinary tourism, as well as film and cruise tourism. Sri Lanka was marketed as a perfect destination for Filipinos of all age and economic status, whether millennials up to retirees or the affluent and the middle class.
Subsequently, Ms. Malu Oclarence-Dueñas, District Sales Manager of Thai Airways-Philippines, mentioned their company’s interest to partner with the SLTPB and travel operators in promoting the island-nation through the proposed familiarization tour for local travel operators and media in the succeeding months.
In the live testimonial portion, several Filipinos from the travel and trade industry enthusiastically shared their “So Sri Lanka” experience as they narrated the beautiful sceneries they have seen and unique experiences they had on their travels to the country.
For an authentic Sri Lankan experience, a Ceylon tea corner served high-quality and world famous tea to the attendees while a dance troupe from Sri Lanka captivated the crowd with their colorful costumes and skillful performance of traditional Sri Lankan dance.
The Philippines is now considered as an emerging source of inbound tourism to Sri Lanka. Based on tourism statistics obtained from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), it is observed that from 2014-2018 there is a constant increasing number of Filipino tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka. From 2014 where 11,160 arrivals from the Philippine were recorded, it has risen to 19,303 tourist arrivals in 2018. It is also noteworthy to mention that the Philippines did not issue a travel advisory during the aftermath of the April bombing incidents in 2019.