Sri Lanka Convention Bureau conducts MICE promotions and interactions in Mumbai and Pune
Sri Lanka emerges as a prime outbound tourism destination for Indians and to further enhance the positioning Sri Lanka as a preferred MICE destination, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau (SLCB) showcases the MICE options and opportunities to the Indian travel trade, PCOs and MICE organisers. Meet in Sri Lanka promotion organised by SLCB in collaboration with Sri Lanka Consulate General in Mumbai had a major focus to attract Indian MICE market, through these exclusive events. Top of the line travel trade and MICE professionals attended the event as well as interacted with the SLCB team that consists of 15 companies from Sri Lanka, to understand the unique offerings for Indian travellers in Sri Lanka.
India has been an important market for Sri Lanka for developing MICE in terms of numbers, value and also connected services. The year 2018 saw 63,733 MICE arrivals in Sri Lanka as compared to 57,694 in 2017 and 53,510 in 2016. It is witnessed that there is an increasing trend of India MICE arrivals during the past years. Sri Lanka is growing as ‘a destination for all seasons’! Overall the year 2018 saw a rapid increase with approximately 424,887 Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka, as compared to 384,628 arrivals in 2017 and 356,729 in 2016.
The country is a top-notch tourist destination and known as the Wonder of Asia for its long-preserved culture and heritage. Witnessing the growth and potential from India, SLCB has taken a step forward in consolidating their presence in the Indian market. The following initiatives were taken by Sri Lanka to attract MICE travellers from India:
- Lotus Tower – State of the Art tower, which was recently made operational, is the tallest tower in South East Asia and houses a conference facility for 1,000 people
- Strengthen cooperation with large tour operators such as Thomas Cook, SOTC, Travel & Tours, FCM’s etc. who have a large network of corporate working with them
- The Ramayana trail, an ancient Hindu literary epic of India properly marketed with the objective of bringing in large numbers of Indian visitors for Sri Lanka. The most popular Ramayana sites in Sri Lanka developed with proper infrastructure facilities and printed a brochure with site details
- Popularise Sri Lanka as a fast-growing destination for weddings out of India. There is a number of groups of wedding planners were facilitated to visit Sri Lanka to make aware them.
- As a government arm of the development of MICE industry, SLCB organised industry participation at leading MICE trade exhibitions in India like BLTM
- Taken initiative to remove minimum hotel rates to facilitate MICE visitors
- Simplify visa procedure – on arrival visa for Indian travellers
Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General, Consulate General of Sri Lanka, Mumbai, who was present and leading the events in Mumbai and Pune stated, “Sri Lanka has been gaining immense popularity in India and has experienced consistent growth over the period. She further added that cultural and regional similarities between India and Sri Lanka further make it easy to flourish tourism.”
Sri Lankan MICE delegation visited Mumbai and Pune to explore these markets and tap the travel agents to increase the flow of MICE business.
Adding to this Malkanthi Welikala, Manager Marketing, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau mentioned, “India is the largest and key source market for the development of MICE business to Sri Lanka. We have been extending our presence and our commitment to India markets. With our current mission, we are targeting key markets of India like Mumbai and Pune. With extensive direct airlines connectivity of 121 flights per week from 11 stations in India to Sri Lanka and further complemented by SpiceJet, Indigo, Air India and now Vistara, Sri Lanka becomes an easily accessible destination for MICE from India. There is an existing strong cultural bond and cooperation between India and Sri Lanka, which makes Indian travellers feel at home while they are in Sri Lanka.”