Sri Lanka Targets UAE as a Key Tourism Market at Arabian Travel Market 2024
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Sri Lanka Targets UAE as a Key Tourism Market at Arabian Travel Market 2024

Sri Lanka made a significant presence at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2024 in Dubai highlighting the island nation’s diverse attractions and offerings. The Sri Lanka pavilion at ATM 2024 was organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Dubai in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB).

Arabian Travel Market was one of the leading global events for the travel and tourism sector, held from 06 to 09 May 2024. Over 41,000 attendees visited the annual trade show, which featured 2,300 exhibitors from 165 countries. This year, ATM was centred on the theme ‘Empowering Innovation – Transforming Travel through Entrepreneurship’.

The Sri Lanka pavilion was inaugurated by esteemed dignitaries including the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the UAE Udaya Indrarathna, Consul General of Sri Lanka to Dubai and Northern Emirates Alexi Gunasekera, Chairman of SLTPB Chalaka Gajabahu alongside other key officials. With over 60 travel agents, Destination Management Companies (DMCs) and leading hotels and resorts from Sri Lanka participating, the country aimed to showcase its unique tourism potential to the diverse and cosmopolitan market of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as well as to the international audience.

With a view to enhancing air connectivity and facilitating seamless travel experiences between the  two countries a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed with the  Emirates Airlines  at the Arabian Travel Market 2024 on 07 May 2024. The MoU was signed by  the Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations West Asia and Indian Ocean, in the presence of Minister of Tourism, Lands, Sports and Youth Affairs Harin Fernando,  the Ambassador of Sri Lanka in the UAE and  the Consul General of Sri Lanka to Dubai & Northern Emirates.

A press conference  by Minister  Fernando was held on 07 May 2024, to highlight Sri Lanka tourism potential and the collaborative efforts with the UAE stakeholders to boost tourist arrivals.

Welcoming the participants, Chairman of the SLTPB emphasized Sri Lanka’s new destination branding “You will come back for more”, inviting everyone to experience the country first-hand.

During the press conference, Minister of Tourism announced that Sri Lanka has made significant progress in re-establishing its tourism industry after Covid-19,  with the

support of airlines. He also highlighted the recent opening of the luxurious ITC Rathnadipa hotel in Colombo, as well as the availability of several other high-class hotels and 700 villas around the island that offer personalized experiences and diversified adventures for tourists.

During his address, Ambassador Udaya Indrarathna stated that coordinated efforts are being made to enhance Sri Lanka’s tourism industry in a sustainable way. Further, he discussed the new tourism strategies being developed in Sri Lanka, as well as the opportunities and challenges  during their implementation.

Consul General Alexi Gunasekera emphasized the UAE’s significance as a hub for luxury tourism, independence and leisure tourism, as well as MICE tourism. He underscored the importance of events like ATM as crucial platforms for networking and sharing best practices within the tourism industry.

The Sri Lanka pavilion at ATM 2024 welcomed thousands of attendees to discover the wonders of Sri Lanka and explore new avenues for collaboration in the realm of tourism.

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