The Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau organized a road show for the Russian tourism business with the aim of promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination. The events took place on March 15, 2019 in Moscow and on March 18, 2019 in St. Petersburg. They were attended by over 100 guests: tour operators, agencies, DMC-companies, press and other representatives of the industry. Votpusk.ru correspondent interviewed Madubhani Perera, Marketing Director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau.
Mrs. Perera, what tasks do you set and what do you expect to get from the roadshow in Russia?
- The main goal of the roadshow is to attract interest in the island, its opportunities, so that representatives of the Lankan tourism industry meet with representatives of the Russian travel industry to exchange new contacts and conclude cooperation agreements.
- The second task is to increase the awareness of Sri Lanka's tourism products.
- Third, to develop and strengthen the contacts and relations that have already been established between the two countries.
Traditionally, Sri Lanka is considered a winter destination for Russians. There is an opinion that in summer in Sri Lanka there is a low season, strong winds, big waves and you cannot swim. What are you going to do to turn Sri Lanka into a year-round destination, what can you offer Russian tourists in the summer?
- In fact, we consider Sri Lanka to be a year-round resort, including in the summer months. If you want to relax on the beach from November to April, then this is the south, southwest and northwest coast. If you want to come from June to September, then you need to visit the eastern part of Sri Lanka, where beaches with very clear and calm waters are located. Thus, beach tourism is developed all year round, it all depends on the correct choice of the point where you will rest. And you can visit sites related to our cultural heritage, as well as nature reserves and national parks all year round. All this makes Sri Lanka suitable for recreation all year round.
What are your main advantages, "chips", in comparison with the nearest countries with similar types of recreation, for example, India, Vietnam, Thailand. What are the main highlights that can attract Russian tourists
- The main feature is the size. Sri Lanka is a relatively small island with a lot to see and experience in a very short period of time. You can be on the beach in the morning, and in the afternoon go to Kandy, "the country of the hills" - one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Sri Lanka has excellent sandy beaches, endless coastlines and clear ocean waters. The comfortable climate will change as you travel around the island, drier in the north, colder and less humid in the mountains. You can see both whales and elephants in a very short period of time. The locals are incredibly friendly and helpful towards the guests of the island. This is the uniqueness of Sri Lanka.
Many Russian tourists ask themselves what is the security situation in the country?
- Sri Lanka is a very peaceful country. Until 2009, we really had problems, there was a civil war. It's all over now. And at the moment, Sri Lanka is one of the safest countries in the world.
What are your plans to promote Sri Lanka among Russian tourists as end consumers of travel services?
- We want to engage in advertising in order to increase the awareness of the Sri Lankan product, we want to use outdoor advertising, place information in the media and social networks. Our goal is for the Russians to choose Sri Lanka for their travels, and so that a wonderful memory of our island is kept in their hearts.
And in conclusion, Mrs. Perera, what wish do you want to leave for Russian tourists?
- Come to Sri Lanka as soon as possible! Good weather, great beaches and hospitable locals await you!