ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is promoting meetings, incentive travel, conventions and exhibitions in the expectation of filling 12 percent of a 1.55 million tourists targeted in 2023, officials said.
South Asia, the Middle East and Europe are key target markets for drawing MICE travellers.
“India is one of the biggest, about 75 percent of the visitors are from India,” Thisum Jayasuriya, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau, which is charged with driving the MICE segment, said.
“The other countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Germany, the Middle East, Saudi, Doha, Dubai, and UK are the key source markets for MICE at the moment.
“Our target for total arrivals to Sri Lanka for 2023 is 1.55 million arrivals out of which our MICE target is 10-12 percent.”
Sri Lanka has yet to reach pre-Covid MICE visitor levels, but is seeing an upturn, especially from India, Jayasuriya said.
A number of meetings have already been lined up for the year, with a Bora convention also to be held, he said.
Several MICE sector companies who are in Sri Lanka said returning stability to the country made it an attractive market.
“Sri Lanka is always a beautiful land, we as neighbors would love to visit,” Ajinkya Dhumma, Chief Operating Officer MICE at India’s Classis Travels & Tours said.
“We are already promoting tourist packages of Kandy, Galle, Nuwara Eliya and so on.”
Others are looking for partners to help with organizing meetings.
“Sri Lanka is a potential market place,” Dimitri Laspas, founder & managing director, BML International-UK said.
“I’m looking for companies to organize our next event in 2024 with 250 people from countries such as Paris, Madrid, Milano and Vienna.”
Ajit Singh Sikand, head of Germany based HBC Luxury MICE said Sri Lanka was a market for the luxury end but direct flights were needed to draw customers.
“The Luxury Hotels are very suitable for our clientele in Germany and Sri Lankan Airlines fly direct from Frankfurt to Colombo,” Sikand said.
“That is the only direct connectivity. The luxury clients would like to fly on a direct flight.” (Colombo/Mar15/2023)