Sri Lanka Targets Chinese Tourists

Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka are recovering slowly. In November levels were down 14%, year on year. Sri Lanka Tourism hopes attendance at travel fairs such as this will reassure sensitive markets.

Opening Ceremony at CITM 2019 in Shanghai, China

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) was once again able to promote Sri Lanka among the Chinese travellers as a destination with a huge potential of attracting tourists with the wide diversity of Scenic locations and cultural heritage, at the China International Travel Mart (CITM) 2019 held from 15th to 17th November 2019, at the International Convention & Exhibition Center in Shanghai, China.

The Chinese source market, one of Sri Lanka’s top three, was particularly hard hit after the Easter attacks. Arrivals from China were down 14% year on year in November. Year to date arrivals are down almost 40% versus 2018 levels.

This CITM 2019 event highlighted exhibitors from 107 countries and regions from around the world. Of the 2,245 display booths, 69 percent represented domestic exhibitors and 31 percent were from overseas. CITM is the largest professional travel show in Asia drawing the attention of people in the tourism industry worldwide. This is an annual event which gives an opportunity to all the tourism industry representatives around the world to show the tourism potential of their respective destinations.

For the second time in China, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau launched Sri Lanka’s destination brand – So Sri Lanka‖ at CITM 2019. Presenting the essence of Sri Lanka, its authenticity, diversity and all of its richness, which highlighted the true Sri Lankan experience. Thirteen major travel companies joined the Sri Lanka delegation on this occasion, and SLTPB was represented by Mr. Chinthaka  Liyanaarchchi, Assistant Director and officer in charge of the China market.

The China International Travel Mart (CITM) Co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Civil Aviation Administration of China and Shanghai municipal government, was established in 1998 and has turned into one of the largest trade fairs in the Asia-pacific region. It now serves as an essential platform for the tourism industry to seek cooperation at home and abroad.

The Chinese visitors were highly impressed with Sri Lanka’s beautiful attractions and hospitality, and inquired on more holiday opportunities which they could consider about. Some of the participants had been to the island multiple times and enjoyed recalling the wonderful time they spent with the friendly people of Sri Lanka.

SLTPB’s main objective by participating at the CITM was to present Sri Lanka as a desirable destination to the Chinese traveller who visit this fair to decide on their future holidays. At the same time to provide a platform for the interested tourism industry that participated at the fair with SLTPB to strengthen their partnerships with existing contracts and find new opportunities with local tour operators and to promote their business to walk in customers.

B2B meetings were also held between the local DMC’s and Chinese clients in order to find out what offers they have to spend a holiday of their choice.  Chinese language brochures, maps were handed over to the visitors to gain further information. Entertainment was provided by the Karunadasa Olaboduwa Dancing Academy which gave a spectacular performance.

The China International Travel Mart (CITM) Co-hosted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Civil Aviation Administration of China and Shanghai municipal government, was established in 1998. It has turned into one of the largest trade fairs in the Asia-pacific region. It now serves as an essential platform for the tourism industry to seek cooperation at home and abroad.

China was one of the main destinations which was very sensitive towards the Easter attacks in April and saw a major decline in Chinese tourist arrivals after the incident. Sri Lanka Tourism hopes that frequent participation at travel fairs such as these will help Sri Lanka to be highlighted as a safe destination and also convey the message that the situation has turned back to normal.

Hospitality Insider Issue 4