he Eastern European region saw a growth in tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during 2017 and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) selected Hungary as a country to offer special programs to Hungarian tourists in 2018. Officials from LTPB announced these programs at the Sri Lankan – Hungarian Tour Business Forum – Road Show on 17th of May 2018 at the Araz Continental Hotel Budapest.
From 14th to 17th of May this year, in Warsaw, Cracow and Budapest took place meetings of the local representatives of the tourist industry with Sri Lankan tour operators, as a part of Sri Lanka Road Shows 2018. The event was initiated by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and aimed at strengthening the existing cooperation in the field of tourist activities and establishing new business contacts between countries.
Sri Lanka Business Forum – Road Show 2018, is part of the East European action organized by SLTPB. The first gatherings took place on May 17 in Budapest, bringing together representatives of Hungarian travel agencies who had the opportunity to talk with a large representation of the Sri Lankan tourist industry during B2B sessions.
“Sri Lanka is a place where everyone will find something for themselves – from high mountains, through tea plantations, to palm jungles and beautiful beaches. Lovers of wild nature will see here a huge variety of species of fauna and flora, and the fascinates of history and monuments at every step will discover traces of our more than 2,550-year-old cultural heritage” – said Madubhani Perera.
However, that’s not all. Sri Lanka is also a perfect place for people who value active leisure. We have excellent conditions for trekking, rafting, surfing, paragliding, balloon flights, riding in the mountains on bicycles and playing golf. All these elements make us very much interested in building the image of Sri Lanka as a destination and the Central European market is very important to us in this respect – said Madubhani Perera, director of marketing from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, discussing the island’s major attractions thereby highlighting the great diversity of its tourist offer.
Hungary has seen a rapid growth in tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka and has strong flight connectivity from Budapest.
The number of tourists from Hungary in 2017 was 4951, and 2512 Hungarian travellers had already visited Sri Lanka this year by April 2018. Currently, over 2 million tourists arrived in the country from all over the world.
Eastern Europe is a growing market for Sri Lanka. For example, over 15 000 Polish tourists visited last year. Sri Lanka continues to receive numerous endorsements and achievements throughout the years and has a made a well-established mark on the global stage as an ideal travel destination for people who love to explore and have the holiday of a lifetime.
Tourism is currently the third largest foreign exchange earner to the country after foreign remittance by Sri Lankan workers overseas and the apparel industry. It had received 3.5 billions USD income last year. For the past 4 months the country received over 880,000 tourists showing a growth of 16.7 %.
National Geographic has selected Sri Lanka as a country to have the best spring trips in 2018. In 2017, Sri Lanka Tourism was awarded Asia’s Leading Destination and Asia’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the world travel awards ceremony held in the Maldives and also received Conde Nast reader‘s travel awards 2017, receiving the award as the favourite emerging overseas destination. Several other endorsements were made by the international press including ‘’where to go in 2017 –the 20 destinations that will be especially hot this year’’ by Bloomberg, ‘’Galle, Sri Lanka’s top winter trips of 2017 for the warm weather ‘’ by National Geographic Travel, and the ‘’ 10 hottest travel destinations of 2017 ‘’ by Vogue, UK. This latest endorsement has further proved that Sri Lanka is becoming a top travel destination which offers everything for the perfect holiday vacation. The World Surf League has named Arugam Bay as the Surfing Capital of Asia.
“Discovery Channel” describes Unawatuna as The Best Beach in the world.
Hikkaduwa, Nilaveli, Trinco and Passikudah are famous as places for the best swimming and snorkelling experiences.
The SLTPB vision for 2020 is to make Sri Lanka the most authentic, memorable and diverse destination. With a target of 4.5 millions tourists to the country with revenue target of 7 billions USD.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) currently has identified the top-5 key markets – India, China, United Kingdom, Germany and France.