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Sri Lanka Tourism earns high media coverage at Expo – The Morning

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Issuing a statement, Sri Lanka Tourism stated that the country’s tourism sector has earned high media coverage at Expo 2020 that is currently being held in Dubai. 

A destination pitch was made at the Expo Dubai 2020 forum, showcasing different facets of destination Sri Lanka and the way forward for Sri Lanka tourism, which was delivered by Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando, which was received with enthusiasm both by industry players and the global media.

Destination Sri Lanka stood out last week, on 3, 4, and 5 March at Expo 2020 Dubai, with four planned events earning high global media coverage. Sri Lanka Tourism announced the total earned media exposure from this global event, which will conclude at the end of March after running for a period of six months, to be in the range of over $ 2 million, exceeding all expectations.

A high-level delegation led by Sri Lanka Minister of Tourism Prasanna Ranatunga, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the UAE Malraj de Silva, Sri Lanka Consulate General in Dubai and Northern Emirates Nalinda Wijerathna, and Fernando were at Expo 2020 and met industry persons at the highest level of representation. The “Sri Lanka Tourism – Expo Travel Trade Business-to-Business Forum” was held on 3 March at the Business Connect Centre, Abu Dhabi Hall with the participation of local tour operators and of over 45 UAE and Gulf-based international tour operators.  

Social media singing sensation Yohani attracted the largest crowd to date to the Dubai Millennium Amphitheatre on the evening of 5 March.  

The “Day of the Sapphire Exhibition” was held on 26 February 2022 at the Sri Lanka Pavilion, and the spotlight was on a long-known Sri Lankan treasure – the globally acclaimed blue sapphire among a dazzling display of sapphires worth over $ 100 million being exhibited. This included the Kufic Arabic, a gem known to be over 1,000 years old and originating from the 10th Century. Renowned jewellery specialist Helen Molesworth led a walk-through of the exhibition, explaining the importance of each gemstone and its relevance to Sri Lanka. “Sri Lanka has not only produced gemstones of remarkable quality and variety, but has done so consistently over millennia, a testament to the continual global importance of the true ‘Island of Gems’,” she said.“The island’s most famous and revered gems are the sapphires of Sri Lanka, rightly so, as much today as throughout history. I am honoured to be part of this wonderful showcase of Sri Lanka’s finest sapphires – these miracles of nature from one of the most beautiful places on Earth,” Molesworth noted. 

The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Emirates Airlines ensuring connectivity with Sri Lanka and other global destinations took place on 4 March at the Emirates Headquarters, making it a significant partnership of value to both parties. Emirates Airlines is a consistent supporter of travel and tourism in Sri Lanka, especially during the height of  connectivity with the destination, enabling the travel and tourism industry to survive and thrive. This MoU will further consolidate the relationship and build greater goodwill, facilitating integrated and aggressive joint promotions of tourism activity with a special focus on the Middle Eastern market, a strategic tourism market for Sri Lanka. Renewing over 35 years of goodwill between Sri Lanka Tourism and Emirates Airlines, Emirates Airlines Senior Vice President – Commercial West Asia and Indian Ocean Ahmed Khoory and Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando were signatories to this venture.  

Speaking on the events, Fernando stated: “We are a small pavilion compared to other countries but the media attention and buzz we were able to create within the expo global village is amazing and we were able to beautifully capture this attention and convert it into earned media publicity. This is an enormous gain for the country given the strain due to forex needs for planned promotions. So we very successfully navigate around our constraints and take the destination to the world through strategic media exposure, and this was particularly so at Expo 2020 Dubai.”

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