Sri Lanka Tourism in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Vietnam organized webinar to create awareness of the destination and Health Protocols amongst Vietnamese Tourism & Travel Trade.
Currently Sri Lanka is not an ideal “bucket list” destination for Vietnamese travelers and therefore the virtual event helped to showcase Sri Lanka’s niche tourism products which are attractive to Vietnamese. Many pertinent topics related to Tourism was discussed during the session which was attended by over seventy Tour Operators from Vietnam, who expressed interest to promote the Sri Lanka to their customer base in a post Covid environment.
The webinar was chaired by H E Prasanna Gamage, Ambassador for Sri Lanka in Vietnam, Prasadi Boomawalage, Commercial Secretary, Sri Lanka Embassy in Vietnam, while the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) representation included Madubhani Perera, Acting. Managing Director, Dushan Wickramasuriya, Director Marketing, Shirani Herath, Market Officer.
Ambassador Prasanna Gamage in his opening remarks touched on the current bilateral importance between the two counties and the partnership maintained throughout the years. Buddhist and Cultural Tourism as well as Wellness Tourism was stated as the, most importance tourism products for the Vietnamese tourists.
Madubhani Perea, Acting Managing Director stressed on the need for creating greater awareness among the Vietnamese travelers while highlighting the overall strategy of Sri Lanka Tourism.
Dushan Wickramasuriya, Director Marketing, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau made a comprehensive and an informative presentation of what Sri Lanka truly has to offer and its Diversity. He touched upon the cultural aspects, where SLTPB actively wants to promote in the market.
Nishad Wijetunga, Vice president of Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators Association gave a brief description of SLAITO and their role as the destination management company in Sri Lanka which handles all the inbound tour operators. He expressed SLAITO’S willingness to welcome all Vietnamese tourists in future.
Representing the Hotel Industry, Sanath Ukwatte, President of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, (THASL) focused on how the Hoteliers Association of Sri Lanka has become the biggest investor for the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. He also expressed how the country is known as the island of Gems, producing vibrant gemstones such as Sapphires and garnets. He further mentioned tourists could find a variety of Boutique hotels, Ayurvedic, Safari and international hotel chains to suit their choice.
Anura Abeywickrama, Executive Committee member of Association of Small & Medium Enterprises in Tourism (ASMET) focused on how the organization always supports its members by hosting different programmes and workshops, and said that Sri Lanka has so many tourism products to promote in the Vietnamese market.
As the Deputy President of Vietnam Society of Travel Agents, Phung Qung Thanh expressed his gratitude for organizing such a timely awareness session and mentioned that the two countries should further enhance the bilateral relationships and more opportunities should be developed by creating tourism packages for visitors.
A fruitful Q&A session followed afterwards in both English and Vietnamese, where the participants enthusiastically participated inquiring about direct air connectivity, Tourism Promotional events in Vietnam, Familiarization (FAM) Tours, festivals, handicraft villages and details regarding Visa procedure. Shirani Herath, Market Officer of SLTPB, gave the vote of thanks. The session was moderated by Prasadi Boomawalage, Commercial Secretary of Sri Lanka Embassy in Vietnam. The webinar created awareness among the Vietnamese participants, encouraging them to add Sri Lanka in their bucket list.