Sri Lanka raised its profile to that of an Asian Tourism icon at the annual ‘IFTM TOP RESA’ (International French Travel Market) which was held in Paris from 23rd to 26th September 2014.
Sri Lanka’s pavilion was opened by Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to France Prof Karunaratne Hangawatte, along with other Embassy officials of Sri Lanka and the leading industry participants from Sri Lanka and other dignitaries who attended the opening ceremony.
Decked with the majestic replica of the ancient rock fortress ‘Yapahuwa’, Sri Lanka showcased the ancient glory of the country attracting hundreds of visitors to the pavilion where interactions were made with the local travel and tour operators attending the event. Prof Karunaratne Hangawatte, Ambassador of Sri Lanka presiding over the press conference at the ‘Top RESA’ observed that being a compact island of 65, 610 sqkm, where a tourist can travel the length and the breadth of the country, the diversity of the tourism product it offers to the world is unparalleled.
This unique character has given the country its own authentic flavor. The press conference saw over 30 leading French media participation representing tourism related media organizations in France where Ambassador Hangawatte, engaged in a very interactive session at the end of which a raffle draw was held courtesy Sri Lankan Airlines in offering free passage to a lucky winner to visit Sri Lanka.
Ambassador Hangawatte underlined that with the dawn of peace and stability in the country, the tourism sector has been identified as one of the key sectors propelling the economic growth of the country. In our quest to achieve a target of 2.5 million Tourists by the year 2016 the French market has figured significantly achieving a tourism growth rate of 24% year on year in 2014. He reiterated the importance of capitalizing on the synergies available in a productive public – private partnership with a focus on tourism investment opportunities available in the country.