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Sri Lanka Tourism Triumphs at ITB Berlin 2024

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The ITB Berlin Convention, the world’s leading travel industry think tank, recently concluded its 2024 event, where over the course of three days, top international Travel and Tourism industry thought leaders gathered to discuss the latest trends, innovations, and developments, and to debate the major challenges facing the global travel industry.

In a significant moment for Sri Lanka Tourism, the new Island destination positioning ‘You’ll Come Back for More’ was unveiled at the convention, along with the new logo and global tourism campaign.

This pivotal event took place under the auspices of the Honourable Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando, with the participation of key industry leaders. The unveiling served as a platform to showcase the unique attributes of Sri Lanka at a global stage, highlighting the country’s unparalleled diversity.

Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando speaking at the event said, “Sri Lanka Tourism is launching its destination brand campaign globally with a new positioning and a tagline:  ‘You’ll come back for more’. What inspired us was the simple fact that 33% of our travellers are repeat visitors. We have people from across the world returning to Sri Lanka, some as many as 100 to 150 times. When you listen to their stories and experiences in our island, you will realise that there is something special about Sri Lanka. It’s not just a bucket list country. There is a deep bond Sri Lanka creates with our visitors and as a result they keep coming back for the people, the places, and moments. We want to share this unique story of our Island with the world. Under the new destination positioning, we have a 360-degree approach to tell our story. But while we communicate all that we have to offer the world, we will also ensure the quality of the experiences each traveller has with us is also rich.”

The Minister highlighted that Sri Lanka Tourism aims to attract 2.3 million tourists in 2024 and earn over USD 4 billion. The long-term target is even more ambitious, with plans to welcome 5 million arrivals and generate USD 21.6 billion in revenue by 2030. The country is taking a holistic approach to its Global Marketing and Promotion campaigns, in addition to product development. This strategy aims to position the island as a destination that travellers could visit all year round.

The Minister concluded his address by stating that “Sri Lanka’s tourism bounced back after many challenges in the few past years, and it is nothing short of a miracle how it happened. But Sri Lankans are a very resilient people, and we enjoy being hosts to visitors. So naturally tourism recovered fast, and we are seeing a record number of visitors to the island today as a result.”

Sri Lanka Tourism was represented by 68 exhibitors at the 2024 edition of the convention, demonstrating commitment by the industry to aggressively promote the country as a premier tourist destination.

Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), reflecting on the significance of the event said, “Given that Germany has historically been one of the key source markets for Sri Lankan tourism, and considering the encouraging growth we witnessed in 2023 from Germany, our presence at this trade exhibition was crucial. It provided an opportunity for the Sri Lanka Tourism brand to showcase our unique destination and leverage the international visibility the event offered to our tourism industry”.

The ITB Berlin Convention attracted significant media attention, drawing around 3,000 journalists from 73 countries and 333 bloggers from 32 countries, with media visibility estimated to reach over 5 billion people worldwide.

Capitalising on the large number of journalists and bloggers attending the event, a sucessful media conference was hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism contingent at the Convention.

Speaking at the media event, Minister of Tourism Harin Fernandoshared his vision for the future. Ambassador of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Berlin, Varuni Muthukumarana meanwhile highlighted the strengthening of ties between Sri Lanka and Germany, and the potential for increased tourism. Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chalaka Gajabahu further outlined the strategic plans for promoting Sri Lanka as a premier tourist destination.

In the first few months of 2024 the Island saw unprecedented growth in arrivals. February recorded a total of 218,350 tourist arrivals, marking the third consecutive month with over 200,000 arrivals. This is the highest number of tourist arrivals reported since January 2020, prior to the pandemic.

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