SriLankan Airlines recently hosted top travel agents and elite sports influencers from India to watch the first match of the test series between Sri Lanka and Australia, which was held at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, Sri Lanka.
The visit also served as an opportunity for the influencers and agents to witness normalcy in the country and how inbound tourism is flourishing across the island. The tourism industry of Sri Lanka has always been one of the largest sources of foreign revenue for the country. It has been no secret that the country is currently passing through the most difficult time in its recent history due to the ongoing economic crisis just after the COVID-19 pandemic which had previously destructed tourism in the country.
In order to inspire travellers across India which is the Airline’s single largest source market and also to reassure them that Sri Lanka is welcoming and safe, the Airline took this initiative whereby inviting the tourists arriving in Sri Lanka to make the most of this much sought-after tourist paradise – with high exchange rates and great travel offers.
Ever since the easing of travel restrictions following the global pandemic, SriLankan Airlines has steered an extensive content creator campaign #NamastefromSriLanka, in order to build advocacy and familiarity with the brand SriLankan Airlines and destination Sri Lanka. Under this programme, SriLankan has welcomed over 60 elite content creators/social influencers from India so far, and the agents’ fam tour is another extension of this initiative.
SriLankan Airlines, Chief Executive Officer, Richard Nuttall met the group at a fellowship and dinner where he spoke his sentiments; “We believe that Sri Lanka holds a timeless appeal to the discerning Indian traveller; whether you are travelling solo or with family; or whether you are a seasoned repeater or a first-timer. During these challenging times, I firmly believe that the India Market will be largely helpful in our bounce-back efforts. I am confident that our long-standing affinity with the Indian travel trade partners will pave the way for fruitful results in the days to come.”
The Fam tour included a memorable opening day of the first test between Sri Lanka and Australia played in honour of the legend the late Shane Warne, at the Galle International Cricket Stadium, a city tour of Colombo and experiencing a range of luxury hospitality properties in Colombo and the Southern Coast of the island. The Airline also offered them a memorable flying experience inclusive of a Business Class service.
Some of the sentiments expressed by the participants of the fam tour are as follows
Pradnya Naik, Kesari Tours, Head of FIT Products, Contracting, Cruises and Trade Relations, said, “Thank you SriLankan Airlines for inviting me to your beautiful island and the on-ground situation is very safe. A lot has been said and talked about the current scenario in Sri Lanka which has been portrayed in the media with partial truth and fake news. All my worries vanished post visiting this gorgeous country. Sri Lanka is open for travel and rest assured you will be in safe hands.
Vikas Kashyap of Yatra.com said, “We felt so comfortable. Everything worked out on time and was handled perfectly. We felt very safe and were treated like royals or VIPs. We will definitely recommend SriLankan Airlines to our customers/agents and to our friends who are also planning trips out of India.
Nashpreet Singh, Sports blogger and a social influencer, said, “Despite all that the country is going through, it is perfect for tourists. The people were nothing but welcoming and friendly, I am in awe of the resilience they have shown during these tough times. Sri Lanka is completely fine to visit. This was my second trip this year. It is a beautiful country with the friendliest people and the most delicious food.”
Suhail Chandhok, Sports blogger and social influencer, said, “My journey to and through Sri Lanka with SriLankan Airlines was certainly a very memorable one. At a time filled with so much uncertainty and media chatter back in India, it was amazing to experience first-hand that the spirit and warmth of Sri Lanka was still very much intact. It has been a childhood dream as a former cricketer to watch a Test Match from the top of the Galle Fort and that was just one of several incredible moments spent with the fantastic team at SriLankan Airlines. I can’t wait to head back to the country and I do hope that more Indians see it as a destination given the proximity and the absolute diversity on offer for any traveller.”
Saminda Perera, Head of Marketing, SriLankan Airlines, said, “Our intension has been to portray Sri Lanka as a safe and secure destination to the travellers from our closest neighbour, and to re-emphasise that the timeless charm of the destination remains intact despite what one sees or hears about the country on media which is mostly exaggerated.”
Hospitality Partners, Cinnamon Grand Colombo, Radisson Blu Resort Galle, Cinnamon Bentota Beach, Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo and Malabar Hills Weligama extended their state-of-the-art hospitality to the visiting agents. Walkers Tours closely worked with the Airline to curate the itineraries, and seamless ground arrangements including hotel transfers.