The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) in collaboration with Sri Lanka Embassy in Manila recently hosted a familiarization tour for nine Filipino Tour Operators from March 29th to April 6th, 2023. The goal of the tour was to increase awareness of Sri Lanka as a new travel destination and to establish connections between Sri Lankan travel agents and Philippine travel agents. The familiarization tour included visits to various tourist destinations such as Sigiriya, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Yala, Galle, Bentota, and Colombo, showcasing the diverse offerings of Sri Lanka including luxurious resorts, beautiful beaches, wildlife, ancient heritage sites, and world-renowned cuisine.
One of the main highlights of the tour was a visit to the ancient Sigiriya rock fortress, a UNESCO world heritage site. The participants also visited the Sri Dalada Maligawa, (the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic), and were entertained by the Udarata Cultural Show in the evening. Additionally, a B2B session was conducted between Sri Lankan travel agents and Philippine tour agents with the aim to establish Sri Lanka’s presence in the Philippines as a preferred travel destination and to establish partnerships and linkages.
This initiative by the SLTPB and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Philippines is a significant step in promoting Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and expanding its market reach. The familiarization tour provided the Filipino Tour Operators with a firsthand experience of Sri Lanka’s tourism offerings and an opportunity to establish business partnerships with Sri Lankan travel agents. The Travel Trade B2B secession was held on 04th April at Cinnamon Lakeside by participation of 60 Sri Lankan trade partners, creating economic opportunities for both countries. The Philippine travel agents also received Souvenirs from the SLTPB officials to mark their visit, and seemed to be equally delighted with their gifts and the warm hospitality which they have received during their stay in Sri Lanka. Given the proper accessibility and recognition, Philippines can become a crucial market for Sri Lanka bringing in more tourist arrivals from the Philippines in the long run.