Sri Lanka unveils packages to woo FIFA World Cup fans. - Opportunity Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka unveils packages to woo FIFA World Cup fans.

Sri Lanka unveils packages to woo FIFA World Cup fans.

Daily FT: Sri Lanka Tourism has officially unveiled its out-of-the-box travel packages to woo a fraction of the FIFA World Cup 2022 fan base to ‘FIFA Zone’ in Negombo.
The joint industry promotional effort will see the Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators Association (SLAITO), Travel Agents Association of Sri Lanka (TAASL), along with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) marketing three special packages starting from $ 650 including travel and accommodation with immediate effect.
In addition, SriLankan Airlines, Flydubai, Qatar Airways and Air India have come on board to support Sri Lanka Tourism’s efforts to draw a sizable fraction of the over 1.2 million football fans during the four to five-day break between the World Cup matches from 20 November to 18 December.
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando speaking at the launch event said this will be a one-of-a-kind opportunity to tell the world Sri Lanka is open for business.
“The concept was developed around the opportunity we saw in the dearth of room capacity in Qatar and the cultural barriers for global football fans. Though it was a risk and unorthodox, the proximity, cost efficiency and cultural freedom were great pluses Sri Lanka Tourism banked on. I extend each stakeholder for their utmost efforts and support extended to make this initiative a success within a short time,” he said.
Minister Fernando also expressed confidence to attract around 5,000 global soccer fans to Negombo and share Sri Lanka’s warm hospitality via this initiative.
Sri Lanka Conventions Bureau Chairman and the FIFA Zone Committee Chair Thisum Jayasuriya outlining the packages said SLAITO and TAASL will promote it among their overseas agents, whilst SLTPB will work with the Sri Lanka Consulate in Qatar.
“We are also working with FIFA on some digital campaigns on their official website too. In addition, the digital PR promotions will be conducted locally and internationally targeting all GCC countries, South America, Europe, India and Russia,” he explained.
Jayasuriya also said national carrier, SriLankan Airlines has extended a special rate for the FIFA Zone travellers, whilst noting that all airlines will promote the packages via its holiday arms.
All hotels, restaurants, travel agents and other stakeholders in Negombo have come on board to put together the FIFA Zone to accommodate and entertain the visitors.
“We will have the Negombo beach ready with a giant TV screen live-streaming all matches, food and beverage stalls and a beer garden with music to keep the football fans a great flavour of Sri Lanka’s warm hospitality,” Jayasuriya explained.
In October, Sri Lanka attracted 42,026 travellers an increase of 41% month-on-month, whilst arrivals in the first 10 months amounted to 568,258 – a welcome development for the triple-hit tourism industry. Earnings from tourism in the first five months were $ 893 million as against $ 64 million a year earlier.
Earnings from tourism in August are estimated at $ 68 million, compared to $ 85 million in the previous month and $ 13 million in the corresponding month in 2021.

OSL take:

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was one of the highest revenue generators for the country until the global pandemic dealt a severe blow. However, the industry is once again on the path to recovery with a steady growth being recorded in tourist arrivals to the country. Local tourism authorities have also carried out many promotional campaigns in key foreign tourist source markets while also exploring new tourism concepts. Sri Lanka has also received exposure in the international media as a must visit tourist destination. All these have helped boost Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and the new promotion to woo FIFA World Cup fans to Sri Lanka is expected to further increase tourist arrivals to the country. Given the appreciation of the US Dollar in Sri Lanka, the country offers the best and affordable packages to the discerning traveler. However, all this movement has opened up business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors. Given the growth and business potential in the industry, foreign businesses/investors could confidently explore opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry.

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Article Code : VBS/AT/11112022/AT_4

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