Sri Lanka is gaining popularity as a key tourist hotspot in the Korean market
By Embassy of Sri Lanka, Seoul
June 17, 2013
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Korea in association with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau organized Sri Lanka’spavilion at the 26th Korea World Travel Fair (KOTFA), the largest travel exposition held at the COEX Exhibition Center in Seoul, from 30 May, 2013 to 2 June, 2013.

KOTFA attracts a multitude of international and national tourism organizations with the participation of more than 3,000 local and foreign exhibitors, representing 60 foreign countries including 23 Asian nations. All major tourist destinations of Asia, including Thailand, India, China, Japan, Malaysia, and the Philippines held a strong presence at the fair. About 115,000 visitors attended KOTFA with around 15,000 from the tourism industry and over 100,000 from the general public who hoped to discover potential travel destinations.

Sri Lanka’s pavilion was ceremonially opened by Sri Lankan Ambassador to Korea, Mr. Tissa Wijeratne, along with Mr. Cho Hyun-jae, Vice Minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of Korea, President of the KOTFA and other dignitaries in the Korean tourism industry.

The pavilion’s display of Sri Lanka’s tourism themesearned high praise from visitors, winning the Best Booth Design Award from KOTFA.Complimentary cups of Ceylon tea were available to pavilion visitors, along with fun games and opportunities to win gifts by completing a survey on Sri Lanka tourism.Traditional Sri Lankan dances were performed by the Sri Lankan dancing team “Rasikala Dancing Academy” at the pavilion and the main stage of KOTFA. With their unique artistic and traditional styles, these dance performances drew a large crowd to the Sri Lankan pavilion.

Sri Lankan travel companies who were at the fair include Aitken Spence Travels, Andrew the Travel Company, Asian Adventures, Ceylon Tours, Jetwing Travels, Journey Scapes, Karusan Travels, Royal Holidays and the World Travel Centre. On 31 May 2013, these companies successfully held one-on-one business meetings with more than 50 Korean tour operators, including market leaders like Hana and Mode, at the Plaza Hotel Seoul, a leading Korean five-star hotel.

Additionally, a press conference was held at this premise to briefKorean tourism-related pressregarding reasons why Sri Lanka is an ideal tourist destination. Following the press conference and the one-on-one business meeting session, a dinner reception was hosted for the Korean press and travel companies, along with Sri Lankan dance performances.

In 2012, the number of Korean tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka has remarkably increased by 43% compared to the previous year, even before the establishment of direct air links between the two countries. With the commencement of Korean Air direct flights between Seoul and Colombo from 9 March, 2013, along with other tourism promotional initiatives, such as KOTFA, a significant increase in Korean tourists to Sri Lanka for 2013 is expected.

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