Sri Lanka is upbeat in hosting the 2016 Congress of the French Travel Agents Association next year, an event officials say will help attract more high spending travelers to the island.
“The Congress will bring 600 to 700 French outbound travel agents to Sri Lanka in October 2016 and the event will be a great opportunity for us to showcase what Sri Lanka can offer,” Vipula Wanigasekera, Chief Executive of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau said.
“Seeing is believing, it’s not like showing them a brochure or a video clip,”
“Once they experience Sri Lanka for themselves, it will be easier for them to market Sri Lanka because they have 3000 travel counters across France,” he said.
France is a major source market for Sri Lanka and is currently ranked fifth ahead of Maldives and behind Germany. Arrivals from France have grown 10 percent from 2014 and arrivals for 2015 is expected to hit 100,000 by end this year, the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau said.
The tourism industry says potential for growth in the French market is much more when compared to any other European country and the French Travel Agents 2016 Congress will be a key driver to optimize that growth.
Incentive travelers are also a segment Sri Lanka is aiming to tap via the French Travel Agents Congress. Incentive travel is a popular management tool in France that uses an exceptional travel experience to motivate and recognize employees for increased levels of performance in support of organizational goals.
Tour operators say French travelers look for experiences beyond traditional attractions and spends around 250 US dollars a day.
“The French opt for round trips, they don’t come only for the beach. Most of them spend at least 8 night in Sri Lanka and the cultural triangle is a top attraction among them,” Chandra Wickramasinghe, Board Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau said.
The 2016 Congress of the French Travel Agents Association is scheduled from 30th October to 03rd November 2016 in Colombo.