- Minister of Tourism Harin Fernando expresses gratitude to TAAI for its commitment to hold a convention in Colombo
Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said yesterday that the much-delayed 66th Annual Convention of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) will be held next year in Colombo, while thanking them for their support in reviving Sri Lankan tourism.
“Although the delay was partly due to Sri Lanka due to the socio-political turmoil since May, the convention was postponed several times.
However, as a true industry stakeholder and a warm neighbor, TAAI President Jyoti Mayal continued to support Sri Lanka’s revival efforts and held the long-delayed convention early next year without changing the venue to another country. We are extremely grateful for the patience and commitment of TAAI”, the Minister fondly recalled.
The TAAI Annual Convention was originally scheduled to be held in mid-April in Colombo, but economic and political unrest in the country forced TAAI to postpone the three-day convention a couple more times. The last update on the convention in August said it will take place in November.
Minister Fernando noted that TAAI President Mayal’s commitment and support to Sri Lankan tourism during the Indian roadshow last month was very encouraging.
On February 24, a tripartite agreement was signed between SLTPB, the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) and TAAI to host the key event in the hope of reviving COVID-affected tourism between the two countries.
“We have discussed with the president of TAAI and its members during our roadshow. It was decided to hold the convention early next year and the dates have not yet been finalized,” he added.
TAAI has over 2,500 members, and the 66th Annual Convention would attract over 500 delegates representing major travel associations covering all states of India, along with over 50 international media outlets to help Sri Lanka shine in the world spotlight and attract more tourists from India. neighboring giant market. India remains strong as the main tourist source market for Sri Lanka YTD with a cumulative number of arrivals of 86,625.
Last year Sri Lanka received 56,268 Indian tourists, in 2020 it was 89,357, in 2019 the figure was 355,002 while the highest was in 2018, the best year in the industry with 424,887.
The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board (SLTPB) had allocated around Rs. 66 million to host the massive event which will focus on inbound tourism to Sri Lanka, outbound to India, destination promotion, MICE, wellness, religious, weddings, sports and many more travel related opportunities the two countries have to offer. The national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, was also listed as the event’s partner airline.