Sri Lanka Tourism impacts French consumers at Paris SMT Travel Fair
Sri Lanka Tourism participated in the maiden business to consumer travel fair in the French market, Salon Mondial du Tourisme (SMT) in Paris, France, which was held at Parc des Exposition, Porte De Versailles, recently.
SMT is the second largest travel show held in France annually with the participation of various tourism stakeholders from around the world. The main exhibit sectors of the trade show SMT are foreign tourism offices, tour operators, travel agencies, French national, regional and departmental tourism offices, reception, accommodation, thalassa therapy, airlines, car rental, railway, cruise lines, business tourism, new technologies, leisure, training, information and services, associations – press.
The show covers a wide scope of tourism product and service sectors with high active presence during the exhibition.
Franch Ambassador Buddhi Athauda, SMT Show Director Audrey Quentin, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Assistant Director Sarangi Thilakasena, First Secretary Commerce Chandima Abeyrathne and French Embassy Third Secretary Consular Damitha Hewawickrama officially opened the Sri Lanka stand at the SMT travel fair along with other officials and travel trade representatives participated in the exhibition.
The Sri Lanka stand witnessed the presence of French Government Secretary of State Geneviève Darrieussecq with Ministre des Armées Florence Parly visiting the Sri Lanka stand and talking highly on the potential Sri Lanka has to become a leading travel destination for the French travellers. They highly praised Sri Lanka and its attractions to offer to the avid French travellers.
Addressing the audience, Athauda remarked that the popularity of Sri Lanka among the French travellers is increasing and the number of travel inquiries the embassy has to handle on a daily basis has become almost fivefold showing the interest of French travellers for Sri Lanka.
He further added that Sri Lanka’s presence at SMT will create a highly competitive position for the destination with the presence of other popular Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Male, India, Indonesia, etc. which have been regular attendees of this travel show from the inception.
The travel show was attended by reputed Sri Lankan travel agents and hoteliers active in the French market such as Airwing Tours, Back Pool Hotels, Yathra Travels, Ayuobowan Tours, Bernard Tours, Travel Talk Asia, World Lanka Tours, Asian Escapes, Chamathka Holidays and Zenith Expeditions, etc.
The Sri Lanka stand was able to attract a very high level of enthusiasm from the show attendees being present at the show for the very first time. Sri Desi dance troupe from Paris added colour and vibrancy with traditional dance performances at the Sri Lanka stand.
Ceylon Tea Boutique served freshly brewed Ceylon Tea for the travel show participants throughout the fair. The Sri Lanka Tourism counter handled a large number of inquiries with the inflow of potential travellers ready to visit Sri Lanka in the near future.
Sri Lanka Tourism was able to gain double exposure at this travel fair with another travel show called Salon Destination Nature, which was focused on nature and eco-tourism products, taking place parallel to the SMT fair in the same venue.
The visitors attending Salon Destination Nature spilled over to the Sri Lanka stand as the country had many natural attractions to travel to and for the purpose of discovering ecotourism products and services available in the country.
Sri Lanka Tourism representatives met with leading travel media in France Le Quotidien du Tourisme, Le Figaro, Paris Match and L’echo Touristique to seek possible cooperation to promote Sri Lanka in these media in the future.
Further discussions were held with travel agents, airlines, PR agencies, tour operators, electronic media production houses, bloggers, travel guide book publishers, digital marketing companies, etc. to promote Sri Lanka in the French market.
Based on the discussions had with the ambassador on the plans for future promotional activities in the French market, the French Embassy has laid out plans to carry out a three-day consumer promotional event at the famous Champs-élysées, considered as world’s busiest shopping street. The promotional campaign will take off in the late May to early June period during this year.
More than 105,000 visitors, including 2409 professionals, 652 staff works councils, clubs or organisations, 531 journalists and 400 exhibitors participated in the 2017 edition of the show, creating opportunity to promote the destination on various consumer segments. The visitor consumer profile consists of 56 percent actively employed and 44 percent retired persons with high disposable income. More than 96 percent of visitors attending the travel fair go on a holiday as per the research.
Out of the total visitors, 42 percent have more than 3000 euros as their holiday budget and 45 percent of the visitors allocate 100-3000 euros as their household holiday budget, making the SMT travel fair one of the high-potential avenues to promote destinations to the avid French travellers.
Tokens of appreciation given
Enjoying Sri Lankan sweetmeats
Visitors at tea counter