The government has given top priority to the JEV Congress that is to be held in Colombo from October 31 to November 4, 2016, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga stated in Paris, France earlier this week.
The main congress will take place in Colombo and the key hotels that will be used for the purpose are Cinnamon Grand, Taj Samudra and The Kingsbury.
Les Journées des Entrepreneurs du Voyages (JEV), formally known as SNAV, represents more than 1,400 tourism enterprises in France, generating over 24 billion euros in annual turnover.
The JEV Congress is an annual event held in a top tourism destination where over 500 delegates, majority of them being outbound travel agents in France, attend the congress. France, while being a traditional primary market for Sri Lanka Tourism, also produces the highest number of incentive travellers from Europe.
“It is indeed an honour for us to host the JEV Congress in Sri Lanka at a time when our tourism industry is flourishing. France has been a traditional source market for Sri Lanka and significantly enough French arrivals have increased by around 13 percent so far this year and we are certain that with the winter season and the JEV Congress still ahead, this number will double in the future,” said Amaratunga addressing a group of 150 travel agents at a pre-promotional event in France this week.
The event was organised by Sri Lanka Tourism on the sidelines of IFTM 2016 Travel Fair in Paris. Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Paddy Withana was also present at the event.
Amaratunga emphasized that in today’s volatile world, Sri Lanka stood out as one of the safest places for both business and leisure.
“The primary ingredient for a blissful holiday is safety and Sri Lanka is one of the few countries in the world that can offer this today. In addition, the current government has offered a range of incentives for investors in the leisure sector making the country stand out as an attractive destination for investment,” the minister said.
Amaratunga also revealed plans about Sri Lanka’s own travel fair, which is to be held in Colombo next year.
“Today, the MICE sector accounts for around 12 percent of tourist arrivals to the country but we are keen to grow this segment capitalizing on the vast potential that Sri Lanka offers MICE tourists. In this regard, I must inform you that Sri Lanka is planning a travel fair of its own called ‘Gateway to South Asia’ in Colombo in May next year. As a government-driven initiative with private sector participation, we anticipate your support for this venture,” Amaratunga said.