Minister of Tourism, Milinda Moragoda on his recent visit to France met with Monsieur Luc Chaphel, the Minister (Secretaire de l’etat) of Tourism and Consumer Affairs in France and discussed several areas for corporation.
A framework for a MOU to be signed at a future date was also discussed in detail. Mr. Chaphel pledged his support in the areas of hotel classification, training of staff in hotel management and destination marketing. Mr. Chaphel further requested information on projects undertaken to combat global warming.
Minister Moragoda was accompanied by the Sri Lankan Ambassador in France Ms. Chitrangani Wagiswera, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourist Board Mr. Renton de Alwis and Additional Director General Sri Lanka Tourist Board Mr.Dileep Mudadeniya.
France has recorded an average 35,000 tourists along with 300,000 roaming in 2004 and 2005. Subsequent to the travel advisory in October 2006 arrivals dropped sharply. Sri Lanka Tourism is optimistic that the change of the advisory and the recent visit to France by the Hon. Minister, will provide a kick start for winter arrivals 2007/2008. Arrivals from France mainly patronize hotels and attractions in the Cultural Triangle.
The Sri Lanka Tourist Board recently conducted an independent securing audit which resulted in the French tourism operation resuming the selling of Sri Lanka as a holiday destination. The results of the audit was presented on the 11th September at UNESCO and followed by several of promotional activities.
A separate event was organized to launch the World Tourism Day celebration by inviting leading women to the travel and tourism industry in France. 10 French students studying tourism were invited to submit the projects they have worked on the degree programmes and same was presented to the panel consist of key women professionals. This session was conducted by a welknown TV personality Alexandra Debanne.
A separate cultural show was also organized at UNESCO with more than 1000 spectators that comprised of mainly travel agents and tour operators while Sri Lanka also launched a special promotional campaign titled “Half a price for better half” to increase the numbers immediately.