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SriLankan Airlines kills two birds with one stone at its Global Sales Conference

The recent Global Sales Conference hosted by SriLankan Airlines with the participation of some 200 of its top international agents and tour operators succeeded in achieving two things in one action.

Simply put, in addition to making the conference an event where the Airline presented its future expansion plans and commercial strategy to its international travel representatives, it went ahead and squeezed the best out of the opportunity by allowing them to build a deep emotional connection with Sri Lanka as a truly unique tourism destination.

The three-day programme engaged the world’s travel trade community in thoughtfully curated tours, accompanied by the members of the Airline’s worldwide sales team, taking them to visit some of Sri Lanka’s most iconic landmarks.

In terms of destination branding, this was very important as the participants were representatives of SriLankan Airlines’ direct network spanning the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, the Far East, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. The visitors comprised general sales agents, travel agents, tour operators and franchisees of the Airline’s tour operating arm, SriLankan Holidays

Subsequently the main conference held at Shangri-La Hambantota served as a platform for the global travel industry community to offer their valued personal perspectives to improve the Airlines’ future endeavours in destination marketing.

Richard Nuttall, CEO of SriLankan Airlines in his keynote speech said, “We wanted to bring travel agents from all over the world to Sri Lanka so that they can experience this wonderful country for what it is and go home inspired to promote Sri Lanka as a remarkable and safe destination. I hope that this programme will help them make an emotional connection with Sri Lanka and make them ask themselves how they can add to the value proposition of Sri Lanka Tourism.”

Dimuthu Tennakoon, Head of Worldwide Sales and Distribution of SriLankan Airlines said, “Last year’s Global Sales Conference helped us go beyond our targets, and I expect that this year will be no different. We have received the backing of our agents for the commercial plans that we shared during the conference, and I am confident that this will help us stay on target to deliver even greater results this year.”

Tennakoon presented the Airline’s network and fleet expansion plans as well as the upcoming international rollout of ‘SriLankan Direct Connect,’ a booking platform for agents based on IATA’s New Distribution Capability (NDC) solutions.

“SriLankan Airlines has always been a tourism leader, stimulating inbound travel into Sri Lanka from numerous markets. Our marketing efforts are tailored to leverage on emerging travel trends and highlight Sri Lanka’s hidden gems, of which they are many. Our campaigns unveil the experience catalogue of Sri Lanka and capture the different tempos, ethos and melodies that shape the innate music of this island,” said Saminda Perera, Head of Marketing at SriLankan Airlines.

Amit Pardasani from Delhi-based Belair – the Global Travel Company said, “I had the chance to engage with the SriLankan Airlines’ leadership team and learn about their future expansion plans. We are keen on aligning our company’s goals with the vision of SriLankan Airlines and promoting Sri Lanka in India. In addition to that, we will do the same for Sri Lanka Tourism at our points of sale in the United Kingdom and Singapore.”

Alexandre Bigeard, Head of Transport of French tour operator, KaravelPromovacances and FRAM said, ” When you come to Sri Lanka you want to smile and when you leave you want to cry.”

The Airline said that it would continue to engage with the international travel agents and tour operators to position Sri Lanka as one of the world’s most iconic destinations.

By Sanath Nanayakkare | The Island

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