The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Brussels conducted a tourism promotion workshop in Namur, Belgium on 04 October 2022. The Governor of the Namur Province, Denis Mathen, inaugurated the workshop and spoke in favour of promoting Sri Lanka as a holiday destination for the people in the province. This is the first time a Sri Lanka tourism promotion event has been held in the French-speaking Walloon region.
Around 50 tour operators and agents, travel journalists, travel media and TV professionals, travel bloggers, social media influencers, representatives of airlines, and decision-makers from the Belgian tourism industry attended the event. The local TV channel, Walloon TV, provided media coverage for the event, which added further outreach to Sri Lanka’s tourism.
Delivering the welcome address, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Belgium, Grace Asirwatham said that, popularly endorsed as one of the best tourist destinations in the world, Sri Lanka was an extremely safe, secure, and serene destination for visitors. Further, Ambassador Asirwatham explained the post-COVID-19 situation in the country and informed that the country was fully open to tourists from all over the world. She also prevailed on the travel agencies to include Sri Lanka in their list of countries as one of the best destinations for Belgian travellers.
Honorary Consul of Sri Lanka in Antwerp Monique De Decker, Managing Director of Andrew The Travel Company (Pvt) Ltd Mahen Kariyawasan, and Advisor of the Classic Destinations Ruwan De Alwis, made presentations to promote the diverse tourist attractions in Sri Lanka including mainstream and niche products. Administrator of Public Market Michele le Grand-Decharneux, shared her best experience with the Sri Lanka travel industry and recommended Sri Lanka as the most attractive destination for holidays to Belgian travellers. Representatives from Emirates and Qatar airlines joined the event to promote the economic and effective connectivity options that their respective carriers provide to facilitate the travel of tourists from Belgium to Sri Lanka. The workshop presented Sri Lanka as a natural tourism destination with diverse splendours and grandeur, golden beaches, incredible features and topographies for everyone to have a journey of a lifetime.
The number of Belgian travellers visiting Sri Lanka has seen a remarkable increase since 2010. 5371 Belgian travellers visited Sri Lanka in 2010, which increased to 17,519 in 2018. In the post-COVID-19 situation, the number of Belgian tourists visiting Sri Lanka is gradually increasing and it stood at 4,783 in 2022 up to August. With the Belgian government relaxing its travel advisory for Sri Lanka in September 2022, the travel industry is eager to promote the country as one of the best holiday destinations for Belgian tourists. The Embassy has been organising similar tourism promotion activities in other major cities such as Brussels, Ghent, and Antwerp since 2021 and has decided to continue it as a permanent activity in its annual action plan under economic diplomacy.