The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Iran organized a tourism promotion partnership event-2022 at its Chancery premises in Tehran on 06April 2022 with the support of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Associations of Air Transport and Tourist Agencies of Iran. Around 75 guests, mainly travel agents & tour operators, airline representatives, journalists, academics, travel consultants & industry specialists and bloggers were present. The purpose of the event was to enhance partnerships in promoting Sri Lanka tourism in Iran and to share recent tourism developments in Sri Lanka among the people of Iran.

Welcoming the guests, Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Iran, Vipulatheja Wishwanath Aponsu expressed that tourists from Iran help to the Sri Lanka tourism industry, strengthening bilateral relations and people-to-people contacts between Sri Lanka and Iran. Further, he highlighted that a destination cannot stand alone and thus, it is important to establish strong partnerships among all stakeholders in the field of tourism to enhance the existing tourism cooperation between the two countries.

In his comprehensive presentation by virtual mode, Director (Marketing) of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Dushan Wickramasuriya introduced Sri Lanka as a country of historical monuments, natural wonders, unique lifestyles with more delicious typical cuisine and a safe destination. Highlighting the recent growth of tourist arrivals from Iran, he briefed on Sri Lanka’s tourism hospitality, industry way forward and current health protocols to be followed by the visitors during their stay in Sri Lanka.

The interactive session of the event created a platform for Iranian tourism stakeholders to sort out their issues, barriers and challenges directly from Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Embassy Officials. All participants agreed to work together with the Sri Lanka Embassy in promoting Sri Lanka tourism and emphasized the need of more awareness programmes on Sri Lanka tourism. The issue of direct air connectivity between Tehran and Colombo, the possibility of entering into the Memorandum of Understanding with Iran in the field of tourism and several other matters including travel packages, discounted air tickets price and training opportunities were highlighted.

In response, Ambassador Wishwanath Aponsu appreciated their commitment and interest to join hands with the Sri Lanka Embassy in promoting Sri Lanka tourism and assured to bring some issues for the attention of relevant authorities in Sri Lanka. Highlighting the Tourism stakeholders’ support for securing Iran among the top 10 tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka during the period of 01-29 March 2022, Sri Lanka’s envoy sought their continued support to encourage more Iranian tourists to Sri Lanka in future.

Chairman of the Association of Air Transport and Tourist Agencies of Iran, Hormatullah Rafiei, in his brief remarks, thanked the Sri Lanka Ambassador and the staff for the invitation to him at the event. While highlighting the outcome of the productive event, he assured his Association’sfullest support to establish a strong partnership network among relevant stakeholders enabling Iran to send more tourists to Sri Lanka in coming months.

Videos on Sri Lanka tourism were also displayed during the event. The participants were treated to a high tea arranged by the Embassy. A door gift pack of Sri Lankan tea and tokens was presented to all guests.