Sri Lanka becomes cynosure at MITT Travel Show in Russia

Sri Lanka impressed the Russian travel and trade community by showcasing it’s galore of holiday opportunities and made Russian travellers consider having a different experience in a different destination, at the Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition (MITT) that was held in Moscow from 16-18 March 2023, for the 29th successive year.  

The Sri Lankan pavilion at the exhibition was organised in collaboration with the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Russia, and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau. 

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau attended MITT 2023 in an area of 63 sqms with 12 travel industry participants including Aitken Spence Travels and other tour operators and hotels.

This Sri Lanka stand that was located in Pavilion number 1 was officially opened by Sri Lankan Ambassador for Russia Prof. Janiatha Liyanage on 16 March 2023 followed by Chalaka Gajabahu, Sasika Jayaweera from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and Chamila Jayarathne, Tishan De Silva, Olessya Romanova and Anna Makarovskaya from the Embassy also participated at the opening ceremony among other travel industry participants and distinguished guests. 

The total number of visitors have increased this year from 60% compared to the MITT event held in Russia in 2022. The event enhanced business program was packed with exciting new events and helped attract a target audience of travel industry professionals. 14,830 visitors, 750 exhibitors from 20 countries and 57 regions of Russia.

A VIP Networking reception was held on 16 March at 10:30 

11:45 a.m. where Prof. Janitha Liyanage and SLTPB chairman Chalaka Gajabahu addressed the forum.On the final day of the event, Sri Lanka won the prestigious accolade of Most Welcoming stand at the year at MITT 2023 by the official fair organiser. 

On 17 March, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau organised a networking session along with the media briefing in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Embassy in Russia which commenced at 16:00 hrs and followed with dinner. 

Prof. Janitha Liyanage and Chalaka Gajabahu addressed the audience. They briefly expressed how Russian arrivals have increased the last few months and what Sri Lanka as a destination has to offer and what sort of support can be given to continue the arrivals. 

Further, the National Investment Industrial Bank in Russia Head of Currency Control Department Alexandra Sukneva also gave a brief introduction to the tour operators on the payment issues that are faced by the Russians who are travelling to overseas countries due to the sanctions imposed on Russia and what sort of measures have been taken with the People’s bank in Sri Lanka.

On the side-lines of MITT 2023, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and the Sri Lanka Embassy in Russia, held discussions with Russian Airlines, to increase the frequency of their commercial flights for boosting tourism. 

A Live interview was held on this topic on RT TV, Russia, with Prof. Janitha Liyanage and SLTPB Chairman Chalaka Gajabahu to generate publicity for this initiative among the Russian tourists. Despite of the prevailing situation in Russia, their national carrier Aeroflot resumption the operation. Azur Air charter flights operates from 04 main cities in Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnoyarsk and Novosibirsk). Further, the Red Wings Airline operates to Mattala Airport. All these flights commence their operation at the beginning of the winter 2022 & 2023.

Sri Lanka Tourism continue to proceed with its promotional activities in Russia with the support of the industry, bringing foreign media, bloggers, influencers, travel agents and also attending key promotional events overseas. Further a 06 month PR campaign activity and a two week’s short-term social media campaign is in the pipeline to be implemented as a tactical measure to increase the influx of tourists from Russia.  

Sri Lanka Tourism is resilient and ready to welcome visitors to enjoy the best of local hospitality coupled with some of the finest products and services to satisfy even the most discerning traveller. Participating at a leading travel show such as MITT 2023 is vital in order to take the message that the island is safe, secure and fully equipped to offering the best travel experience in South Asia.