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The French Travel Agents Association or the Syndicat National des Agences de Voyages (SNAV) has chosen Sri Lanka as the next venue for their annual congress 2016.This major feat garnered by the country would attract approx 600 French decision makers that would guide and steer the French tourism industry.  The event will be a key image building exercise harnessing the potentials of Sri Lanka as a key travel destination for the French Market.  It is in a long while that SNAV had picked a destination in Asia to host this major event, the last being in 2005 in Beijing.   

In a bilateral aspect, France is one of the key countries for Sri Lanka in tourism and travel standing at over 80,000 French travelers to the country in 2015.  France has emerged the 5th largest sourcing market for Sri Lanka tourism.  The exposure to be received from this event will have a spillover effect in many fields and it will further consolidate and strengthen the bilateral bonds of friendship between the people of Sri Lanka and France. 

During the recently concluded IFTM TOPRESA Travel Fair in France, Sri Lanka’s bid document was presented to the SNAV President by the delegation headed by Arundika Fernando Deputy Minister of Tourism, Tilak Ranaviraja, the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to France, Mr Nirosh Rasiah, Coordinating Secretary to the Minister of Tourism along with industry authorities and the private sector.  It enabled to seal the final deal for Sri Lanka amongst a few other countries that had presented bids to host the event in marketing their respective destinations.  The official campaign to bring SNAV congress to Sri Lanka was spearheaded in Paris by Ambassador Tilak Ranaviraja, Commercial Counsellor Mr Alexi Gunasekera, Mr Vipula Wangiasekera, CEO of the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Ms Sarangi Thilakasena of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau very well supported by Minister and Deputy Minister of Tourism the industry authorities and the SriLankan Airlines.    

In bringing this prestigious event to Sri Lanka, the national efforts exerted around the country in modernizing the tourism sector has been acknowledged along with the quality of services provided in Sri Lanka tourism apart from its natural beauty compactness authenticity and diversity.

Created in 1945, SNAV is a professional organization being the sole interlocutor for both producers and distributors of tourism with the aim to ensure economic and social stability of the industry and tourism travel in France and Europe.  As such SNAV travel professionals’ network with major federations of institutional tourism and is a permanent member of ECTAA (European Association of Travel Agencies).

The Embassy of Sri Lanka

France

21st October 2015


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