Sri Lankan Prez Wickremesinghe to attend the opening ceremony of the TAAI convention in Colombo


The President of Sri Lanka H.E. Ranil Wickremesinghe will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony of the 67th convention of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), being held in Colombo from July 6-9.

The prime minister of Sri Lanka, Dinesh Gunawardena shall be a part of the event on July 7 and the high Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Gopal Bagley shall also be present and shall be gracing the inaugural ceremony.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe will attend the opening ceremony of the 67th convention of the Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI), to be held in Colombo from July 6-9, the TAAI said on Monday.

While Wickremesinghe will be the chief guest at the inaugural function on July 6 evening, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena shall take part in an event on July 7, said TAAI president Jyoti Mayal.

Established in 1951, the TAAI is one of the oldest travel-related associations in India, and its last convention was held in Singapore in 2022.

“The President of Sri Lanka will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony of our 67th annual convention. He will also deliver an address to delegates,” Mayal said.

On the second day of the Indian Travel Congress 2023, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka will grace an event to be held as part of the convention in Colombo, she said.

The TAAI also issued a statement, saying the two dignitaries will attend two separate events related to the convention.

The convention has received an “overwhelming response” and the delegation size has 500 stakeholder member partners from India, besides other delegates, the TAAI said.

“TAAI’s last convention was held in Singapore aboard a cruise. And, Sri Lanka playing host to this grand event after the turmoil it went through last year following the economic crisis, shows the island nation is ready again to welcome visitors. And, we are delighted to hold the convention in Sri Lanka with which India shares a deep historical and cultural connection,” Mayal said.

The TAAI chief said it is one of the major large-scale events in the tourism sector that is happening after the COVID-19 pandemic in Sri Lanka.

“The focus of the convention this year is completely futuristic. The pandemic was tragic and truly devastating. But, after the recovery made in the sector on the growing confidence of travellers who seek to put the pandemic memories behind, the time is now right for us to move forward,” she said.

The theme of the convention this year is ‘Transcending Borders, Transforming Lives’, and the event taking place in Sri Lanka will offer a great opportunity to understand the nuances of the travel industry and discover the beautiful country, the TAAI said in the statement.

The convention is being held with the support of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and the Sri Lankan Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), it said.

The TAAI is India’s premier, nodal, largest and oldest travel and tourism association. With a membership base of over 2,700 leading Indian companies involved actively with tourism, the association works closely with the Indian Ministry of Tourism and state tourism boards of the country, the statement said.

The business sessions lined up for the convention will focus on topics such as — ‘India Tourism Vision 2047: A Transformed Landscape of Experiences and Connections’; The Boundless Potential of the Skies’; ‘Experiential Travel – A Paradigm Shift in Tourism’; ‘NEXTAAI – The TAAI Members’ Technology initiative’; ‘Differentiating Travel – Perspectives from Industry Experts’; ‘Transcending Borders – Strengthening International Relations for a Transformed World’; and ‘TAAI – The Road Ahead’.

On the final day of the convention, there will be a special address by Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism and Lands, Sri Lanka, the TAAI said.

“Our convention will serve as a conduit for fostering a stronger bilateral relationship between India and Sri Lanka. With around 200 Sri Lankan tourism stakeholders participating in B2B sessions, we expect this event to be a fruitful venue for networking and establishing strong business relations. Such interaction is vital in harnessing the growth of inbound and outbound travel from India and channelling it towards destinations that offer new, exciting experiences,” said Jay Bhatia, vice-president, of TAAI.

Mayal said that the Indian market will undoubtedly become one of the most sought-after markets globally, given the immense potential for outbound travel. “As we all prepare to gather in Colombo, let us seize this opportunity to explore these trends, share our insights, and work together to shape a future where travel transcends borders and truly transforms lives,” she added.