In a massive show of confidence, the Universal Federation of Travel Agents Association (UFTAA) held its 2019 Mid-Year Forum in the city of Colombo, Sri Lanka from 1st to 3rd of September 2019.
The global travel and tourism federation convened its members from across the world to Sri Lanka’s commercial city in an effort to show support for the destination.
On the Easter Sunday of April 21, this year, Sri Lanka faced one of its worst terrorist attacks after suicide bombers hit three churches and three luxury hotels in the capital Colombo in a series of coordinated attacks.
UFTAA President Sunil Kumar was unequivocal ” we have come here as travel and tourism professionals from across the world to tell everyone that Sri Lanka is safe as a tourism destination and has overcome the cowardly acts of evil. We did it before with Turkey when they were attacked in 2016 and we are doing it again with Sri Lanka”.
At a gala dinner organized in honour of the delegates, Sri Lanka Tourism Minister Mr. John Amaratunga was elated that the travel professionals had stood with his country during its worst moment. ” When we were attacked in April the president of UFTAA personally came here to express solidarity with Sri Lankans. We are happy that UFTAA has chosen to hold its mid-year forum in Colombo. This demonstrates the confidence travel professionals have in our country”, he said.
Among the UFTAA delegates was the President of the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TURSAB) Mr. Cetin Gürcün who gave a strong testimony of how UFTAA came to their aid at their hour of need. ” When we experienced a series of terrorist attacks in our country in 2016 including a widely reported incident at our main airport, the tourism industry was badly affected. We were facing an imminent collapse when we reached out to UFTAA for support”.
He further said, “In 2017, UFTAA chose to hold its Annual General Assembly and Jubilee Celebrations in Istanbul and spoke very strongly in support of our country. I am happy to report that our tourism industry has recovered very well and this year we are headed for a record number of tourists in our country.”
It is such testimonies, says UFTAA President Sunil Kumar, that makes UFTAA a powerful advocacy platform for her members. The ability to rally among ourselves especially during such unfortunate and difficult periods is what makes UFTAA tick.
At the end of the Forum, delegates were treated to a city tour of the various attractions within and around Colombo city including the famous Independent square.