While Sri Lanka is seeing a surge in interest from travellers, many agents are struggling to sell the destination because they are yet to visit themselves. India Unbound is an Australian tour operator that specialises in custom-made itineraries to India and Sri Lanka.
The company ran the familiarisation without assistance from Sri Lanka Tourism so that it could create the ultimate program for its guests, run a tour that truly reflected the magic of Sri Lanka and highlight India Unbound’s expertise and preferred style of touring and accommodation in Sri Lanka.
“Our familiarisation tours are so important because they help agents understand enough about the destination to be able to work with us to create custom made itineraries for their clients,’’ said Lincoln Harris, founder and tour planner at India Unbound.
“In this sense, investing a week of their time to sample the destination invariable pays off with the types of bookings that will create repeat and referral business for agents.’’
India Unbound’s familiarization tour included Sigiriya, Madulkelle, Hatton, Yala National Park, Weligama, Galle and Colombo. Two staff members from India Unbound’s Melbourne office also accompanied the tour. Feedback from the participating agents has been positive, India Unbound said.
“So many of my friends and clients have commented on the photos I posted on Facebook and Instagram and the main thing they all say is ‘how beautiful it looks’. It was truly a special place,’’ said Anna Whatford of Lidstrom & Clyne Travel.
“Sri Lanka is a unique destination, which offers something for everyone and has the climate to attract travellers too,’’ added Karen Clarke of Ackerfeld & Goldberg Travel Associates. Both agents were on the tour.