A group of 23 journalists, each representing 23 different press and media enterprises of France and Belgium, is due to arrive in Sri Lanka on the 18th January 2020 on a familiarization tour organized by Salaun Holidays, one of the leading tour operators in France.
Initiated by Chairman and Proprietor of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas Chandra Wickramasinghe together with Michel Salaun, Chairman and Proprietor of Salaun Holidays, this ensemble will be the largest to arrive from France since the Easter Sunday setback. With over 200 subsidiaries scattered around France, Salaun Holidays was recently brought to limelight for its recent acquisition of over 50 travel boutiques previously managed by Thomas Cook.
Among the media personnel attending the familiarization tour are Philippe Lefebvre from France Inter (6 million auditors daily) and Emmanuel Langlois from France Info (4.4 million auditors daily), representing two of the most renown national radio broadcasting channels in France. Among the representatives of national newspapers of France who have agreed to join in are Jean Pierre who was a former journalist at Le Figaro one of the best-selling daily newspapers in France. Martine Robert from Les Echos (130,000 issues sold daily), Sandrine Mercier from A/R Magazine (25,000 issues sold weekly) and Eric Valenne from Telepro weekly Belgian magazine (140,000 issues sold weekly) will also be among the group.
Among the journalists of French regional newspapers will be Charlotte Hervot representing Ouest-France (640,000 issues sold daily), Thierry Suzan representing L’Est Republicain (210,000 issues sold daily), Maxime Pedrero from La Voix du Nord (197,000 issues sold daily), Hubert Coudurier Le Telegramme (186,000 issues sold daily), Bernard Moulin from Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace (135,000 issues sold daily), Sandra Basso representing La Provence (89,000 issues sold daily), Claire Camarasa from Nice Matin (89,000 issues sold daily), Isabelle Bollene from L’Alsace (65,000 issues sold daily) and Christelle Lasaires from La Charente Libre (28,000 issues sold daily).
Among travel and tourism related media enterprises will be Dominique Gobert and Laurie Medina representing TourMaG, one of the best-known information portals for tourism professionals selling 656,000 printed copies alone per month. Florian De Paola from L’Echo Touristique (256,000 issues sold monthly), Bruno Courtin from Tour Hebdo (76,000 issues sold monthly), Jean François Belenger from Voyages et Groupes magazine (50,000 issues sold monthly), Yves Pouchard from La Quotidienne (46,000 issues sold monthly) and Jennifer Istace from Travel Magazine published in Belgium will also be participating in the endeavor.
During their tour, Salaun Holidays will be joining hands with “Reconstruire et Vivre” (R.e.V), the long-established CSR arm of Connaissance de Ceylan, to ceremoniously inaugurate a Center for Computer and English Language Training in Audangawa temple, envisaging the intellectual and technological development of the underprivileged youth of the region. Managed and headed by Mrs. Patricia Wickramasinghe, R.e.V was founded on the very next day of the devastating Tsunami attack in December 2004, with the intention of building a few houses for the victims of the catastrophe. By this date, R.e.V has constructed 93 houses, 3 preschools and 4 Computer and Language Centers, serving local communities in need around the island.
The Computer and Language Training Center in Audangawa will be inaugurated by His Excellency Eric Lavertu, the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and Michel Salaun himself, who has always believed in contributing to the social and cultural development of the host countries. Being passionate advocates of ‘giving back’ to the community, for Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas, this occasion is undoubtedly a milestone among many others, in thier deep-rooted journey of sustainability.
With a large number of media professionals collaborating in the event, the value of the media coverage of the tour is estimated to be over 500 million Sri Lankan Rupees. “At a time of need like this, the value of media publicity accompanied by this venture to the country, is immeasurable” said Chandra Wickramasinghe.
Further elaborating on his thoughts, he said “the lack of a properly organized marketing drive from the tourism authorities following the Easter attacks has brought upon a huge downfall in the tourism industry. I believe that private initiatives of this nature would immensely contribute in gaining the momentum of the tourist arrivals and provide a boost to the industry.”
He also highlighted the fact that he hopes that the tourism authorities of the country would render their fullest support and assistance in whatever little efforts made passionate individuals such as he, to see tourism thrive in the island once again.