The largest press and media delegation from France and Belgium on a familiarization tour in Sri Lanka

The French and Belgian Media delegation successfully completes their familiarization tour in Sri Lanka; an initiative of Mr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, the Chairman and Managing Director of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas, organized in collaboration with Salaün Holidays (, a leading tour operator in France.

Under the guidance of Mr. Chandra Wickramasinghe, the Chairman and Managing Director of Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme Resorts & Spas, organized with the patronage of Salaün Holidays, the tour commenced on the 18th of January 2020 with the arrival of the foreign delegates representing 20 different press and media enterprises. As they were garlanded by beautiful Sri Lankan ladies in traditional Sri Lankan attire at the Bandaranayake International Airport, the eager faces of French and Belgian media personnel were adorned with enthusiastic smiles.

During the four-day tour, the participants explored the cities of Sigiriya, Kandy and Colombo, three of the main attractions of any tourist who visits the island. The main highlights of the tour included the helicopter ride from the Colombo to Sigiriya, discovering the ancient Sigiriya Rock Fortress, inauguration of the Computer and Language Center in Audangawa, cookery demonstration at the “Nagula” paddy museum at Aliya Resort & Spa, Jeep Safari at the Minneriya National Park and Visit of Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy.

The Computer and Language Training Center in Audangawa was inaugurated by His Excellency Mr. Eric Lavertu, the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and Mr. Michel Salaün, the Chairman and Proprietor of Salaün Holidays who has always believed in contributing to the social and cultural development of the host countries. A CSR initiative of Connaissance de Ceylan conducted through R.e.V (Reconstruire et Vivre), this project would immensely aid in improving the English language proficiency and the computer literacy of the young students of the region.

Media Value of the Initiative

The biggest group of media personnel from France and Belgium to arrive in the country since the Easter Sunday setback, the congregation consisted of 20 journalists representing 20 press and media enterprises in France and Belgium. The objective behind the familiarization tour was to showcase cultural and historical attractions of the country and to boost the tourism industry of Sri Lanka.

The media value of the event is immense, owing to the French and Belgian media partners who collaborated on this venture. Among the media personnel who participated in the familiarization tour was Emmanuel Langlois from France Info, a renown national radio broadcasting channel in France.

Among the representatives of national newspapers of France who joined in were Jean Pierre who was a former journalist at Le Figaro one of the best-selling daily newspapers in France. Martine Robert from Les Echos, Sandrine Mercier from A/R Magazine and Eric Valenne from Telepro weekly Belgian magazine were also among the group.

Among the journalists of French regional newspapers were Charlotte Hervot representing Ouest-France, Thierry Suzan representing L’Est Republicain, Maxime Pedrero from La Voix du Nord, Hubert Coudurier from Le Telegramme, Bernard Moulin from Dernières Nouvelles d’Alsace, Sandra Basso representing La Provence, Claire Camarasa from Nice Matin, Isabelle Bollene from L’Alsace and Christelle Lasaires from La Charente Libre.

Among travel and tourism related media enterprises Laurie Medina represented TourMaG, one of the best-known information portals for tourism professionals selling 656,000 printed copies alone per month. Other participants were Florian De Paola from L’Echo Touristique, Bruno Courtin from Tour Hebdo, Jean François Belenger from Voyages et Groupes magazine, Yves Pouchard from La Quotidienne and Jennifer Istace from Travel Magazine published in Belgium.

“At a time of need like this, the value of media publicity accompanied by this venture to the country, is immeasurable” says Mr. Chandra Wickramasinghe. He further elaborates: “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 back the momentum of tourist arrivals and provide the much-needed boost to the industry. My dream is to see tourism thrive once again in Sri Lanka.”

About Salaun Holidays

With 88 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Salaün Holidays is based in Brittany, the westernmost region of France. Founded by Michel Salaün, the grandfather of the present CEO, the company commenced its journey in 1982 and has become one of the tour operators that is most sought after today. The Group now employs more than 726 people in several countries offering more than 250 tours in 110 different countries, and has made 220,000 travelers discover the world in 2019 alone.

About R.e.V

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 across the island. R.e.V being the long-established CSR arm of Connaissance de Ceylan, Connaissance de Ceylan and Theme resorts & Spas are the primary sponsors and donors of the association. Initially meant to rebuild a few houses for the victims of the Tsunami attack, R.e.V’s thirst to serve local communities did not cease once this initial goal was achieved. Since its commencement, R.e.V. has been continuously helping under-privileged communities for the past 15 years.