The festival was inaugurated with a gala dinner on the 7th March with over 150 guests, comprising the senior officials of the State Government of Maharashtra, the diplomatic corps, media personnel, representatives of the leading tour and travel agencies, members of the Indo - Sri Lanka Society and friends of Sri Lanka.
A large number of guests from India and western tourists participated in the festival and tasted the Sri Lankan cuisine. Their feedback indicates that the event has succeeded in inspiring many. In 2013, tourists from India comprised 17% of the total tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka with a total of 208,795 tourists. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau expects this number to rise to 280,000 in 2014.