(Photo Caption): L-R Felix Rodrigo, Sr. Advisor to Hon. Minister, Nalin Jayasundera, Vice President, SLAITO, Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General, Sri Lanka Consulate, John Amaratunga, Tourism Minister, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs of Sri Lanka, Kishu Gomes, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Buddhika Hewawasam, Manager, Sri Lankan Holidays, Chinthaka Weerasinghe, Regional Manager, Sri Lankan Airlines – North India, Viranga Bandara, Assistant Director, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau
In an effort to ramp up Indian outbound tourists visiting Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Tourism in collaboration with SriLankan Airlines, The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) and inbound tour operators has introduced attractive packages, specifically targeting India, the number one inbound source market, to revive the industry that had a temporary setback due to the recent incident.
The package offered includes discounted airfare, accommodation, transport and more, ranging from 30% to 60%. This package is unique to India and can be availed across Sri Lankan Airlines’ network covering 12 cities in India with 123 weekly flights.
Chamari Rodrigo, Consul General, Sri Lanka along with the Sri Lankan delegation headed by John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs attended the event.
The Minister of Tourism spoke of the restored security environment in Sri Lanka and assured the audience that the incident will not reoccur again. He further requested media to fully support the efforts put forth by the Sri Lanka Tourism Board together with key stakeholders of the industry and thanked them for their extended support in the past which has been instrumental in making India the number one source market for Sri Lanka.
The five tour packages to Sri Lanka range from a combination of stays in Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dambulla, Sigiriya and South Coast with multiple options to suit any budget. These offers will be valid for stays from June 10 to September 30, 2019, and can be availed through the travel agents network in India.
Kishu Gomes, Chairman, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau described the brand and marketing communication strategy aimed at reviving the industry as well as the growth trajectory that Sri Lanka Tourism recorded. Furthermore, Gomes requested Indian tourists to avail of the attractive package while supporting the process of recovery as Sri Lanka’s most respected neighbour.
“India has been the number one source market to Sri Lanka over the past decade and in 2018 recorded over 400,000 visitors to the island. The national carrier SriLankan Airlines operates 123 weekly flights from key Indian cities and we believe such offers are quick to popularise across Indian cities,” said Dimuthu Tennakoon, Head of Worldwide Sales and Distribution (HWSD) of Sri Lankan Airlines.
Additionally, MasterCard, which has over 180 million Indian cardholders, has also come on board to promote the launched packages through their well-connected channels.
India has accounted for 18.2%, which is 424,887 arrivals in 2018, an impeccable 10.5% hike from last year. In 2017 itself, 383,000 Indians visited the destination.
In 2018, this number increased to 426,000. Sri Lanka aims to progressively promote the destination for weddings and film shoots this year, with leisure being the primary focus.