Sri Lanka lures one million Chinese tourists improving bilateral contacts
The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing, consistent with its efforts to continuously promote Sri Lankan tourism in the Chinese market, is targeting one million Chinese tourists to visit Sri Lanka after the China travel restrictions are relaxed, a statement from the mission said.
Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona met with the General Manager of Beijing Spring Travel Service Co., Ltd, Mr.Yang Yang, on November 16, 2022, in order to further bilateral cooperation in the tourism industry.
The Ambassador Dr. Kohona said that the Embassy is also exploring all possible ways to position Sri Lanka as a preferred destination in the Chinese Market including a formal request to the authorities.
General Manager Mr. Yang said that Beijing Spring Travel Service Co., Ltd is among the top 10 Travel companies in Beijing and Shanghai and has been accorded award certificates many times by the Chinese Government and the travel trade. The annual business turnover of Spring Travel in 2019 was 24.5 billion RMB (3.5 billion USD). Spring Airlines is valued at 50 billion RMB.
The company is already well established in the Sri Lanka travel trade and connected with local travel companies. They have organised a series of group visits to Sri Lanka before the pandemic. The company owns Spring Airlines with 110 aircraft (A320).
The Ambassador has already spoken with the airlines of Chongqing, Shanghai, Shandong and Sichuan. The Ambassador and Mr.Yang also discussed the possibility of Spring Airlines establishing air connectivity with Colombo from Chongqing, Chengdu, and Kunming.
In order too further encourage major Chinese travel operators to promote Sri Lanka as a destination of choice, post-COVID-19, The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Beijing, hosted a ‘Sri Lanka Tourism and Culture Event’ recently in collaboration with around 60-70 tour operators, travel agencies and media.
Among the participants were the UN Resident Coordinator in China, CITS, Smile Time, Sri Lanka Airlines in Beijing, CYTS, Zhonghe Travel, CAISSA Travel, Spring International Travel, China Cruise Industry Development, Ctrip, Wu Zhouxing Travel, Fashion Travel, and other travel agencies specializing on Sri Lanka tourism.
Ties with the major Chinese travel agencies and tour operators have been enhanced and would likely increase the flow of tourists to Sri Lanka once the China travel restrictions are relaxed.
The Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona addressing the gathering said “Sri Lanka has opened its borders for some time now and travelers can enter Sri Lanka without any restrictions.
Almost every place of tourist interest has been reopened to travelers. Despite the social unrest, earlier this year, Sri Lanka tourism has been gradually returning to normalcy. So far, we are receiving visitors from all over the world.”