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Aitken Spence Travels records landmark 178,000 happy visitors to Sri Lanka

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 18 May 2018 00:00

Aitken Spence Travels, the largest inbound tour operator in the country, closed the 2017/18 financial year with a total inbound volume exceeding 178,000 happy visitors to Sri Lanka. 

This year’s performance builds on the previous year’s record high of 153,000 tourists, by far the largest number of visitor arrivals handled by any Destination Management Company in the country. Aitken Spence Travels’ growth was recorded at 16% while during the same period the country’s arrivals grew by 7%. 

Commenting on the feat, Aitken Spence Travels Managing Director Nalin Jayasundera stated: “This achievement was possible due to our continuous efforts in diversifying to new markets and growing the existing markets by securing new business. I am happy to note our increased visitor numbers resulted in the company recording the highest ever profit thus far. This was due to the excellent teamwork of the staff who ensured that our clients are served with dedication and professionalism coupled with years of experience in the tourism industry.”  

“The contribution of our tour operator partners has been significant to the company’s achievements. We place our sincere appreciation for the support extended by hotel partners, airlines and other suppliers for playing a significant role. The 41-year journey of Aitken Spence Travels is built on the ethos of trust and partnerships. We are privileged to have the best practices of TUI, the world’s largest integrated tourism company, and the strength and backing of the Aitken Spence Group,” he added. 

Aitken Spence Travels is active in many diverse segments of tourism. The company’s cruise shore excursions business commands market leadership in the country. The cruise business is a growing segment and Sri Lanka has the potential to offer a multi-port offering to differentiate in order to secure future business.  

The charter flight operations have been growing and the company has continued to handle charters from the UK, Sweden, Finland and Russia. In 2017/18, together with TUI, Aitken Spence Travels handled a charter from Poland for the first time which operated flights every 10 days. Due to the successful charter operation, TUI will be operating a second charter for winter 2018/19 from Poland.

The company has also made inroads on sports tours handled and has brought many teams from different sporting disciplines. Cricket by far is the most popular but netball, rugby and hockey tours have grown, and the company has made inroads with golf tourism.

As the only award-winning conference organiser, AST’s events unit manages international and local business and consumer events. The event portfolio covers medical, IT, education and consumer trade fairs. Flagship local events such as the Colombo Shopping Festival, Home and You and the Best Brand Show have attracted over 175,000 local visitors per annum. The unit also specialises in handling events in the Maldives.

In addition to giving back to the community in numerous ways, Aitken Spence Travels is among the few companies in Sri Lanka which offsets its carbon footprint across its operations. Visitors continue to place their trust and confidence in the company as they too become part of the organisation’s greater responsibility towards minimising the carbon footprint when participating in tours and excursions designed to have a minimum impact on the environment and nature. Travel Life Certification was secured for the operations, staying in line with global sustainable tourism practices. Since 2015, the company has been handling over 100,000 inbound clients and has not looked back since then. The formula for continuous success has been the commitment of the management and dedication of the staff to achieve a common corporate objective. The company carries out its own promotions in partnership with tour operators to create a stronger demand for the destination.

It is envisaged that the tourism industry and its stakeholders will stand to gain from the proposed digital promotion campaign. It is also important to have a sustained and effective marketing campaign for the benefit of tourism sector stakeholders and the overall economy of the country.

Looking ahead, Aitken Spence Travels hopes to continue to strengthen and build its international market position. The company will continue to shape the tourism industry by pioneering innovation in products and exploring multiple markets, be they Sports, MICE, Cruises, Nature, Luxury, Online and Charter operations.


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