Sri Lanka set for tourism boom: China Daily Newspaper

Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The latest issue of leading Chinese newspaper China Daily Asia Weekly has carried an article on Sri Lanka Tourism stating that “Sri Lanka is all set to transform its tourism sector and make it the largest foreign exchange earner by attracting 2.5 million tourists in year 2016.On its path for expanding tourism sector a heavy focus has been given to attract Chinese tourists and investors alike.” The cover story of the has highlighted that Sri Lanka is becoming one of the most sought after new holiday destinations for Chinese travellers who seek a mix  bag of exotic experience and exciting travel. Raving about the richness of Sri Lanka’s diverse landscape, the China Daily comments: “With its golden beaches, towering mountains, ancient monuments and stunning wildlife all enclosed in a compact island, Sri Lanka is pretty much the perfect holiday destination.” The article features views of various Sri Lanka tourism industry authorities and other stakeholders capturing their thoughts on the Chinese market tourism promotions and investments. “Tourism is a key revenue-generating sector of the Sri Lankan economy and we have identified China and a few other countries as the potential market to promote our tourism, We are also planning to take part in five international travel fairs and organise familiarisation tours for around 200 foreign journalists and tour operators in 2014.” Last year, the three-day Sri Lanka Shines in Beijing campaign was conducted in the Chinese capital, while promotional campaigns and a 200-bus branding exercise was carried out in the major Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou for a period of six months, the top management of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has mentioned to China Daily Asia Weekly. Explain plans to capture travellers from this growing market, SriLankan Airlines Chairman Nishantha Wickremasinghe has revealed: “China is a main focus in SriLankan Airlines’ marketing and promotional plans, as the future of the travel industry is in this region. We are also making every effort to welcome Chinese people to Sri Lanka and provide the necessary facilities on board as well as on the ground. Chinese-speaking passenger relations officers have been recruited to travel on flights to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong.” The article goes on to explain that according to the ‘Mahinda Chinthana’ development policy framework, measures have been taken by the Ministry of Economic Development to promote upscale tourism in Sri Lanka. “Spending per tourist per day is expected to rise over $ 200 during the next 10 years,” the document has said. “Eco-luxurious experiences for upscale tourists will be ensured. International shopping facilities will be promoted in major cities to assure shopping experiences for tourists.” The multiplier effect in the tourism sector is also envisaged in the construction, furniture, transport and food and beverage industries. Estimates suggest that these sectors will provide employment for about 100,000 people along with the new investments. The Government is also planning to improve the productivity of the tourism industry, through building professionalism in the travel and hotel industries. The private sector will be encouraged to set up human resource development centres to meet the emerging needs of the tourism industry locally and abroad. The article concludes: “Increasing Chinese tourists and Chinese investments in the Sri Lanka tourism sector will ensure economic growth in the island.” Currently Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka is on a steady rise with 224% growth recorded in January 2014 reflecting the effectiveness of the promotional campaigns executed from 2013 onwards. The latest jump shows encouraging signs as the Government of Sri Lanka carries out vigorous campaigns to capture a slice out of the growing Chinese outbound tourism market. According to the China Tourism Academy, the number of Chinese tourists going abroad is set to rise from 83 million in 2012 to more than 200 million by 2020.