Jiang Ying of China established a tourism landmark when she arrived in Colombo along with her spouse by SriLankan Airlines UL 889 at 2200 hours on 30 December, to become the millionth tourist in 2012.
For the first time in history, Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism industry achieved a seven digit tourist traffic total calendar year while the traffic from China have recorded immense growth during the past three years. Currently SriLankan operates a total of 17 flights per week to Beijing, Shanghai, Canton and Hong Kong.
“Discovering the new peaceful Sri Lanka, will undoubtedly be a pleasant experience, particularly for the first time travellers here and it is my fervent wish that visitors not only enjoy the diversity of this land but also experience the hospitality and friendship of the people here” said Nishantha Wickremasinghe, Chairman, SriLankan Airlines.
As the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines has been in the forefront of promoting Sri Lanka in its network of 63 destinations in 34 countries working together with budget carrier, Mihin Lanka and all its code-sharing airline partners who have contributed to the traffic growth.
The airline’s marketing strategies in 2011/2012 focused on the emerging markets particularly China and India with increased flight frequencies to both countries, during 2012. The airline has plans to develop its route network to cover 70 destinations in 40 countries.
“We will continue to reposition SriLankan and ‘peaceful’ Sri Lanka as an integrated product through the many services we offer in our network, to reach the Government’s target of 2.5 million visitors by 2016,” said Kapila Chandrasena, SriLankan’s Chief Executive Officer.
“We have identified Sri Lanka’s main tourism generating markets and are currently working towards strengthening air links to traditional markets and increasing frequencies to emerging new markets in Asia and the Middle East covering all regions that will further contribute to cater to a growing leisure sector,” said G.T. Jeyaseelan, SriLankan’s Chief Marketing Officer.
SriLankan Airlines’ carried over half the total inbound traffic to Sri Lanka in 2012.