Sri Lanka launches major tourism drive in China

Thursday, 4 July 2019 00:25 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A group photo with media representatives from China at the press conference


The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau launched a major charm offensive in China recently, courting some of the most popular travel agencies and tourists in a bid to lure more Chinese visitors to the city. 

Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga even highlighted the possibility of lifting the visa fee for Chinese visitors, seeing that the country is ready to welcome Chinese tourists again.  

In conjunction with the exhibition, Sri Lanka Tourism also held a special media briefing for Chinese and international media outlets on 17 June at the China World Hotel in Beijing. Over 60 media outlets and 40 representatives from airlines and travel agencies participated in the event, which included China’s CCTV, People’s Daily, Global Times, China Radio as well as Air China, China Eastern Airlines, Sri Lankan Airlines and China southern airlines. 

The Minister speaking at the event highlighted that China was one of the key markets to Sri Lanka and he was keen on lifting the visa fees to Chinese tourists. 

Sri Lanka tourism participated in the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2019 which is recognised as one of the most influential and famous international expositions sponsored by the Beijing Culture and Tourism Administration, organised by Beijing Relation Conference and Exhibition. Minister Amaratunga attended the occasion as a special guest. 

Every year, BITE serves as an important for exchange as well as a trade platform for promotion of global tourism resources and products. BITE 2019 was held for the 16th successive year which went on from 18-20 June. BITE, the largest international travel exhibition in China, is an important exchange and trade platform for promoting the global tourism resources and products and stimulating tourism consumption. 

It features comprehensive multi-field exhibition projects such as tourism investment and finance, tourism real estate, tourism commodities, special towns, tourism, intelligent tourism, sports tourism, medical tourism, outdoor tourism, RV camping tourism and much more.

China is Sri Lanka’s second largest source market which drew 265,965 tourists last year. China has over 150 million outbound tourists, increasing 14% year-on-year. At the presser, questions were posed by attendees on the current situation in the country. Minister John Amaratunga, Ambassador to Sri Lanka in China and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes updated the media on the current situation in Sri Lanka and that the country was safe to travel to.

In parallel with the participation at the fair and presser, Minister Amaratunga also undertook a special visit to the Yunnan College of Tourism in Kunming, China, on 17 June, along with Senior Advisor to the Minister Felix Rodrigo, Coordinating Secretary to the Minister R.A.P. Ariyaratne, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Assistant Director Chinthka Liyanaarachchi

Zhang Jinglong, Yunnan College of Tourism President He Ligui, Yunnan Provincial Culture and Tourism Department Head Sheng Wei; Director of International Cooperation Li Jiaxin, and Deputy Director of office Pan Guangyou participated at the event, in order to represent China.

The main objective of this visit was to strengthen the ties between Sri Lanka and China and during the Minister’s visit to Yunnan College, the benefits Sri Lanka tourism can receive from the Yunnan College of Tourism were discussed in detail with the officials of the Yunnan College. Further, this visit provided a massive chance to discuss how to develop Sri Lanka tourism.

As a result of this visit, the Yunnan College of Tourism also gave the opportunity for Chinese-speaking tour guides from Sri Lanka to participate in their Chinese Speaking Elite Tour Guides Training Programme, titled ‘Sino-ASEAN Tourism Personnel Education & Training Base,’ which will be conducted from 13 October to 2 November. 

Furthermore, Sri Lanka Tourism also received the award for the ‘Best Organisation’ at the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2019.