LOT Polish Airlines extends season until May as Sri Lanka exceeds expectations as a travel destination
Daily FT: LOT Polish Airlines to extend the season until May as Sri Lanka has exceeded expectations as a winter travel destination.
The positive development was conveyed by LOT Polish Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) and Board Member Michal Fijol during a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in Poland Dhammika Kumari Semasinghe.
CCO Fiol described the airline’s Colombo experience as: “Sri Lanka was an excellent destination, exceeding all our expectations.”
He further said that while direct flights between Warsaw and Colombo had resumed thrice weekly since 7 December 2021, the demand for bookings soared in February.
With LOT flights getting overbooked, the airline had to increase the frequency to four flights a week in the past month.
At the policy level, Fiol attributed the Sri Lanka success story to the positive Polish Government travel advisory on Sri Lanka, and the Sri Lanka Government maintaining traveller-friendly and consistent entry protocols, including the island’s successful vaccination drive in the COVID-19 pandemic context.
Ambassador Semasinghe highlighted that Poland retained its place among Sri Lanka’s top 10 tourist source countries in January and February, with a combined total of 7,334 arrivals in the two months. Commenting on the Embassy’s destination promotional activities, the envoy said that sustained efforts since July 2021 led to much needed confidence building early on, among the key Polish tour operators about the island’s unique draw.
These, coupled with public diplomacy activities, increased awareness of the country, its unique culture and society among a significant portion of the Polish public. Therefore, it was heartening to note the dividends that were now accruing from those efforts to LOT Polish, to Sri Lanka tourism, to the visitors and Polish tour operators.
Welcoming the airline’s considered plans to extend its operations until end May, the Envoy said that the Sri Lanka Embassy will continue to promote the country as an year-round travel hotspot, not only because of the comfortable weather, but also because of the country’s traditional festivals and cultural events that were in store during most of the year.
The Sinhala and Tamil New Year “Avurudu” in April, would be followed by “Vesak”, the festival of lights and lanterns in May – all unique treats for the curious visitor at that time of the year.
Towards this end, the Embassy, in close partnership with Sri Lanka Tourism, enlisted TVN Discovery/National Geographic Traveller Poland, with a 38 million Polish viewership, to film a Sri Lanka destination promotional series for Spring/Summer 2022, and filming was already underway.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is on a growth path with a steady increase in tourist arrivals to the country. There has also been an increase in the number of flights operated to Sri Lanka by international airlines. All these are indicative of the positive growth witnessed by Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. The promotional campaign in key foreign source markets and the expansion of tourism concepts of the country have also helped boost Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Sri Lanka has been publicised as a must visit destination by several foreign media outlets while also being listed among the top 10 island destinations. Given the expanding opportunities in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities.
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