Two leading airlines to boost Sri Lanka Tourism in post-Covid revival
Daily FT: Sri Lanka Tourism will roll out a fresh joint industry effort with two leading airlines from January to promote the destination and attract more tourists.
The initiative will reach out to airlines that are keen on supporting Sri Lanka in its post-pandemic tourism revival in a cost-effective manner. The first airline which has come forward to support is Emirates and the second is Singapore Airlines.
“We are signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Emirates on 4 January in Dubai. This will be done using earned media, which is very cost-effective and profitable for the brand,” Sri Lanka Tourism Chairperson Kimarli Fernando told the Daily FT.
The award-winning Dubai-based global airline in November increased the frequency of flights to Colombo to 14 a week, bringing the total to 21.
The Tourism Chief said the MoU with Singapore Airlines would also be inked in January, while dates were yet to be finalised.
“All these years we have been conducting most of our promotions through Business-to-Business (B2B), but we have now moved to more cost-effective methods such as digital media campaigns, where we engage closely with our consumers. B2B campaigns alone will not give the optimal results hence we need to reach out to the consumers to promote a destination,” Fernando added.
In terms of the importance of earned media, she explained that it was an extremely effective and amplifying tool.
“Earned media has gone far beyond the traditional media outlets. It is free, helps to raise awareness, is more credible, and generates a positive spiral. It also exists across a broad range of platforms, including print media, online and broadcast media, and even in personal interactions,” Fernando added.
Tourist arrivals post reopening of borders have now crossed the 150,000 mark. During the first 25 days of December, a record 63,501 tourists have arrived.
Pre-pandemic, a total of 37 international airlines operated to Sri Lanka and the Tourism Ministry is actively engaged in negotiations with all the airlines that operated into the country pre-COVID, to encourage them to resume operations, whilst also engaging in attracting new markets via charter flights during the winter season.
Apart from Emirates and Singapore Airlines, the other carriers operating to Sri Lanka include Qatar Airways, Fly Dubai, Air India, Gulf Air, Rossiya Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Saudia, Air Arabia, Oman Airlines, Air Asia, Air France, Etihad Airways, Jazeera Airways, IndiGo, Aeroflot, China Eastern Airlines, Edelweiss Air, Kuwait Airways, Azur Airlines, Air Astana, Lot Polish Airlines, Neos Airlines and Vistara Airlines.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is once again on the path to recovery after facing the impact of the global Covid 19 pandemic. The country has recorded a steady growth in tourist arrivals to the country since early this year when Sri Lanka reopened its borders. With Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities carrying out promotional campaigns in key foreign source markets while also exploring new tourism concepts have opened new business/investment opportunities in the country’s tourism industry. The overall expansion of Sri Lanka’s economy and increase in economic activities have further increased the business/investment opportunities in Sri Lanka’s leisure and hospitality sectors. There have been many international hospitality brands have expressed interest in investing in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry. Looking at the positive growth in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, foreign businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in the industry, especially in the leisure and hospitality sectors.
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