SriLankan Airlines is closely supporting the government’s drive to promote Sri Lanka as a destination of choice in China, which is viewed as one of the fastest-growing, global, tourism markets.
The national carrier actively participated in several travel fairs in China this year, including the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE), the International Travel Expo & MICE in Hong Kong, and the Guangzhou International Travel Fair (GITF). SriLankan also co-organized a workshop for travel agents in the Chinese capital.
Tourist arrivals from China to Sri Lanka grew by 7.3% in the first half of 2008, a trend that is expected to grow due to the combined efforts of the government, the national carrier, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) and the country’s hoteliers and tour operators.
SriLankan is also actively working with SLTPB and the Embassy to increase awareness of Sri Lanka by sponsoring a number of media tours from China. SriLankan serves China with thrice-weekly flights to Beijing and another three to Hong Kong.
The Sri Lanka booth received a special award as the “Most Outstanding Booth” from the 81 countries at BITE. The colorful stand drew much interest, especially with a dance troupe providing dazzling performances of Sri Lankan dances in front of it.
BITE 2008 in June was a major international event that coincided with the upcoming Beijing Olympics. It attracted 700 domestic and foreign exhibitors and 300 trade buyers from 81 countries, with more 10,000 trade visitors attending the event.
Sri Lanka’s Embassy in Beijing, in collaboration with the SLTPB and SriLankan Airlines, held a workshop on June 19 at the embassy premises for leading Sri Lankan travel agents operating in the Chinese market and Chinese travel agents who are actively involved in promoting Sri Lanka. Over sixty Chinese and Sri Lankan travel agents and media personnel attended.
At the International Travel Expo in Hong Kong, also in June, SriLankan teamed up with several of the island’s hotels and tour operators to promote leisure and Ayurveda packages. The 22nd International Travel Expo drew 650 exhibitors from 50 countries, nearly 13,000 trade and corporate visitors and 57,500 public visitors.
In April, SriLankan took part in GITF, to promote Sri Lanka in the Guangzhou region in the south, one of the fast-growing regions in China. More then 100,000 visitors attended the three-day fair. SriLankan prepared special flyers customized for the fair, printed in Chinese.