SriLankan to lauch direct China flights next summer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka - State-run SriLankan Airlines is on track to fly direct to China next year as traffic to Colombo picks up, a top official said.

SriLankan to lauch direct China flights next summer

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – State-run SriLankan Airlines is on track to fly direct to China next year as traffic to Colombo picks up, a top official said.

SriLankan is now flying to China via Bangkok, with tourists to Maldives being a key contributor to filling seats. But direct traffic to Sri Lanka has been picking up.

“We expect be able fly direct to China from the next summer schedule,” SriLankan’s head of commercial G T Jayaseelan said.

Chinese tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka has risen 72.3 percent to 16,582 in the six months to June from a year earlier, overtaking Japan as the biggest East Asian generating market over the past few months.

But up to now smaller niche China based outbound travel agents were serving Sri Lanka, Jayaseelan said.

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A number of the largest travel agents who take Chinese tourists to had recently been to Sri Lanka on a reconnaissance visit and one agent had requested 40 seats from every flight, Jayaseelan said.

China and East Asia is a key growth market for SriLankan airlines as it focuses more on regional traffic.

The airlines now operates to Beijing, Shanghai, Gaungzhou and Hong Kong.

China has become a top outbound tourist generating marketing for Asian nations. Sri Lanka has also stepped up promotions in China amid stronger state level interactions with the country.

Maldives drew 142,000 Chinese visitors in the six months to June 2013, up 56.4 percent from a year earlier.
China is the country’s top generating market now, bringing 25 percent of the total arrivals up to June.

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