(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The resplendent island of sri lanka has seen a hike in tourism activity reveals statistics by the sri lanka tourism development authority.
the authority recorded 1274593 tourist arrivals in the year 2013 up by 26.7 per cent compared with 2012.
this is partly thanks to its national carrier srilankan airlines that has been proactive in flying over 60 per cent of holidaymakers to the country.
in addition to its participation at the arabian travel market 2014 srilankan airlines looks forward to soar higher — to go beyond industry demands and consumer expectations and showcase sri lanka as an ideal destination for tourists from all over the world.
“i’ve been to many atm editions. this is a very important destination as our country has a very good relationship with this country [the uae]. we have daily flights to this region and are looking at growing from strength to strength so we have to be here. besides business we are looking forward to maintain strong personal relationship with our clients and people we meet. i love this part of the world. our country is also fond of the middle east so i think we have a lot of potential to tap into this region” said srilankan airlines chairman nishantha wickremasinghe.
the carrier recently joined the oneworld alliance and is the first carrier from the indian subcontinent to join the global partnership. the joint venture widens up a scope of destinations to its srilankan airlines’ passengers and furthermore brings two new destinations to the oneworld network — hambantota as well as india’s tiruchirappalli.
“joining the oneworld alliance is a boom for sri lanka. we are a small airline; we have 23 aircrafts. now with this we can extend our reach to other parts of the world. we have very good connectivity and a sri lankan air voucher ca take you anywhere from new york to sydney. srilankan is now able to offer seamless connections to all its customers across a global network and serve almost 1000 destinations in more than 150 countries with first-rate connections between the world’s leading business centres. we were once like a ‘frog in a well’ but now we’ve gotten up to leap over to other destinations” wickremasinghe said.
sri lanka is moving high on the list of popular getaways featuring everything from hill stations and beautiful tea plantations to vast coasts and virgin beaches. visitors also have the opportunity to experience whale watching and take a ride across wildlife sanctuaries.
“there is a boom in tourism in sri lanka and we want to capture these leisure travellers and introduce them to different parts of the country. this is especially possible with the new mattala rajapaksa international airport.
“sri lanka is one of the safest countries in the world for travellers and we are proud to say that srilankan airlines accommodates 60 per cent of the country’s tourists to colombo” he added.
wickremasinghe shared that a re-fleet is underway for sri lankan airlines as well as increased number of flights to various destinations notably to europe.
“all airlines across the world are growing rapidly and we have to be a part of it. we are today in the mega picture with oneworld and our products are second to none. our cabin service and passenger handling is first-class our food is good and our crewmembers are very friendly. you start your vacation the moment you step into a srilankan aircraft and continue it till you return home.”
this year sri lanka aims to attract 100000 tourists solely from the gulf region with its lush scenic landscape and exciting activities.