Over 160,000 tourist arrivals in three months
Tourist arrivals for the first three months of this year recorded a
26 percent growth. "We have already achieved over 160,000 tourist
arrivals from January to March this year.This is a positive growth and
if this trend continues we could achieve the 600,000 target of tourist
arrivals by the end of this year," Director Marketing, Sri Lanka Tourist
Board (SLTB), Malraj B. Kiriella said.
The Sri Lanka Tourist Board recorded 500,000 tourist arrivals in
2003 and in 2004 it was over 566,000, a clear indication that the
tourism industry in Sri Lanka is developing.
The SLTB recorded 500,000 tourist arrivals in 2003 and in 2004 it was
over 566,000. This is a clear indication that the tourism industry in
Sri Lanka is developing.
Therefore the 600,000 mark is not a difficult task as we have laid
out our strategies clearly.
Kiriella said the SLTB has launched promotional and advertising
campaigns locally and internationally to develop the tourism sector in
Sri Lanka. The SLTB is focusing on generating and tapping potential
markets in the region.
"We have to go beyond traditional markets such as UK, France and
Germany and develop new markets in Eastern Europe, Russia, Australia and
USA. Countries in ASEAN, China, India, South Korea and the Middle East
have shown great interest in Sri Lanka as an attractive tourist
destination," Kiriella said.
Our target is to develop the country to be one of the finest tourist
destinations in the region. To achieve it we cannot be dormant. We have
to move beyond the concept of 'beach tourism' and focus on our natural
and cultural heritage.
Kiriella said Sri Lanka is blessed with diverse attractions of
nature, culture and adventure. The SLTB has conducted trade fairs,
roadshows, exhibitions, presentations, workshops and advertising
campaigns to promote tourism in Sri Lanka.
Eco-tourism is a niche product in Sri Lanka. We have the assets for
excellent eco-tourism in the country. Assets such as fauna and flora are
in abundance. The Sinharaja Forest, an example for bio-diversity has
been declared by UNESCO as a natural heritage, Kiriella said.
He said we have excellent hotels and eco lodges to meet the
increasing need for eco tourism in the country. Eco tourism is an
upmarket product. A good number of tourists is attracted to this aspect
The Sri Lanka Travel Mart-Gateway to South Asia to be held from June
16 to 18 will help develop the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. The aim of
the exhibition is to attract new buyers to visit Sri Lanka and establish
connections with new operators.
Over 200 buyers and 150 exhibitors are expected to participate in the
exhibition at the BMICH.
The lack of infrastructure facilities such as good roads and
transportation are constraints to the development of tourism in Sri
Policy-makers should implement an effective transportation system
where the road and railway network is linked. This will reduce the time
wasted in reaching one's destination, Kiriella said.
Air Arabia to fly to Istanbul
Air Arabia LLC, the first and only low-fares airline in the Middle
East and North Africa will launch flights to Istanbul from May 28 with
two flights a week every Thursday and Sunday.
Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, recently chosen as one of three
European capitals of culture is considered a gateway between Europe and
Air Arabia will fly twice weekly to Sabiha Gokcen International
Airport in Istanbul from May 28 every Thursday and Sunday departing
Sharjah at 22:15 to arrive in Istanbul at 01:40 and then depart Istanbul
every Friday and Monday at 02:20 to arrive in Sharjah at 07:30.
Air Arabia's Chairman Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohammed Al Thani said,
"This is a momentous occasion for us as we announce flights to a new
continent. As pioneers in aviation in the Middle East we are delighted
to now take our customers to new horizons and will continue to expand
our network to more destinations."
Air Arabia's Country Manager for Sri Lanka Mayank Dhingra, said "The
addition of this new destination provides more opportunities for our
customers looking for exotic holidays.
Passengers can even book their holidays online with Air Arabia at
www.airarabia.com where we provide a great selection of hotels and tours
PATA Grand Award for Mount Lavinia Hotel
The PATA Grand Award for Education and Training was presented to the
Mount Lavinia Hotel this year for its Youth Trainee Program. This is a
timely recognition of Mount Lavinia Hotel's many works and projects
aimed at changing the perceptions of a large segment of Sri Lankan
society which once viewed tourism and tourism related employment in a
negative light, and this recognition becomes unique as the Hotel
celebrates 200 years of its original building this year.
Over the past decades Mount Lavinia Hotel has taken upon itself to
train young men and women of the low to middle income families in the
rural areas of the country.
As the leading travel award program for the travel industry in the
Asia Pacific region the PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) Grand
Award represents the highest accolade for organisations which strive to
promote the travel sector. This is a beneficial program for the tourism
industry human resource development, particularly in a developing
country where skills are lacking, the Chairman told the inauguration
For the Mount Lavinia Hotel, the PATA Grand Award is yet another
feather in its 200-year-old cap.
Emirates wins top honours
Following last year's success at the Business Traveller Middle East
Awards, Emirates, the Dubai-based airline has scooped yet another
cluster of prestigious accolades at this year's event, taking its total
tally of international awards to over 300.
In a four-month survey conducted in the Middle East, business
travellers again voted in favour of Emirates, bringing it back to
winning position and enabling it to clinch top honours such as 'Best
Airline Overall serving the Middle East', 'Airline with the Best
Business Class', 'Best Regional Airline for the Middle East', 'Airline
with the Best Cabin Staff', and 'Airline with the Best Frequent Flyer
The Business Traveller Middle East Awards are the benchmark for
excellence in the region's travel and hospitality industry. Held
annually, the awards are determined by survey results with no outside
sponsorship or influence, making it the most respected passenger survey
of its kind in the region.