Indo-Lanka joint effort to attract Chinese tourists

(June 11, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, Sri Lanka and India plan to launch a joint programme to promote Chinese tourists to the Indian sub continent.

According to a communiqué by the Ministry of Tourism, minister Milinda Moragoda and Nirupama Rao, Indian Ambassador in Beijing had a discussion on the proposal and the Indian embassy will support to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and Sri Lankan Tourism will provide a special campaign based on ‘Aubowan Sri Lanka’ for developing the destination awareness.

Ministry of Tourism and the institutions under the ministry are planning to organize a coordinated event with the Indian Embassy by the last week of July 2009 to develop the Chinese relationship.

After the dawn of peace, especially in the North and the East of the country, the actual tourist areas are perfectly safe for tourists and the positive approach of the travel trade is made obvious by the continued participation at crucial promtional events, a spokesman of the Ministry of Tourism said.

“Sri Lanka Tourism introduces the island destination keeping to their familiar and veritable theme ‘Small Miracle’. We have various exciting new ventures, attractions and opening of exclusive resorts and hideaways happening in Sri Lanka’s tourism scene during the coming period. Sri Lanka tourism and all the partners are intent on coming back very strongly and positively presenting the varied attractions, the well known Sri Lankan hospitality and the Sri Lankan smile to the Chinese travel industry,” the spokesman said.

Minister Moragoda had briefed the Indian Ambassador in Beijing on measures taken by Sri Lanka to develop the tourism sector, including private-public sector partnerships and China is one of the largest target markets for Sri Lanka’s tourist industry, now providing around ten thousand visitors. According to Chinese tourism data there are more than 4.5 million tourists visiting other countries annually. With this joint campaign Sri Lanka expects arrivals to increase soon that will benefit the Indian sub continent.

The promotional efforts by Sri Lanka have also included the Sri Lankan Cultural and Folk Music events reaching to several leading Chinese cities and India also is scheduled to organize South Indian Cultural shows. Both countries will jointly campaign on tour information and excellent packages for Chinese tourists with a view to encouraging them to hold their travel and other gatherings in Sri Lanka. Moreover, the Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry has encouraged contacts between state level tourism administrations in India and those at the provincial level in Sri Lanka.

The two countries have jointly addressed the subject of further strengthening collaboration in the field of tourism between the countries. It had been felt that the approach of partnership between the state sector and private enterprise could be reflected in the composition of the two delegations for the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group. An area of special focus would be the circuit of Buddhist sites that is a key strand of the many links between the nations, the communiqué added.

-Sri Lanka Guardian