Sri Lanka Tourism is seeking strategic level support from China to promote the country’s flagging tourism industry in the Covid-19 new normal situation, Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) disclosed.

Sri Lanka Tourism is working with the Sri Lankan Missions Overseas, through collaborations, with the intention of coordinated and targeted tourism promotions.

This request was made by Fernando when Dr. Palitha Kohona, the newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador to China visited the Sri Lanka Tourism Bureau  recently.

The ambassador assured strategic level support in promoting tourism in China while focusing on driving high-net-worth travellers to generate greater value to the local economy.

The ambassador was greeted by Ms. Kimarli Fernando, Chairperson, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) along with the senior officials which was then followed by a detailed discussion on the way forward strategy for tourism promotion in China.

Sri Lanka has strong route connectivity with China where over 32 frequencies were operated per week (pre-covid) by the national carrier, SriLankan Airlines, along with other Chinese Airlines such as China Eastern, China Southern, Air China and as a result, China has become the second largest tourism generating market for Sri Lanka.

The importance of this market is not only due to volume but also the potential value it can generate.

As per the Data Center of the China Tourism Academy, in 2019, about 169 million Chinese have travelled overseas with an average spend of $ 135 billion and that there is a considerable high end market segment seeking unique experiences and luxury that can generate higher tourism income to the local industry.

However, Sri Lanka has not been able to strategically capitalize on this important market due to the price-driven competitive focus.

Therefore, a re-positioning and a restructuring need to be considered to better capitalize on this strategically important market while emphasizing on a lucrative segment of high-net-worth travellers in the Chinese market.

The discussion with the ambassador paved the way for a strategic consensus on the tourism outlook for the China market where coordinated efforts will be made aligned with the planned global communication campaign.