Sri Lanka to provide air facilities to concur Asian tourist arrivals: Minister

Jun 01, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka increase tourist arrivals from the Asia – Pacific region through bi-lateral aviation agreements, a Minister said.

“There has been a significant improvement in the tourist arrivals in the past few years and a notable increase in the Asia-Pasific region,” Reginald Cooray, Minister of Aviation said.

“We anticipate that this present growth will continue and are currently in the process of setting up the necessary infrastructure to cater to this growth,”

“Being an Island the air transportation sector plays a vital part in our economy and therefore the government has placed a lot of emphasis on the development of the sector.”

Cooray says therefore Sri Lanka has re-negotiated many bi-lateral aviation agreements to provide liberal access for passengers as well as cargo.

The Minister made these comments at the inauguration of the Asia-Pacific on-Board Travel (APOT), Asia Forum, Monday.

Sri Lanka’s policymakers are banking on tourism to be one of the lead sectors to push economic growth after the end of a 30-year war and several airlines have increased frequencies to Colombo.

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 16.7 percent to 165,541 in February 2015 from a year earlier with a surge in tourist arrivals from China, data from the state tourism promotion office shows.

Arrivals from China rose 165.8 percent to 27,425 from 10,319 a year earlier data shows.

The Chinese arrivals to the island have risen rapidly over the last two years with 2014 ending at an all-time high.

In 2013, 54,288 Chinese tourists visited Sri Lanka but the numbers doubled to 128,166 by the end of 2014, growing at an impressive 136.1 percent, according to the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA).
Tourist arrivals from East Asia increased 67.2 percent as 41,907 visited the country compared to the 25,065 visited in February 2014. Arrivals from China compared to last year increased 165.8 percent with the arrival of 27,425 visitors.

Meanwhile, Official data shows that aircraft movements rose to 34,092 in 2010 after dipping to 28,624 in 2009 at the height of the war. From 2006 to 2008 aircraft movements had been around 33,000 a year.

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals rose 19.8 perecnt over 2013 to 1,527,153 in 2014.

Arrivals rose 18 percent from a year earlier to 157,051 in March 2015.