Sri Lanka tourist market draws Gulf Air

Standing left to right – Mr. Dinesh Jebamani (Chief Manager Liability Product Management and New Age Media – Seylan Bank), Mr.Sudesh Peiris (Senior Manager – Digital Banking Channels – Seylan Bank), Ms. S.Senevirathne (Representative of the Revenue Department – Western Province), Mr. Tilan Wijeyesekera (Deputy General Manager – Retail Banking – Seylan Bank) and Mr. Malik Wickremanayaka (Deputy General Manager – Operations – Seylan Bank)

Oct 07, 2010 (LBO) – Gulf Air, which has resumed flights to Sri Lanka after a war, is aiming for daily frequencies by next summer given the increasing number of Arab tourists visiting the island, officials said. Chief executive Samer Majali said the island’s economic recovery after its 30-year ethnic war is also drawing increasing investments while Sri Lankans migrating to the Middle East for work is another market.

“It’s the right time to come back,” he told a news conference. “Given peace and stability in Sri Lanka in the last two years we believe Sri Lanka has regained its status as a tourist and business destination.”

Bahrain’s national carrier resumed flights to Sri Lanka Wednesday with five frequencies weekly five years after pulling out owing to a drop in traffic caused by the ethnic war, which ended in May 2009.

“We hope by next summer we can go up to a daily flight,” Majali said.

The airline, which is expanding despite losses, is targeting tourists and business travellers as well as migrant workers. The main tourist target market is Bahrain and eastern Saudi Arabia.

“Sri Lanka is a very popular destination for tourists from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Middle Eastern regio