SriLankan Airlines, together with the High Commission of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom, recently hosted 30 of the UK’s premier tour operators to discuss positive developments in the tourism landscape of Sri Lanka. Travellers from the UK have long preferred Sri Lanka as a holiday destination, especially during winters, and the UK government has now relaxed its advisory against travel to Sri Lanka. Discussions between SriLankan Airlines and the tour operators delved into possible avenues to promote Sri Lanka considering these increasingly favourable conditions for British tourists hoping to travel to the island.
Saroja Sirisena, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, delivered a keynote speech at the event. This was followed by a detailed exchange on SriLankan Airlines’ promotional plans for the UK market in the coming months led by Chinthaka Weerasinghe, Regional Manager Europe and Americas of the airline.
The UK was among the top five tourist source markets into Sri Lanka prior to the pandemic. Moving from COVID-19, outbound tourism from the UK has been resilient and shown signs of rapid recovery with the resumption of commercial air travel in late 2021. Since then, large numbers of British travellers have embarked on foreign travel, including to Sri Lanka and the UK outbound market is slated to surpass pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
SriLankan Airlines remains the first choice of travel for many flying between London and Colombo as it is the only carrier to offer convenient, nonstop services between the two cities with easy connections to the Maldives. Consequently, the airline carries over 60 per cent of the tourists flying from the UK to Sri Lanka, annually.
SriLankan currently operates daily, nonstop flights from London to Colombo. Additionally, passengers flying onward to the Maldives can expect to enjoy immediate connections. Furthermore, SriLankan is a gateway to a multitude of international cities in the region including in India, the Far East and Australia. The airline will also launch two additional weekend flights this winter, in anticipation of a resurgence in demand for travel from the UK to Sri Lanka for leisure.
The airline has further planned several promotions for the UK travel trade leading up to winter, including educational tours for employees of travel agencies and sub-agencies and familiarization trips to Sri Lanka for British travel influencers. SriLankan will also work with trade partners to promote the island for special interest travel. Niche tourism segments can experience Sri Lanka’s famed Ayurveda treatments and trekking and cycling in picturesque settings off the beaten track, among a host of other activities that are uniquely Sri Lankan.
SriLankan Airlines, the National Carrier of Sri Lanka and a member of the oneworld alliance, is an award-winning airline with a firm reputation as a global leader in service, comfort, safety, reliability, and punctuality. Launched in 1979, the airline’s hub is located at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo providing convenient connections to its global network (including codeshare partners) spanning major cities across the Europe, Australia, Middle East, Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia and the Far East. The Airline operates an all-Airbus fleet including a state-of-the-art A330-300 and modern A320/321neo aircraft.