SriLankan Airlines plan to expand operations to Goa, Ahmedabad
Sri Lanka and India, the two culturally strong nations go way back and over the years, have developed a deep bond of friendship. SriLankan Airlines has been greatly instrumental in facilitating this bond.
Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, Udeni Perera, manager of Western India, SriLankan Airlines discusses about this bond and how the airlines is pushing further for increase of Indian tourists arrivals to Sri Lanka in the future.
Udeni Perera says, “The Sri Lankan carrier has adopted a new concept called the neo-concept. Through this concept, we hope to be more eco-friendly and create a sustainable environment to travel in. Apart from this, we also firmly believe in the spirit of hospitality and following this philosopy, our aircrafts are designed to make the traveller’s experience fulfilling.”
Sri Lanka offers its travellers long stretches of virgin beaches, plenty of greenery to meditate and wildlife that can be seen only here. But what mainly attracts Indian travellers is the deeply rooted religious and cultural traditions the country offers.
“The Indian market has always been a top priority for us and both these nations are very similar in their values and tradition. Sri Lanka is very symbolic when it comes to the Ramayana which attracts many Indian travellers. To further increase this number, a port-city will be built spread over 500 acres of land which will have entertainment and nightlife for the visitors,” Perera mentioned.
To boost Indian tourist arrivals, Sri Lanka offers visa on arrival services and has increased flights from metro cities in India to cities in Sri Lanka. Following the visit of the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi last year to Sri Lanka where he took part in the International Vesak Day celebrations and addressed Indian-origin Tamils, ties between both countries have been strengthened.
Perera commented on how the SriLankan flight connectivity is supporting this. “Currently, the airlines operates 145 flights per week to India across 14 destinations. We’re also leasing aircrafts like A320, A321 and A330 some of which will be the neo ones. Apart from just a religious destination, Sri Lanka is been widely promoted as a wedding destination and that is made possible with hotels like Anantara and Shangrila. Also with the country being promoted as a MICE destination, Sri Lankan airlines has seen quite a few MICE visitors like Mahindra, Bajaj, SBI, ICCI and Ceat tyres to the country. We plan to expand operations in Goa and Ahmedabad. By 2025, we hope to double our existing numbers and expand to several other cities.”
Apart from India, SriLankan irlines partnership with Oneworld Alliance has helped them connect to over 1000 destinations in 150 countries.