Published on : Friday, December 14, 2018
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi, Assistant Director-Marketing, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau in an exclusive interview with Travel And Tour World tells how the destination is catering to the Chinese visitors, its digital campaigns and upcoming infrastructure during the 6th Chengdu International Tourism Expo , CITE 2018.
Travel And Tour World : How has the expo been so far?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi :It is going well, today is the second day and we have the B2B meetings mainly focusing on the agents there are business sessions which are currently going on and tomorrow is the public day to enhance the destination among public.
What are the digital campaigns carried to increase the influx of tourists?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi: Recently Tourism Promotion Bureau of Sri Lanka has launched a six-month digital campaign to cover the entire array of digital platform in China, to enhance public awareness among Chinese nations. We also have a couple of programmes to reach the B2C and B2B sector.
Travel And Tour World : Can you elaborate the programmes?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi :The entire agents through a network for the database through our PR campaign will be targeting at competition sessions through which the agents will get to know about the products which Sri Lank a has to offer not only for the Chinese but for the entire world.
Travel And Tour World : What is being done to improve the Chinese travel experience in Sri Lanka?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi Chinese traditionally look forward for their cuisines and would like to speak their own language wherever they go. The industry has increased Chinese restaurants in Sri Lanka, also the Chinese national is taking them around along with the national tour guide in Sri Lanka.
Travel And Tour World : Which destinations they prefer?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi :Mainly the heritage sight-seeing, beach and Buddhism sites are the areas they look for.
Travel And Tour World : Any plans of economic cooperation between China and Sri Lanka?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi :Sri Lanka is the main loop in the maritime silk route and the new initiative of Xi Ping the Belt and Road initiative. Sri Lanka is the most important place even for the Chinese people because of the geographical location of Sri Lanka in the world map. So there are so many economic cultural and education programme in the pipeline to enhance the development of Sri Lanka with the assistance of the Chinese government.
Travel And Tour World : Which are the main tourists generating market in Sri Lanka?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi : Number one market is India of course because of the proximity and also we are neighbouring countries and the second largest market is China. In terms yield China is the second largest market and the third is UK, our traditional market.
Travel And Tour World : Sri Lanka will be completing its 50th year of planned tourism this year. What will be further done for the promotion and development of attractive tourists services?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi :If you consider Sri Lanka after the Civil War which was there, now the entire country from all the four corners is safe and free to travel. Along with that the tourism industry is the main industry that came forward and developed over the last couple of years rapidly. All international tourism and hotel bands are now in Sri Lanka and there are many in the pipeline that will complete its operations in the days to come.
Considering the road network in Sri Lanka, there are two main highways and three highways slated for construction. We intend to make healthy environment for any traveller.
Travel And Tour World : How is the MICE market in Sri Lanka?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi :At the moment it is not tat developed because we don’t have much of convention facilities but in terms of scale about 500 -700 pax we can easily handle and we are getting that kind of MICE tourism.
Travel And Tour World : What are the visions for the coming year?
Chinthaka Liyanaarachchi :Our target is to achieve 2.5 million tourist from across the world and for China we want three hundred to three hundred twenty five thousand contribution.