Aitken Spence Travels, the leading DMC in Sri Lanka working in partnership with TUI Kazakhstan, will welcome the country’s first charter from Kazakhstan on Saturday, 6 February after the airports reopened for tourist arrivals.
There will be two charters operating from Kazakhstan and it will be a first since the Sri Lankan borders re-opened for tourists. Air Astana flight will be a weekly flight operating every Saturday and is expected to continue till April.
In addition, SCAT Airlines will also operate weekly flights every Thursday and will continue till April. The combined passenger strength is approximately 350 passengers a week and the flights will land at the Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport, Mattala. All arrangements have been made ensuring that the operations are carried out conforming to the health and safety guidelines of the Ministry of Health and the Tourism Authority.
Aitken Spence Travels as the local DMC engaged in this operation, began talks with TUI Kazakhstan when the Government was making plans to re-open the airports using the ‘bio bubble’ concept. The ‘bio bubble’ will give visitors a relative amount of freedom to travel within the country while observing safety protocols.
The charters from Kazakhstan are a result of gaining the confidence from our tour operators to promote Sri Lanka as a safe and secure travel destination to be explored and enjoyed by their holiday makers.
Commenting on this charter flight operation from Kazakhstan, Aitken Spence Travels Managing Director Nalin Jayasundera stated, “This is an investment from Aitken Spence Travels to revive the tourism industry as a whole. The Tourism Authority has stipulated high standards of health guidelines and protocols. However, we are confident that even with these challenging conditions the operations would be a success. We look forward to a larger scale operation in the future from Russia and CIS region based on the success of this operation. We must acknowledge and thank the Government of Sri Lanka and the Minister of Tourism for opening up the borders of the country to restart tourism in Sri Lanka after a lapse of 10 months.”
Aitken Spence Travels has identified Kazakhstan as a medium market that has immense potential to expand tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka. Majority of Kazakhstan travellers prefer four-star and five-star hotel accommodation options whilst patronising other categories. They are seen travelling together as families with children. The average stay is seven nights while 20% of the bookings are for the two weeks’ duration.
The commencements of charter flights from Kazakhstan to Sri Lanka will help restart the organised tourism industry immediately. It is expected to create an economic boost for the tourism industry and its stakeholders by reviving the much-needed tourism-related jobs of the industry.