Sri Lanka will extend its innovative ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ air ticket offer by the national carrier to the large Indian tourist market from next week.
The move comes after the Government last week decided to facilitate tourists from India following a three month-ban, subject to strict health guidelines and prior approvals.
“We hope to start passenger flights to Chennai, Mumbai and Bangalore from next week under the ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ promotion,” SriLankan Airlines Worldwide Sales and Distribution Head Dimuthu Tennakoon told the Daily FT.
Four weekly flights to Chennai, three to Mumbai and one to Bangalore will be operated under the initiative.
According to the latest Health Ministry quarantine guidelines effective from 19 August, fully vaccinated Indian tourists and foreign nationals arriving from India, doesn’t require prior approval from the Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Non-vaccinated or partially vaccinated are not considered.
In the first seven months of 2021, there were 1,127 Indian tourists visiting Sri Lanka. Though that figure is down 99% from the corresponding period of last year, India still remains the sixth source market for inbound tourists to Sri Lanka, accounting for 8% of total arrivals.
India is the second destination added to the flagship campaign following its launch in Russia on 31 July.
SriLankan Airlines became the first airline to open direct air passage between the two countries after the pandemic, while returning to Russia after six years.
Currently, SriLankan Airlines flies to Moscow every Friday from Sri Lanka, with plans to increase its frequency during the forthcoming winter season.
The initiative is likely to be the biggest joint industry promotional effort post-COVID to woo more tourists for the leisure holiday market.
The promotion is jointly coordinated by Sri Lanka Tourism and SriLankan Airlines in partnership with the travel and hotel industries.
Previously, the campaign was to start immediately in Germany and the Middle East. However, the current travel restrictions and conditions imposed to and from Sri Lanka by over 20 countries remain a challenge for the initiative.
However, the tourism industry is confident that with rapid vaccination, travel advisories will improve. The Government is also resolving issues through bilateral diplomatic channels. (CdeS)
Original Article : https://www.ft.lk/front-page/SL-s-buy-one-get-one-free-tourism-offer-to-include-India-as-well/44-722088