- To receive about 350 tourists per week till April
- Air Astana and SCAT Airlines to operate weekly flights
- Flights to land at Mahinda Rajapaksa International Airport, Mattala
Aitken Spence Travels, the leading DMC in Sri Lanka, working in partnership with TUI Kazakhstan, will welcome the country’s first charter from Kazakhstan today (February 6) 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 reopened for tourists.
The Air Astana flight will be a weekly flight operating every Saturday and is expected to continue till April 2021.
In addition, SCAT Airlines will also operate weekly flights every Thursday and will continue till April 2021. The combined passenger strength is approximately 350 passengers a week and the flights will land at 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 Health Ministry and 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 reopen 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 is a result of gaining the confidence from the tour operators to promote Sri Lanka as a safe and secure travel destination to be explored and enjoyed by their holidaymakers.
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 the CIS region, based on the success of this operation. We must acknowledge and thank the Government of Sri Lanka and Tourism Minister 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 percent of the bookings are for two-week duration.