From left: Vanta Field Industrial Shanghai Co Ltd, Vice General Manager HaiFeng Yuan, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga, Green Leaves Group Chairman Harindra Rodrigo, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), Managing Director, Sutheash Balasubramaniam
Pic By: Kushan Pathiraja
- Tourism Minister expects minimum 200,000 additional Chinese tourists within next 12 months
- China to become top source market replacing India by year end
Green Leaves Leisure (Pvt) Ltd., a subsidiary of Green Leaves Group, yesterday guaranteed to bring 16,000 additional Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka monthly for the next 10 years commencing this May, with the aim of making China the largest source market for the Sri Lankan tourism industry by year end.
Addressing a press conference organised by the Tourism and Christian Affairs Ministry, Green Leaves Group Chairman Harindra Rodrigo announced that Green Leaves Leisure has signed an agreement with Chinese based Yingke Travels, a subsidiary of Vanta Field Industrial Shanghai Co. Ltd., to bring an additional 10,000 Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka for 10 years commencing May, 2018.
Speaking to Mirror Business, Rodrigo revealed that Green Leaves will also sign another 10-year agreement with another top Chinese tour agency bring 6000 more Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka every month.
Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga is confident that the partnership between Green Leaves Leisure (Pvt.) Ltd and Yingke Travels, will help to bring at least 200,000 additional Chinese tourists to Sri Lanka in the short-term.
Amaratunga also revealed that two Chinese mass weddings would be held in Colombo in September and November for 100 Chinese couples.
Green Leaves Group also plans to launch a luxury boat service from Waters Edge to Negombo connecting Kelaniya River and Haimltion Canal, targeting high-end tourists. The Group has also recently launched a 450-seater theatre at the Waters Edge offering high quality cultural shows for tourists.
According to Vanta Field Industrial Shanghai Co. Ltd. Vice General Manager, HaiFeng Yuan, Yingke Travels currently maintain 12,000 tour agencies across China and has 20 subsidiaries in overseas.
Yuan noted that Yingke Travels will carry out a large promotional campaign on China Central Television (CCTV) which is accessible to over billion viewers and other media outlets to promote Sri Lanka as a high-quality destination for Chinese tourists.
Amaratunga emphasised that as the rupee has depreciated against the U.S. dollar significantly this year, foreign exchange earnings has become even more important for a stable rupee.
Speaking of opportunities for the Sri Lankan tourism industry to attract Chinese tourists, the minister pointed out that as the Chinese government issued travel warnings to the Maldives, which attracts 1.5 million Chinese tourists, Sri Lanka has the potential to attract a large portion of the 1.5 million Chinese tourists who visit the Maldives every year.
According to Yuan, around 50,000 Chinese tourists have visited Sri Lanka through Yingke Travels during the last 5 years. He asserted that Yingke Travel could easily meet the guaranteed Chinese tourist arrivals targets through their 12,000 tour offices and the promotion drive on CCTV and other media.
Cabinet paper to award advertising campaign next week
Minister Amaratunga said he would present the Cabinet paper to award the US $ 650, 000 advertising campaign to CNN during the next week’s Cabinet Ministers’ meeting.
Amaratunga was scheduled to present the Cabinet paper yesterday but couldn’t do it as President Maithripala Sirisena reshuffled the Cabinet of Ministers for the fourth time, since his government came into power in 2015.
Meanwhile, according to Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Managing Director Sutheash Balasubramaniam, the long-awaited US $ 3.5 million digital marketing campaign is likely to kick off shortly.
Balasubramaniam said the six-month digital marketing campaign will kick off in European markets on June 1 and it will be launched in India and China after 10 days.
In addition, SLTPB also plans to host a meeting with all foreign diplomats in Sri Lanka to inform about the current security situations in the country, following recent incidents in Kandy and Mirissa.
Amaratunga said that Sri Lanka didn’t experience any cancellations of bookings due to the Mirissa incident. However, he admitted that the incident led to The Netherland and UK to issue mild travel warnings to their citizens visiting Sri Lanka.
The minister noted that in order to ensure the safety of tourists visiting to the country, SLTDA officials, Inspector General of Police and the Ministry of Law & Order have launched permanent police patrols in tourism zones.