Editor, NEWS-in-Asia, 13 August 2018, whose title is “Sri Lanka to ink agreement with China’s Alibaba to attract more tourists“
Colombo, Aug 14 (newsin.asia) – The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) will ink an agreement with Alibaba’s travel arm, Fliggy, to bring down 1,000 travelers weekly to Sri Lanka in order to expand the island’s growing tourism sector, Daily FT quoted Tourism Minister John Amaratunga on Tuesday.
The Minister said after obtaining the necessary approval, his Ministry will sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Alibaba next week. Supreme Global Holdings Limited, the local company that has tied up with Alibaba, will work closely with SLTPB on the project implementation, which is expected to result in a positive large-scale impact on Sri Lanka’s tourism.
As part of Alibaba Group, Fliggy has access to more than 500 million mobile monthly active users on Alibaba’s China retail marketplaces. Further, Supreme Global also intends to promote ‘Alipay’ actively in Sri Lanka upon receiving the necessary clearances thus taking Sri Lanka Tourism to new heights, especially among Chinese tourists, Amaratunga said.
The Minister expressed confidence that Sri Lanka would comfortably achieve the 2.5 million target set for this year, while noting that the country could achieve 3.5 million arrivals in 2019 provided global tourism outlook remains favourable.
However, the Minister said that he was not satisfied with the 2.5 million tourist arrivals. “Compared to the rest of the Asian countries, I am not satisfied at all with the numbers that are coming to Sri Lanka, particularly when considering what we have and what we can offer,” he added.
According to him, poor capacity management at the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and limited road and air connectivity were major drawbacks when prompting tourists to explore new destinations within the country.
The Minister said Sri Lanka needs more air strips, local flight operators and good road connectivity to bolster tourism. Over 1.3 million tourists have arrived in Sri Lanka in the first seven months of this year, recording a 13.7 percent growth when compared same period last year.