Sri Lankan Air taps Middle East market

SriLankan Airlines has enhanced its presence in Abu Dhabi, catering to the increasing demand for leisure travel out of the bustling Middle East state. 
The enhancements include a revamped new office in Abu Dhabi that was opened today (Wednesday July 5th), additional staff and a wider range of services including e-ticketing.

“As we focus more on the leisure segment, we wanted to extend the warm friendliness SriLankan Airlines is so well know for, to our country offices, giving our passengers an early start to a wonderful experience,” SriLankan Airlines Chief Executive Peter Hill said.

The Airline revamped its business strategy earlier this year to capture the leisure travel segment of the Middle East, broadening its passenger profile and expanding its customer base.

The strategy will also see the Airlines’ leisure arm, SriLankan Holidays, stepping up its presence in the Middle East, offering a range of holiday options in Sri Lanka and in the region.

“We saw Middle East travellers responding positively to an initial holiday promotion we carried out in the region in 2005,” SriLankan Holiday’s General Manager Amith Sumanapala said.


“We are now putting a structured programme in place for the Middle East to translate the positive responses to long term working strategies and capture the growth in Middle East tourism.”

The World Tourism and Travel Council (WTTC) has forecasted revenues for the Middle East travel and tourism industry to tip US$ 66 billion in 2006.

Growing at an average 4 percent, the WTTC expect revenues to double at US$ 112.5 billion by 2016.

To harness the forecasted growth in Middle East leisure travel, the Airline now operates daily flights into the Abu Dhabi and over 40 services to the Middle East Region.

Flights from the Middle East to Colombo connect immediately with onward services to nine key destinations in India and seven destinations in the Far East.

SriLankan Airline is 43.6 percent owned and fully managed by Emirates Airlines.
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