Ai­ra­sia poised to play key role in Sri Lanka’s travel and tourism mar­ket

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - TOURISM/AVIATION -

Tourist ar­rivals to Sri Lanka are ex­pected to cross the four mil­lion mark by 2020, dou­bling the record of two mil­lion ar­rivals achieved in 2017.

Vis­i­tor num­bers were led by ar­rivals from In­dia and China, ac­count­ing for ap­prox­i­mately 30 per­cent of the fig­ure.

To­day, air con­nec­tiv­ity and in­creased on-ground mar­ket­ing in the key tourism mar­kets will be key fac­tors in achiev­ing the 2020 tar­get.

In keep­ing with the growth pro­jec­tion and level of de­mand it is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, Kuala Lumpur-based Ai­ra­sia cur­rently op­er­ates a twice daily flight fre­quency on its Colombo-kuala Lumpur route. In 2017, Ai­ra­sia saw a to­tal of ap­prox­i­mately 169,962 pas­sen­gers car­ried via the route.

Spencer Lee, Head of Com­mer­cial for Ai­ra­sia Malaysia said, “We see a great po­ten­tial in the mar­ket which is why we also have ex­ten­sive Fly-thru op­tions to and from Sri Lanka to var­i­ous coun­tries in­clud­ing sev­eral Asean coun­tries, Aus­tralia, New Zealand, Ja­pan, South Korea, Mal­dives and the US.”

With the Fly-thru ser­vice, the of­fer­ing al­lows trav­ellers to con­nect to other flights with their bag­gage checked-through to the fi­nal des­ti­na­tion with­out the has­sle of im­mi­gra­tion clear­ance at the tran­sit hub in Kuala Lumpur. The op­tional ser­vice has flown about 77,800 pas­sen­gers of a di­verse na­tion­al­ity port­fo­lio in­clud­ing trav­ellers from Asean, China, Ja­pan, Europe, UK and the US.

Lee added that the air­line is al­ways look­ing into new points to fur­ther es­tab­lish its ex­ten­sive net­work across the re­gions, but at the mo­ment the fo­cus is on its ex­ist­ing route, Colombo. “We are al­ways open to ex­pand­ing our ser­vices when the op­por­tu­nity arises and will share the de­tails once ev­ery­thing is fi­nalised. At this mo­ment our strat­egy is to of­fer a com­bi­na­tion of three things we do bet­ter than any­body else – low fares, wide net­work, and an award-win­ning ser­vice, to en­sure that ev­ery­one can truly fly.”

Ai­ra­sia re­de­fined the low­cost car­rier model in 2001 and has since gone on to be the bench­mark for air travel. The air­line se­cured sev­eral wins in 2017 in­clud­ing World’s Best Low-cost Air­line for the ninth year in a row (Sky­trax); World’s Lead­ing Low-cost Air­line for the fifth year in a row (2017 World Travel Awards Grand Fi­nal); World’s Lead­ing Low-cost Air­line Cabin Crew (2017 World Travel Awards Grand Fi­nal) and more.

The air­line’s aim has al­ways been on democratis­ing air travel so that fly­ing is no longer a lux­ury that few could en­joy, which is em­bod­ied in its tagline – ‘Now ev­ery­one can fly’, while of­fer­ing the best ser­vice in the air.

“We want to make air travel more af­ford­able and con­ve­nient in Sri Lanka, and give our pas­sen­gers a seam­less ex­pe­ri­ence that con­nects them to an ex­ten­sive net­work of over 130 des­ti­na­tions in 26 coun­tries. Our mis­sion is to change the way how peo­ple travel and en­sure that air travel will be sus­tain­able for the long run, “he fur­ther stated.

Lee added that Ai­ra­sia is ex­plor­ing to set up a team to fur­ther de­velop the mar­ket for the year ahead and is al­ways look­ing into the po­ten­tial of part­ner­ing with lo­cal travel and tour op­er­a­tors to share the beauty of Sri Lanka to the world and of course, Sri Lankans to the many des­ti­na­tions that the air­line op­er­ates in.

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