Sri Lanka: SriLankan Airlines celebrated the first anniversary of the launch of direct services to Melbourne this month, and with the start of the direct service to Melbourne, Australian visitor arrivals to Sri Lanka have grown by extraordinary numbers.
Year on year growth in the 9 months up to September 30, 2018 was an astounding 45.16%, according to figures from the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.
This was far higher than the 2.8% growth rate that the tourism industry has experienced from all countries combined during this period.
Australia is now firmly established as the 6th largest tourism generating market to Sri Lanka with a 4.55% market share of foreign visitors, and is also the fastest growing major market. Although it lags behind India, China, UK, Germany and France in terms of volume, its growth rate far surpasses those of the top five countries.
Travelers journeying between the Australian continent and the Indian Ocean island nation now enjoy the convenience of daily direct flights between Colombo and Melbourne.
Earlier, travelers had to spend many hours flying on other airlines via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or even as far afield as Bangkok and Hong Kong. On board SriLankan’s modern Airbus A330 aircraft, passengers enjoy SriLankan’s award winning world class service, sophisticated inflight entertainment, delectable cuisine and other comforts such as flatbeds in Business Class.
The Airline has upgraded the Melbourne service with the introduction of state of the art A330-300 aircraft in the second year of operations, providing even greater comforts than the A330-200 aircraft that were operating on the route during the last year.
A total of 78,756 Australian visitors travelled to Sri Lanka in the 9 months ending September 2018, to which can be added a further 9,811 from New Zealand, many of whom travelled via Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria. New Zealand arrivals grew by 13.5% in the first 9 months of 2018.
The commencement of SriLankan’s service to Melbourne also resulted in award-winning marketing campaigns in Australia to promote the new service.