New York (AirGuideBusiness - Travel Business News Asia / Pacific) May 20, 2013
Saudi tourists found their ideal holiday destination Passenger traffic from the Middle East to Sri Lanka has been on the rise and overall traffic from the Middle East has contributed the second highest revenue to SriLankan AirlineOs network, next to the Far East, according to Kapila Chandrasena, CEO of SriLankan Airlines. The national carrier of Sri Lanka, records a 26 percent increase in the number of passengers from the Middle East this year compared to 2011-2012, he told Arab News in an interview. According to Chandrasena, the airline carried 463,999 passengers from nine destinations in the Middle East during 2012-2013, compared to 342,290 passengers during 2011-2012. OWe recognize the Middle East as one of the fastest growing markets,O Chandrasena added. The recent increase in traffic can be attributed to both the domestic and leisure segments, he said. Chandrasena said: OThe Middle East is home to thousands of Sri Lankans who are working across the region and with flying time at only over four hours from any major city in the GCC, Sri Lanka is an ideal short haul destination for all types of travelers from the region seeking long weekend rejuvenation, gourmet, cultural and outdoor luxury experiences.O He said: OWe have long-term ties with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. We have been operating to the Kingdom for a long time and our network covering Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam is solid.O SriLankan Airlines flies to 64-destinations across 34 countries. Within the Middle East, the airline operates 48 flights a week into five GCC countries across eight destinations, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Kuwait, Doha and Muscat, aside from Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. OSince a number of best airlines originate from the Gulf region, the competition is high. However, we are stable on our existing network as we maintain top quality,O he said. He said the number of tourists and travelers to Sri Lanka have been on the rise as it is a best place to visit at affordable cost. OMoreover, one can easily get a visa to Sri Lanka through online at a nominal fee,O Chandrasena said. With tourism traffic to Sri Lanka rapidly increasing, the countryOs government has placed tourism and infrastructure development as top priorities, aiming for 2.5 million tourists and for the current number of hotel rooms to triple by 2016, with revenues from tourism to reach $ 2.5 billion. OIf you go to Colombo these days, just check the hotels and resorts, you will see a number of Arab visitors there. Most of them are from the UAE and Kuwait. However, many travelers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are expatriates,O he said and wanted Saudi tourist numbers to increase. Chandrasena said Sri Lankan Tourism Board was very keen to attract more visitors and had been pursuing plans for further improving tourism facilities suiting visitors from different cultural backgrounds. OThings are going to become brighter. By next year, we will be joining in Ooneworld,O a major airline alliance. Then SriLankan will be flying alongside some of the biggest and premier brands in the airline business N airberlin, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, Japan Airlines, LAN, Malaysia Airlines, Qantas, Royal Jordanian and S7 airlines,O Chandresena added. OThis move will enable us to offer our customers more services and benefits such as a wider route network and opportunities to earn and redeem frequent flyer miles on any one of the oneworld carriers,O he said. SriLankan Airlines currently operates a fleet of 21 aircraft, including wide-bodied A340 and A330 aircraft as well as mid-range A320s. Recently, new A320-200s and A330-200s have been added to the fleet, replacing existing aircraft with fuel-efficient, modern aircraft. OWe operate to 64 destinations, including code-share connections in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Far East, North America, Australia and Africa,O Chandrasena added. May 19, 2013
Australian tourists spending big money on trips to the United States With the Aussie dollar worth more than the greenback in 2012 and everything from electronic goods to designer clothes in the US at bargain prices compared to stores in Australia, Aussie tourists have been on a buying frenzy. A record number of bargain-hunting Australians armed with credit cards and wallets stuffed with cash have been flying to the US and spending big. According to the US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, Australians spent a record-breaking $US5.5 billion in America in 2012, an increase of 11 per cent on 2011. Australia ranks number eight in international visitor spending in the US, with northern neighbour Canada number one with $US26.1 billion, then Japan ($US16.6 billion), UK ($US13 billion), Mexico ($US10.1 billion), Brazil ($US9.3 billion), China ($US9.2 billion) and Germany ($US7 billion). Australia edged out France, which came in ninth with $US5.3 billion and 10th place was India with $US4.9 billion. "Visitors from Australia have spent record levels on US travel and tourism goods and services in eight out of the last 10 years, helping to propel Australia up in the rankings to our eighth largest market abroad in 2012," the US Office of Travel and Tourism Industries report states. While Aussie tourists have been going on buying frenzies in the US, the big movers have been the Chinese, with figures showing Chinese visitor spending skyrocketing 19 per cent in 2012. In 2008 the Chinese were not in the top 10, but with the Chinese middle class growing there has been double-digit growth in visitor spending in the US the past three years. California has been a big benefactor, with the average Chinese visitor spending $US7,105 in California, the most of any overseas nation, with the average Aussie tourist spending $US4,782 in the state. Australians are big shoppers, but they also like to spend cash on restaurants, sightseeing trips, amusement parks and stay in nice hotels while in America. The research has found Chinese tourists tend to stay in cheap hotels and spend little on food, with a large percentage of their cash devoted to shopping. May 19, 2013
Kashmir tourism booming With hotels in Kashmir fully sold out, tourists now prefer to visit the tranquil hill states to get respite from sweltering heats in the plains. Kashmir, this time of the year is brimming with holiday makers, and Himachal Pradesh is sure to gain from neighbour's spillover. After a lull - the hill state is now witnessing a sudden boom in the tourist flow. OHotels have been fully booked for now and the next month,O managing director of the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Corporation (HPTDC) Subashish Panda said. The state-run tourism corporation has in total 58 units scattered around the state - which has a total 1,075 rooms with total...