Sri Lanka Tourism hosted a grand welcome for the first batch of Chinese Tourists for 2023, on 1st March 2023, which the destination received after a lapse of three years. They were warmly welcomed at the Bandaranaike International Airport, amidst a distinguished audience including Hon. Minister of Tourism, Harin Fernando, Hon. State Minister of External affairs, Tharaka Balasuriya , Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka H.E Qi Zhenhong, Mr. Zhang Yingbao Cultural Counsellor , Ms. Li Qingru ,First Secretary of the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka , Chairman , Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau , Chalaka Gajabahu ,and Rt. Major General G.A Chandrasiri , Chairman , Airport & Aviation services who welcomed the Chinese delegation. This is a special occasion for Sri Lanka since this is the first Chinese tourist arrival after the Covid 19 Pandemic, which created a major setback in the Chinese tourist arrivals. It also gives an opportunity to enhance Bilateral and cultural ties between the two countries, especially as China has been a longtime friend of Sri Lanka, assisting in Cultural, Economic and infrastructure development, and lending a helping hand at the most difficult times. The Chinese visitors who had arrived in Sri Lanka after sometime were completely overjoyed to receive such a warm welcome from their Sri Lankan hosts.
In arranging this tour, Travel agents in China such as GZL Guanzhou , You Tour and Easy Tour etc contributed a great deal to make this visit become a success. Hon. Harin Fernando, addressing the gathering said that this will further strengthen the friendship between Sri Lanka and China. He expressed hope in building a very strong bond between the two nations which will continue in many years to come.
Chalaka Gajabahu , Chairman SLTPB ,with other SLTPB officials
Hon . Minister Harin Fernando with the chinese visitors
The group consisted of 117 tourists who will be here for an 8-day visit to get an amazing experience of the numerous travel opportunities it has to offer. They arrived via special aircraft UL 1881 from Guanzhou. From the 01st of March, China will start its flight operations to Sri Lanka via China Eastern Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines, and further enhance the air connectivity between the two countries. In this regard, Sri Lanka is in the process of bringing a large number of Chinese tourist to Sri Lanka through these Airlines. Therefore, Sri Lanka hopes to take maximum advantage of this opportunity and further renew the friendship between the two countries, to ensure a better future for Sri Lanka’ s tourism sector.
China is one of the key source markets for Sri Lanka, as China is marked as a nation which brings a large number of tourists to Sri Lanka annually. During 2018, China was the highest tourist generating market receiving 265,965 tourist arrivals from China up to December in the same year. Therefore, by renewing connections with its Chinese counterparts, Sri Lanka hopes to re-establish China one of the major East Asian destinations which will generate a similar number throughout 2023.
The Chinese visitors being welcomed by the TIC
The Hon.Minister posing for a photo
Visitors being garlanded on their arrival
The Chinese delegation
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