China lists Sri Lanka in its pilot programme for outbound tourism | Daily News

China lists Sri Lanka in its pilot programme for outbound tourism

Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona
Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of China announced on 20 January 2023 that Sri Lanka will be included among the countries in its outbound tourism pilot programme which will commence on 6 February 2023.

Only a limited number of countries have been included in this list and this listing is a reflection of the close bonds between the two countries a release from the Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing said.

“The Embassy has consistently made representations to have Sri Lanka included in such a list.”

The tourism industry of Sri Lanka which suffered a catastrophic decline following the COVID-19 pandemic now has the opportunity to recover rapidly. In 2019, 169 million Chinese nationals travelled outside the Chinese mainland. Today there is a tremendous pent-up urge to travel among the Chinese and large numbers are expected to undertake vacation travel.

The Sri Lanka Embassy in Beijing is continuing its multi-faceted efforts to promote Sri Lanka tourism despite the limited resources available, including during Ambassador Dr Palitha Kohona’s visits to different provinces and cities. The electronic (TV) and the print media (including the national dailies) have been engaged on every occasion as well as social media. The Embassy has also established working relations with over 12 leading travel operators.

Talks are at an advanced stage to shoot a feature film highlighting Sri Lanka’s fabled tourist attractions, including its world-renowned Buddhist sites, abundant wildlife, tea-covered mountains, precious gems, pristine beaches, smiling hospitality, etc. The wildly popular electronic platforms of Douyin, Tiktok, and Alibaba have also been engaged with clips promoting Sri Lanka appearing on them regularly.

The Charge de Affairs of the Embassy, K. K. Yoganaadan, welcomed the announcement of the Chinese government. He encouraged Chinese travellers to choose Sri Lanka as they seek a warm and hospitable destination away from the winter cold.

Dr. Kohona, who is on holiday in Sri Lanka, said that the reemerging tourism industry will be a welcome boost to the economy of Sri Lanka. He expressed his appreciation to the Chinese government for including Sri Lanka in the pilot programme. Dr. Kohona will meet SLAITO on the 24th.

Countries listed for travel by the Chinese government are Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, New Zealand, Fiji, Cuba, and Argentina.

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