The plane of the Russian Aeroflot airline, loaded with tourists by 100%, landed on October 10 on the popular island Sri Lanka and became the first within the framework of the resumed air traffic after a long break between the countries.
An Airbus 330-300 SU 288 carrying a total of 252 tourists arrived at Bandaranaike International Airport on October 10 at 10:06 am. “Today's flight was performed at full capacity. We also learned that more than 80% of the seats are sold out by January 2023,” Tourism Minister Harin Fernando was quoted as saying by the Sri Lankan media.
Sri Lanka expects an increase in the number of tourist arrivals from November to December due to the resumption of Aeroflot flights, the official said. In addition, he noted that this flight will also draw travelers from several other countries to Sri Lanka and will be an incentive for the development of tourism in a bankrupt resort country.
Recall that direct flights between Moscow and Colombo resumed on October 9. Aeroflot is the carrier on the route. The regularity of flights is twice a week, on Sundays and Thursdays. From November 2022 to March 2023, the airline will operate three flights a week.
From November 3, four flights of AZUR air will be added to them as part of the charter program to Sri Lanka. Tour operators Coral Travel, Anex Tour and Intourist plan to carry tourists on these flights. In total, from November for the entire winter season – 6 flights a week from Moscow to Colombo. In addition, charter programs from three cities are planned from the Russian regions – Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, St. Petersburg.
According to Airport and Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) (Private) Limited, more than 75% of seats are currently reserved for subsequent flights. This is great news for the island nation in terms of the development of the tourism sector and a huge contribution to the collapsed economy. The development of this route will contribute to the recovery of the tourism sector in Sri Lanka, especially in the post-pandemic period.
Russia has been one of the most reliable and friendly destinations for attracting tourists to Sri Lanka, and for many decades Russian inbound tourism showed its great potential as an important entry market for the development of the travel and tourism sector in Sri Lanka, the politician added. Aeroflot first launched a flight program to Colombo in 1964 and is one of the oldest airlines operating flights to Sri Lanka.
Another positive signal to stimulate Russian tourist flow to Sri Lanka is news about a possible launch service of Mir cards and the willingness to remotely issue cards of international payment systems to travelers at a local bank.
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