With their preference for round-trips and more activity-filled tour programmes, Chinese travellers are moving up the wishlist of Sri Lankan tour operators.
Arjuna, Exotic Holiday International spokesperson, told TTG Asia that Russia is its top source of business, but China, in second place, is set to overtake the once darling market both in terms of numbers and upselling opportunity.
While Russian travellers tend to opt for beach holidays, Chinese on the other hand have a preference for round-trip or multi-city tours, he explained.
“Yes, we get more Russian travellers, but the Chinese want more out of their holidays (with us). We want more Chinese travellers and expect that (the market would outperform) Russia,” he shared.
A popular programme for the Chinese, he continued, covers Colombo, Kandy, Sigriyar, and more.
On a typical month, the company receives 800 Chinese travellers. Moreover, for special programmes catering to Chinese companies a single group be as large as 250 pax, he said, citing the example of a New Year corporate event last December.
And these numbers are not just coming from first-tier Chinese cities.
Earlier this year in March, Exotic Holiday International welcomed over 150 women from an organisation in Kunming who attended a special Sri Lanka programme tailored for them in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Kunming also represents an important market for Lahiru Weerawardana, managing director of Sri Lankan DMC Travel Trends Leisure.
He shared that with thrice-weekly flights now connecting the Chinese city and Sri Lanka, the opportunities are hard to deny.
The Sri Lankan tourism bureau is also bringing more promotional activities to Kunming now, he said.