Revisiting the country
Minister Basil Rajapaksha greeted the staff and officials aboard the flight. Priyankara Jayaratne, minister of Civil Aviation Services and Keith Williams the British Airways Chief Executive Officer were also present on the occasion. Rajapaksha said that the country welcomes the airline with open arms and strongly believes that this will help in adding impetus to the movement of tourism between the two countries. The suspension of flights to the island country in the late 1900's had been attributed to security concerns that had arisen from the conflict situation that existed in Sri Lanka at that point of time. An economic downturn in the global airways sector had been another contributing factor for the suspension.
Projections in place
Dr Nonis said that in 2012, the U.K had been the second largest source of visitors to Sri Lanka with 114,218 British tourists touching down in the country. The Mahinda Chintahana Future Vision projects that close to 2.5 million tourists will head for Sri Lanka by 2016. Minister Basil Rajapaksha is making every effort to improve tourism-related facilities in the country and has been instrumental in launching several programs that will profit the sector. Investors as well as tourists are expected to benefit from these well-researched and well laid-out plans.
Strong economy a plus
At the outset, the Britain to Sri Lanka flights will operate very Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. Passengers will be offered three flight classes- the Club World Class with flat beds, the World Traveller Plus which is premium economy and Standard Economy seats via World Traveller class. Rajapaksha has requested British Airways to consider operating daily flights. The British Airways CEO Keith Williams was on the inaugural flight and spoke at length with the Sri Lankan High Commission about his very evident confidence in the country. He also said that the airline is extremely happy to be back on this exciting new route.
Sri Lanka is going through a tourism boom and the industry is only expected to touch greater heights. Adding Sri Lanka to their list of destinations will provide British tourists with value and flexibility and also benefit the tourism and aviation sectors, he said. After India, Sri Lanka is the most favoured tourist destination for Britons. This commercially important destination is popular amongst business and leisure travellers alike. The U.K has taken cognisance of this demand and opened up its wings again and is embracing the Sri Lankan skies.