NATIONAL carrier SriLankan Airlines is planning to increase services from India, the island nation’s largest source market, in an effort to support Sri Lanka Convention Bureau's (SLCB) goal of growing inbound MICE business.
The airline is studying the feasibility of flying to Visakhapatnam, Chandigarh and Hyderabad in addition to increasing frequencies to other popular destinations in India.
Gayan Peiris, a senior manager at SriLankan Airlines, said the company now operates 86 flights to seven destinations - Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Cochin, Trivandrum, Trichy and Bengaluru, and frequencies to some of these destinations will increase.
Meanwhile, SLCB general manager Vipula Wanigasekera told TTGmice e-Weekly that the CVB is bringing forward an October roadshow in Bengaluru to September 6-8, coinciding it with PATA Travel Mart that will be held in the Indian city that week. SLCB is also planning to run a MICE promotion for some 200 to 300 buyers during PATA Travel Mart.
MICE promotions in Mumbai and Delhi are also in the pipeline.
Wanigasekera said these efforts are aimed at "reviving interest from our neighbours" and added that the CVB "didn’t do much MICE promotion in India last year".
India is Sri Lanka’s largest source market, contributing 170,134 arrivals in the first seven months of 2015, up 27.4 per cent from the same period last year. Indian MICE travellers account for around 30,000 arrivals a year.