Sri Lanka tourism got a boost last week when Jetair, one of the leading tour operators in Belgium, introduced Colombo as a new winter destination, and said it will operate weekly charter flights from Brussels from October 2010.
The formal announcement was made at this year’s ‘Jetair Fly summer road show 2010’ held at the Event Lounge – Brussels attended by more than 600 travel agents. Introducing Sri Lanka, Bart Brackx CEO of Jetair NV said “despite the economic crisis the Belgian travel market is expanding and as a tribute to the Belgian traveller we are introducing the South Asian destination”.
He expressed confidence that more Belgian travellers will choose Sri Lanka this winter which will add a novel experience to their life. He said Jetair NV. has offered their clients 3 travel packages ‘initiatique ideal’ tour (3 days tour and 4 days in a beach resort), ‘Beauté naturelle inégalée’ tour (11 days tour and 3 days in a beach resort) and ‘Sri Lanka Classique’ (8 day tour for small groups) with their local partner, Aitken Spence Hotels in Sri Lanka, according to a statement issued by the Sri Lankan embassy in Brussels.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU Ravinatha Aryasinha who was the special guest of honour at the launch, noted that “while overall tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka grew by 48% in the first six months of 2010 over the corresponding period the previous year, arrivals from Belgium was almost 60%”.
Noting that “despite the absence of a direct flight connecting the capitals, Belgium has been a country which sent visitors who have grown fond of Sri Lanka, who travelled there several times and were largely high spending,” the Ambassador said “the decision taken by Jetair to commence direct charter flights to Sri Lanka is not only a huge boost to the marketing of the destination in the BENELUX region, but will also add to the numbers that will be able to visit the island”.