SRI Lanka Tourism Promotion Board (SLTPB) has inked a five-year agreement with MasterCard Worldwide to promote the country as a top-of-the-line tourist destination for Indian travellers, and entice MasterCard cardholders with special promotional offers.

  25/09/2012 10:37

The alliance will augment MasterCard’s ongoing objective to promote overseas tourism, adding to its list of existing initiatives such as Priceless Cities and the Great Singapore Sale.

MasterCard will leverage its merchant partnerships and customer banks in India, as well as online travel agents, airlines and hotels to deliver the benefits to the appropriate target audience, as well as other key markets such as Europe, Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and North America.

T V Seshadri, division president, South Asia, MasterCard Worldwide, said: “This alliance underscores our optimism regarding the potential of Sri Lanka’s tourism industry, as well as our commitment to developing and promoting cross border tourism between India and Sri Lanka.” 

The agreement is preceded by the huge growth in Sri Lanka’s tourism trade over the last two years, and the island nation’s aim to reach 2.5 million visitors by 2016.

Sri Lanka welcomed 654,476 international visitors in 2010 and 855,975 in 2011. In 1Q2012, the destination received 260,525 inbound visitors, while 1H2012 registered 452,867 arrivals, an 18.7 per cent growth over the same period in 2011.

Revenue in 2011 also surged 44.2 per cent to a new high of US$830.3 million.

India is the largest source market for Sri Lanka, accounting for 20.8 per cent of total arrivals.  Lakshman Y Abeywardena, deputy economic development minister of Sri Lanka, told Reuters in Colombo that tourist arrivals would exceed one million this year.

Sanjay Kothari, managing director, Just Holidays Kolkata, said, “Since the end of the civil war, Indian tourists’ interest in Sri Lanka has risen manifold and we usually combine the itinerary with the Maldives. We are now looking at Sri Lanka as a stand-alone leisure destination and an incentive destination for MICE.”



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