Shangri-La capitalises on Gan flights, announces combined Colombo-Maldives package

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has announced an exciting opportunity for guests to enjoy a two-destination holiday in Sri Lanka and Maldives as it seeks to capitalise on the recently launched direct flights between Colombo and the southern part of the Maldives.

Hong Kong-based luxury hotel operator’s Vice President of Sales for EMEA Rob Weeden told journalists at the ongoing Arabian Travel Market in Dubai that the launch of direct flights to the southernmost Addu atoll in the Maldives by SriLankan Airlines was a welcome development.

“We are very keen to take advantage of the close links between Sri Lanka and the Maldives, leveraging the popularity of two-destination holidays between the countries and deals offered by international and independent travel agents, as well as direct flights from Colombo by SriLankan Airlines,” he said.

Neighbouring Sri Lanka’s flagship carrier began scheduled flights to its second destination in the Maldives in December, becoming the only airline to operate scheduled international flights to a destination other than the main Velana International Airport.

SriLankan Airlines currently operates four weekly flights to Gan International Airport from Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. The airline has recently announced plans to add two more flights to its Colombo-Gan route starting September 17.

At the four-day Arabian Travel Market, Shangri-La also announced a package where guests can combine their stay in its Colombo hotel, which is set to open by the end of this year, with a retreat at its resort in the Maldives.

Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa is located in Addu atoll, just a five-minute boat ride away from Gan International Airport. The resort is a collection of 132 private villas nestled across emerald green jungle and stunning turquoise shoreline.

As Shangri-La seeks to take advantage of the recently launched direct flights to Addu, an additional international airline is set to begin scheduled flights to the Gan International Airport next March.

Another international airline coming into play in Addu is expected to give a much needed boost to tourism in the southern part of the Maldives.

Despite several new resort developments and a boom in guesthouse tourism in the Maldives, Addu as a whole has lagged behind for years in attracting tourism-related investments. The relatively large atoll, which has unique geographical features compared to other parts of the island nation, is home to only two of the some 120 tourist resorts in the Maldives; Shangri-La’s Villingili Resort & Spa and Canareef Resort Maldives.

Government has, however, recently launched a project to develop 3,000 beds in Addu to cater to backpackers and budget travellers.


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