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    We have to attract the $250 tourist, let's not just chase visitor arrivals - SLTourism Chairman Featured

    August 05, 2015

    Whist Sri Lanka Tourism industry can be proud of the end July performance of 2015 with visitor arrivals up by 16.8%, crossing the 1 million visitor arrival mark with July recording a 31.2% the Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Dr. Rohantha Athukorala voiced. He said that  Sri Lanka must stop chasing visitor arrival numbers but focus on attracting the $250 per day guests into the country if we are to make the industry financially viable" at the SKAL EGM which he was the key note speaker hosted by Galadari Hotel. He went on to mention that revenue growth being flat in the formal sector was worrying given that central bank confirms the tourism receipts at a 14% growth.


    SKAL was founded in 1932 in Paris by travel managers and the idea of international goodwill and friendship grew and, in 1934, the “Association Internationale des Skål Clubs” was formed with Florimond Volckaert as its first President, who is considered the “Father of Skål”. Today, the organization has earned it self the reputation to be the 'Voice of the Tourism Industry" and in Sri Lanka attracts the best names of the sector making it a key stakeholder in the industry under the leadership of Dushy Perera.


    Dr Athukorala's logic of targeting the minimum threshold traveller of $250 was that given the high cost of construction and labour in Sri Lanka, unless we have a hotel property that can attract a $250 it will not be financially viable. If not the owner will have to wait for asset enhancement alone which is not a strong business model that can be marketed for a potential investor he commented. Whilst we can do all the focussed B2B marketing on a private-public partnership for us to attract a $250 tourist Sri Lanka needs a strong brand building communication campaign targeting UK/Europe traveller who nets in a 22% of the net proceeds whilst though the Asian travellers account for a higher footfall due to India and China the revenue to the country is only 13% which clearly justifies the argument for the core markers to be Europe. The sad story is that for the last 3 years we have neglected the western markets by pumping in a colossal Rs.860 million to China alone which needs to be balanced if we are to name the industry financially attractive said Dr Athukorala who also has experience of serving the 12 billion dollar export development board and the Sri Lanka tea board for the last five years that gives him an insight to the cross sectoral policy issues the country needs to address.


    Last modified on Wednesday, 05 August 2015 13:49

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