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    PM’s dpl strategy to boost tourism Featured

    November 25, 2018

    Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa will launch a direct communication strategy through diplomatic missions to inform the global travel industry about the ongoing political situation in Sri Lanka, to ensure the growth in tourist arrivals, Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Upali Rathnayake said.

    A few countries including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have issued travel advisories on Sri Lanka recently, drawing the attention of their citizens who plan to visit the Indian Ocean Island, about Sri Lanka’s current political tussle.
    The strategy of this diplomatic mission will be based on the fact that no foreign traveller had been affected by the ongoing crisis in the country.The Director General of Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Upali Rathnayake told the Sunday Observer that ‘Sri Lanka Tourism’ has decided to take an integrated approach to counter travel advisories.
    A meeting to discuss current issues of the Tourism industry was held at the Ministry of Tourism on Friday, November 23 with the participation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prof. G.L. Peiris, State Minister of Tourism and Wildlife, Ananda Aluthgamage and Sri Lanka Tourism officials. “In fact we have seen no decline in the number of tourist arrivals. Compared to the past year we have found no drop in the number of tourist arrivals,” said Rathnayake.
    However, it was reported that millions of rupees had been lost to the Sri Lankan tourism sector due to cancellation of bookings owing to the sudden politically unstable situation.“Alhough there is no drop in the number of arrivals compared to last year, there is no growth either. The MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism sector had faced a negative impact. Other leisure travellers don’t seem to be worried about the political situation in the country,” Rathnayake said.
    A media communiqué issued by the Secretary to the Prime Minister, Rohan Weliwita stated that the Premier focused mainly on boosting the tourism industry which had been overlooked for the past three years.He called upon officials to take steps to develop the tourism industry. It was also decided to look into higher taxes imposed on tourists compared to other countries in the region.
    The Prime Minister encouraged schemes where direct and indirect employment and other entrepreneurial opportunities are created through the development of the industry.Sri Lanka Tourism will address international insurance companies to lift some of the travel advisories too.“The main reason for travel advisories is that insurance companies have increased their insurance premium considering Sri Lanka as a risky destination to travel. However, we will get the premium reduced by explaining the real situation,” Rathnayake said.
    The number of arrivals to Sri Lanka during October 2018 had increased slightly by 0.5 per cent compared to October the previous year. There were 1.89 million tourists in Sri Lanka up to the end of October 2018, with India, China, UK, Germany and Australia being the top five source markets. It is a growth of 10.6 per cent compared from January to October 2017.Sri Lanka was ranked as the best travel destination in the world for by renowned international travel guide, Lonely Planet, in October 2018.


    Last modified on Sunday, 25 November 2018 09:04

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