Home / TOP STORY/ Sri Lanka Tourism kicks off revival post-Easter Sunday setback

Sri Lanka Tourism kicks off revival post-Easter Sunday setback

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Thursday, 13 June 2019 01:00



From left: Inbound Tour Operators President Harith Perera, SriLankan Airlines Holidays Manager Buddhika Hewawasam, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau Chairman Kumar de Silva, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga , Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes, Managing Director Charmarie Maelge and  Sri Lanka Tourist Hotels Association Vice President and  Colombo City Hotel Association President M. Shanthikumar – Pic by Lasantha Kumara


  • Unveils special promotional campaign to woo tourists from India

  • Minister says Sri Lanka will concentrate on Indian market

  • Official delegation to visit India end of the month to boost promotional activities

  • Based on campaign success, similar promotional activities to follow in China and Middle East markets

  • SLTPB Chief confident Sri Lanka will end up with only 20,000 fewer tourists compared to 2018

  • SLAITO backs initiative to increase tourist volume


By Charumini de Silva

The tourism and airline industry yesterday unveiled a special four-month promotion campaign to woo tourists from Sri Lanka’s largest source market, India, following the Easter Sunday terror attack setback.

Sri Lanka Tourism, in collaboration with Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO), The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), and SriLankan Airlines, will offer a total of 15 packages, with a minimum package starting from $180 per person. The industry targets 32 flights per week from 11 destinations in India to Sri Lanka, with an average of 150 passengers per week.

The offer is up and running from 10 June till 30 November, and is available for reservations through travel agents network in India. In addition, national carrier SriLankan Airlines has rolled out a comprehensive package which includes airfare, hotel accommodation on B&B basis, transport as specified in the itinerary, and the service fee of the tour operator.

In a situation where Sri Lanka is linked with fear in the minds of foreigners, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said it was critical to launch this type of tourist package, while insisting Sri Lanka Tourism will concentrate on India more than any other market.

“This Indian package is very important for several reasons; firstly it is our neighbour, and our political relationships are very strong. Secondly, we have so much to offer culturally besides our other attractions. Sri Lanka Tourism will concentrate on India more than any other market, and that is our best bet at this point. We are confident that this package will undoubtedly attract more Indians to come to Sri Lanka,” he told journalists in Colombo.

He also suggested that Sri Lanka would be the best place to avoid the height of summer in India, which runs until August,while enjoying a holiday.

“I hope this package will bring us good results,” the Minister said.

Amaratunga said Sri Lanka Tourism officials are also planning to make a visit to India towards the end of this month to step up promotional activities in India.

Further, he said Sri Lanka Tourism is in discussion with Indian travel authorities to commence ferry services from Rameshwaram.

According to statistics, India is Sri Lanka’s largest tourism market, which accounted for 18.2% of 424,887 arrivals last year, an increase of 10.5% from a year earlier.

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Kishu Gomes said that based on the success of this campaign, they would extend the promotion campaign to China, followed by the Middle East.

“An official delegation is heading to China this Saturday to intensify our promotional activities,” he added.

Considering that many countries have softened their adverse travel advisories, as well as all the promotional offerings and PR campaigns to be executed, Gomes believes Sri Lanka will end up with no more than 20,000 fewer arrivals, compared to 2018’s final tourist arrivals figure.

Sharing more details on the Indian tour packages, Sri Lanka Conventions Bureau (SLCB) Chairman Kumar De Silva said there will be 15 different offerings, as there are five different packages in three varying categories, ranging from standard to superior to deluxe.

“This is a great opportunity, as it is the first time that the tour operators, hotels, and airline have offered such low rates to the tourists,” he added.

De Silva also noted that MasterCard, which has over 180 million cardholders in India,has come on board to promote these packages through its well-connected channels.

SLAITO President Harith Perera also backed the initiative to boost tourist arrivals to the country, where they expect 32 flights per week from 11 destinations in India, with an average of about 120 to 150 passengers per day.

“With this package we are on a volume game. If this works out, we can later work on the price game. Right now, we are in dire need of tourists coming to Sri Lanka,” he pointed out.

Perera said that post-Easter Sunday terror attacks, average occupancy rates have dropped to 5-10%.

SriLankan Airlines Manager Holidays Buddhika Hewawasam said the synergy of SLAITO, THASL and the national carrier had always worked out for the country during crisis situations.

“Tourism growth is very much interlinked with the airline’s strategy as well. SriLankan Airlines management is very keen on extending similar packages to other destinations,as the need of the hour is to revive the industry,” he added.

According to Hewawasam, the airline is enjoying a load factor of about 80% from Indian traffic at present, and the expectation is to keep up the momentum to attract more tourists to Colombo.  


John Amaratunga wants more entertainment for tourists

Share This Article

Facebook Twitter


1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.


Today's Columnists

State of the economy of Sri Lanka

Saturday, 21 September 2019

I am not an economist nor do I profess to be an economic analyst. The views expressed in this presentation are those of a layman who has always been interested in the economic progress of Sri Lanka.

Premadasa, Père et Fils

Saturday, 21 September 2019

We are what time, circumstances and history has made of us. We are trapped in history. At age 77, I refuse to trap history in my mind. This essay is an obligation to history. Although J.R. Jayewardene introduced ‘Executive Presidentialism’, coer

Economy, business community and the Prime Minister

Friday, 20 September 2019

The speech made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Chief Guest of the Sri Lanka Economic Summit 2019 deserves very careful consideration by the country due to several reasons. This will no doubt be his last speech on economic policy to be

Sri Lanka needs to invest more on soft infrastructure

Friday, 20 September 2019

Developing countries like Sri Lanka will have to prepare for further downside risks in 2020 with the growing debt problems and the growth problems in Europe and the slowdown in Asia. Slower growth is already visible in weakening global trade and comm

Columnists More