Tourist bookings up at 90% with World Cup fever

Thursday, 10 February 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Sunimalee Dias

Sri Lanka is currently witnessing a 90% booking in the wake of the Cricket World Cup season set to kick off in 10 days. The country is the venue for 11 matches set to be played in various locations.

This is expected to prove good for the local tourism industry with hotels gearing up with promotions set to attract increased visitors to mark a festive season during the world cup.

Tourist Hoteliers’Association President Anura Lokuhetty speaking with the Daily FT yesterday said that this month will have an enhancement in the number of visitors to the country this year. February in general is a month with high occupancies.

As such the average arrival figure for February is likely to be pushed up by about an estimated 15-20%, he said. 

In the meantime, Lokuhetty also observed that in the wake of the unrest that has erupted in Egypt there was a likelihood that Sri Lanka is expected to pick up a few travellers to the country. But, he refrained from giving an exact figure.

He also said that as Egypt was a short haul destination for European travellers than Sri Lanka it was likely that only a few would focus on coming to this country.

The unrest in Egypt’s capital has led to most international tour operators concentrating on alternative destinations. However, reports also indicate that while some visitors to Egypt are likely to head towards other destinations most others would opt to postpone their travel plans.

It was reported that Egypt’s National Tour Association (NTA) had stated that its tour operators had mixed views about the future of tourism in Egypt with some of them noting that they would see “a fairly short recovery time because of Egypt’s unique offerings.”

In the meantime, up market tour operator Kuoni has reportedly contacted all its customers due to travel to Egypt within the next week to ask if they want to change their plans with no amendment charge.   

The operations team is expected to try to find a “suitable alternative destination” for customers or hand back a refund. Additional costs for a different holiday will be paid for by the customer.   

Kuoni says this will be a “rolling policy” while the Foreign Office in the UK is still advising against non-essential travel to Cairo, Luxor, Suez and Alexandria.   

For customers already out in Egypt, Kuoni says all customers are being repatriated as quickly as possible apart from those in Sharm El Sheikh which is eight hours’ drive from Cairo. Only clients who ask to return home from this resort will be repatriated.