Sri Lanka hopes for tourism recovery with easing of travel advisories

Sept 15, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is confident of achieving its target of attracting 600,000 tourists this year following the relaxation of travel advisories in key markets, tourist board officials say.

"We are confident that this year, looking at the progress we have, we'll be able to achieve 600,000 tourists for this year," S. Kalaiselvan, director general of Sri Lanka Tourist Board (SLTB) told LBO.

Some 44,500 tourists visited the island in August, considered one of the peak seasons, with a traditional Buddhist pageant in the central hill country town of Kandy in which a phalanx of elephants parade, being a major attraction.

Although the number was lower than last year's arrivals for the month, the SLTB is confident the winter season will be better than last year's as European countries have lifted and relaxed some of the travel warnings that were in force.

"The French travel advisory has been liberalized now and is more conducive for the French tourists to visit us. The Netherlands have also lifted their travel advisory," Kalaiselvan says.

"These are good signs to say that the situation in Sri Lanka is conducive for tourists to visit."

The country got over 313,000 tourist arrivals up to August but it was nearly 92,000 lower than the number of visitors compared to the same period last year.

The travel advisories were issued last year when the conflict between the between Tamil Tigers and the government forces intensified.

The Tigers attacked key points in the capital as well as other parts of Sri Lanka during the last quarter of 2006 which led to a sharp fall in tourist arrivals.

This resulted in many hotels being virtually empty during the off-season with average occupancy dropping to around 45-50 percent.

According to statistics, Sri Lanka was unable to achieve the 600,000 visitor target last year and had to settle for 559,000 tourist arrivals.

The country's 26-billion-dollar economy earned nearly 400 million dollars from tourism last year, the fourth largest foreign currency earner behind tea, clothing and remittances from abroad.
Source : LBO

Labels: , , ,

Leave a Comment


Post a Comment