Sri Lanka travel industry gears for better times

Tourist arrivals in the first half of this year dipped by 24.4% but with the industry counting on the improved prospects for the upcoming season has been backed by travel advisories that have been relaxed in the run-up to the winter season just ahead.

In this respect it was pointed out recently that the government of Netherlands, which had a negative travel advisory on Sri Lanka has relaxed its advisory to enable Dutch Tour Operators to aggressively market Sri Lanka. The advisory which earlier started that it was unsafe to travel to Sri Lanka, now sates that Dutch travellers must b cautious when traveling and that they must use formal means of transport and tour operations.

In 2006, there were 19,360 numbers of tourist visitors from the Netherlands. Between January and July in 2006, the Dutch arrivals stood at 12,593 and for the same period in 2007, it was 10,083 register in a drop of 19.9%.

“We expect the arrivals from the Netherlands now progressively to get back to normalcy with the softening of the Travel Advisory. Sri Lanka Tourism will carryout strong promotions in the Dutch market in the future to regain and develop strong market share. We are also thankful to our Ambassador in the Netherlands Ms. Pamela Deen for her determined efforts made to bring this change” said Renton de Alwis, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourist Board.

Minister of Tourism, Milinda Moragoda who will be leading a promotional delegation to France after the softening of the French Travel Advisory, has asked Sri Lanka Tourism officials and the private sector to also meet with the Dutch Tour Operators to discuss future plans.

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