Lanka ranked third in Gulf tourism growth
Sri Lanka has been ranked third in Asia in terms of growth of tourism
for the Middle Eastern market said Director General Sri Lanka Tourism
Promotions Bureau, (SLTPB) Dilip Mudadeniya.
He said Sri Lanka as a destination recently reported a 80.6 per cent
growth in terms of Gulf arrivals in comparison with 2007. "This places
Sri Lanka behind Thailand and the Maldives," he said.
There was also a surge in tourist arrivals in March to Sri Lanka,
which increased by 8.6% over the same period last year. The highest
performer during the period was the Middle East," he said.
Mudadeniya said the revenue generated from the market also saw a
proportionate increase than the previous year. "The revenue generated
from the Gulf market last year was US $ 1.2 million and this year we are
expecting a 20 per cent increase," he said.
He said the promotions launched at the Arabian Travel Mart have
helped to achieve this growth. "Before the tsunami Sri Lanka was banking
heavily on Western arrivals and due to this factor there was no need to
look for new markets.
With adverse travel advisories Sri Lanka was forced to look for new
markets and the Gulf had been very productive," he added.
He said to attract more gulf visitors the SLTPB would be looking at
employing Arab speaking tour guides. "In addition since Gulf tourists
travel with their families a maid service too is needed in hotels and we
are looking at the private sector to provide this service," he said.
The opening of a new SLTPB office in Dubai will maximise the
opportunities emerging throughout the Middle East while strengthening
support for the travel trade in the region.
SLTPB's Dubai office will co-ordinate all Sri Lanka's tourism
promotional activities in the Arab market including exhibition
participation, marketing visits, presentations and road shows,
advertising, brochure distribution, public relations, as well as
familiarisation visits to the island for influential business and travel
"We have taken many factors into consideration before deciding on
Dubai including its strategic location, free enterprise system,
first-rate air transport links, well-developed business Infrastructure,
state-of-the-art-telecommunications and sophisticated support services,"