All eyes on tourism
The tourism industry has been very excited during the post war
scenario. Much attention has been given to the sector from both public
and private sector, PATA International and Jetwing Hotels Chairman Hiran
Cooray said. Speaking on ‘Sri Lanka Tourism: ‘Opportunities and
Challenges’ organized by the Council for Business with Britain (CBB)
yesterday, he said Asia was the first to recover from the global
financial downturn and has shown a tremendous growth trend in this
Sri Lanka, India and Nepal are leading the way performing well above
the projected targets.
However Sri Lanka is still in the foundation level and many more
things have to improve in the tourism industry sector.
“Recognizing the potential in the industry, Sri Lanka Tourism
Development Authority (SLTDA) is planning to set up a one-stop-shop
where all subjects could be solved under one-roof and the banking sector
is supporting the industry providing loan approvals are encouraging.
“The gold rush is now in the Eastern coastlines as there are virgin
beaches from Kalpitiya to Arugambay, which is one of the most beautiful
beaches in the world.
It is timely that interested parties should build hotels while
ensuring ecological sustainability.
At present there are only two new hotels that have ongoing building
processes in the Eastern coast.
It is important that hoteliers be concern of on the trends and needs
of the travellers when setting up hotels newly or refurbishing them,”
At present there are only 14,000 hotel rooms in the market. In
achieving a target of 2.5 million tourist arrivals by 2016, the industry
needs to increase the number of rooms to 35,000 to 40,000 in the years
There is a positive trend with graduates joining the hotel sector.
This will facilitate in having qualified management in the hotel
sector. We also need to attract employees in the Middle East countries
and in Maldives. Sri Lanka Institute of Tourism and Hotel Management (SLITHM)
is playing a vital role in building the human resource capacity,” he
The silver market, senior travellers are an important segment for Sri
Nevertheless, we have not facilitated much on our products and
services to cater to this category.
More accessibility for disabled, single parents and independent
traveller segments has to be addressed immediately, as they expect more
hospitality,” Cooray said.
There is a huge prospective for green travel where wildlife, beaches
and mountains are concerned.
With the number of tourist arrivals showing a continuous growth
trend, the industry and the authorities should cope in setting up places
for tourists to spend time relaxing or engaging in some activities.
“We need to address the historically important places such as
Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya as destinations where travellers
will feel much space in spending time. Therefore Cooray said more
boutique hotels, restaurants and places to spend time are needed.
Internal flights will cater to the high-end travellers, as they are
The proposal of putting up floating air planes by the SriLankan
Airlines is a timely decision in attracting all segments of travellers.
Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAASL) Air Transport and Legal Affairs
Deputy Director Rayhan Wanniappa said international airlines have a
positive vision in our tourism industry.
“Three new airlines from China, Egypt and India have commenced
Five new charters will be operated during the winter season,” he