Tourism shines in first quarter
Sri Lanka’s tourist industry recorded an impressive performance in
the first quarter of this year and is poised to continue its growth
momentum in the coming months too.
“The first quarter industry performance is remarkable and we need to
work hard in the next few months as May and June are the lowest yielding
months. There could be an occupancy drop as it is summer for Western
European countries,” Tourist Hotels Association Sri Lanka President
Anura Lokuhetti told Daily News Business.
Tourists quench their thirst with Lanka’s own Thambili on
arrival in Colombo.
“The country needs to concentrate on the Middle East market where
there is huge potential to attract tourists due to the prevailing hot
weather conditions there. The focus should be to promote consumer
marketing to generate interest regarding Sri Lanka,” he said.
An effective communication initiative coupled with consumer marketing
would encourage tourists from the Middle East. There is a possibility of
conducting food festivals through Sri Lankan chefs to create enthusiasm.
These efforts would generate sufficient awareness and in return will
boost tourist arrivals.
Having road shows in supermarkets will be an effective tool of
promotion apart from the personal promotions. We could target not only
Middle East, but also expatriates from various other countries. We need
to focus more on consumer marketing in the Middle East,” he said.
Middle East tourists could be attracted with a combined effort by Sri
Lankan Airlines staff and tourism industry stakeholders as an on going
Taking into account this sharp increase, steps have been taken to
speed up the process to improve the tourism infrastructure facilities,
especially in the hotel sector.
Several investment plans have been already launched in this regard,
in association with the International and local tourist hotel companies.
These investments are estimated to be worth US$ 573 million.
There are 99 investment projects under evaluation for this year and
so far 27 have been approved to be implemented in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
Tourism Promotion Bureau(SLTPB) said.
Sri Lanka Tourism officials believe that the Sambuddhathva Jayanthi
Celebrations and the International Buddhist Film Festival will attract
many religious tourists to Sri Lanka from various Buddhist countries in
the world like Japan, China, Korea, Tailand, India, Singapore, Burma and
Nepal which are having a strong base of Buddhism.
Tourist arrivals comparison
Month 2010 2011 2010/11
Jan 50,757 74,197 46.2
Feb 57,300 65,797 14.8
Mar 52,352 75,130 43.5
Apr 38,300 63,835 66.7