‘SriLankan Airlines faces flight cancellations’ | Daily News
Following Easter Sunday attack:

‘SriLankan Airlines faces flight cancellations’

SriLankan Airlines faces a 17% cancellation in May and a 12% cancellation in June, following the Easter Day attack. CEO, SriLankan Airlines Vipula Gunatilleka, said the numbers are expected to increase.

Special security measures have also been imposed right after the attack and still remains in place at the Colombo Airport. Passengers are advised to arrive at least five hours prior to departure, due to the increased security checks. “Due to this situation, we have enhanced security measures at the Airport for the safety of our passengers,” he said.

The Easter Sunday attack on three luxury hotels in Colombo, injured many people, while over 40 of them lost their lives. Thus, it is crucial that confidence is built in the country within and globally. But he said that it is too early to carry out promotional programs, without getting travel advisories lifted or relaxed. “Once this is done, we would carry out market specific promotions with the industry,” he added.

Obtaining revenue of US$ 993 million during the last financial year, this year’s Budget expects a revenue of US$ 1 billion. However, he said the figure would be reduced due to impact.

Meanwhile President, The Hotel Association of Sri Lanka (THASL), Sanath Ukwatte, said that security should be enhanced to restore the confidence among tourists. THASL advised hoteliers on many security measures that had to be implemented to ensure the safety of the guests. They had also conducted many media interviews to highlight such measures and had also strategized a media plan to negate the consequences of this crisis as much as possible. They are also planning to have security experts conduct frequent seminars and training in each region, to keep the hoteliers updated concerning such security measures.

“We are working closely with the industry stakeholders to implement promotional campaigns, especially with the national airline to attract tourists back to Sri Lanka no sooner security operations come to an end,” he said.

Tourism was Sri Lanka’s third-largest and fastest-growing source of foreign earnings last year, after private remittances and textile and garment exports, accounting for almost $4.4 billion or 4.9% of the GDP in 2018. Last year, the country was able to attract a record 2.3 million tourists, up 11% from 2017.


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