By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 29, Sep 2022, 16:38 pm IST | UPDATED: 29, Sep 2022, 16:42 pm IST
Tourism being 60% of Sri Lanka’s revenue source other than textiles the island country has lots to offer. What new is Sri Lanka offering? The minister said, ‘Visa facilities have been eased. An extend five-year multiple entry tourist visas for 35 countries to help boost tourism has been approved by the cabinet. A tourist can stay in Sri Lanka for six months in one stretch with this scheme. We will provide Health Insurance for every tourist that comes. Soft liquor licenses have been given to places near schools & hospitals. We are organizing a massive Christmas celebration at the Presidential palace this year.’ ‘It’s a new resilient Sri Lanka now with more transparency and people are coming out with renewed interest in Sri Lanka Tourism. We will be totally back on track by December 2022.’
How do they plan to promote it, he said, ‘Campaigning will involve media visits, digital mapping through Apps.’ Indigo tie up has facilitated more flights to Sri Lanka, 75 of them. Talks are going on with civil aviation to give more land to airlines. Sri Lankan Airlines, Indigo & Mastercard are offering special packages for Sri Lanka, the minister informed. Make my Trip will be giving a special promotional offer.
The minister said, ‘Tourism industry had huge loans for which they are working out a moratorium. We have decent law & order now. People are hospitable. By 2048 we aim to pull Sri Lanka fully out of debt.’
Fernando said, ‘They are looking with optimism at sports tourism as Sri Lanka is the 3rd largest market after India & UK particularly Golf Tourism. With FIFA world cup coming up in Doha, Sri Lanka could be the main travel hub as Qatar may not be able to host a sea of world cup lovers descending Doha.’
Other than India, the key markets for Sri Lanka tourism are UK, Germany, France, Spain, China & Russia. The minister said, ‘They plan to target 1million tourists by the end of December with a $2 billion revenue this year. To restructure our debts we are looking at PPP model. By 2023 Airlines and Telecom in Sri Lanka will be privatized. On reason for collapsing economy, Harin said, ‘Former government held dollars by force.’
The main purpose of hosting these roadshows is to promote Sri Lanka as an attractive tourist destination across India as it is Sri Lanka’s key source market. The event focused on promoting a myriad of tourism experiences while focusing on converting potential travelers to make booking & highlight the positive message that Sri Lanka is open for Leisure, Business & MICE tourism once again.
The target audience of these roadshows were Tour operators, Media, Key Influencers, Corporates & Trade Associations & key Tourism Industry stakeholders in India who can spread the message that Sr Lanka is not only the most beautiful country but is also safe, adhering to all necessary health and safety guidelines.
A delegation of over 50 local Travel Agencies & hotels participated in the event with a delegation led by Harin Fernando, Minister of Tourism along with Chalaka Gajabahu, Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.