SRI LANKA: “WE ARE STRONG AND RESILIENT”

Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is bouncing back “better and stronger” in the wake of the tragic incidents of Easter Sunday this year.

At a press conference at WTM London, Sri Lanka’s Minister of Tourism, John Amaratunga said that ensuring security and safety of all locals and tourists alike has been top of the agenda for the government of Sri Lanka since the attacks.

New safety and security procedures which focus on training people, defining procedures and installing advanced security equipment have, says the Minister, been implemented at all key locations including hotels and airports. As a result of these measures, tourist arrivals have been gradually increasing and tourists have the freedom to travel freely to all parts of the country. Total YTD September 2019 tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka stands at 1.3 million. UK is the main European market for the country with tourist arrivals of 187,704, YTD Sep 2019.

“We have been eagerly awaiting the 2019 edition of WTM to announce to the world that Sri Lanka is back on the travel map — better and stronger,” said the Minister, adding, “Today as a result of the security measures we have put in place, Sri Lanka can be considered as one of the safest places on earth.”

The tourism sector is one of Sri Lanka’s economic success stories. The industry represents one of Sri Lanka’s largest foreign exchange earners, accumulating US$4.3bn, a share of 5% of GDP in 2018. These results have been achieved through targeted investments in infrastructure development, tourist attractions, and coordinated promotional campaigns strategically organized and carefully executed by the apex tourism body, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

The Minister went on, “Tourism is very important for us as nearly two million people depend on the industry for their income in some way or the other. As one of the top three revenue earners for the country the government is focused on maximizing the full potential of the tourism industry for the benefit of our people. With direct air connectivity and considering the historical ties between our two countries, UK has the potential to grow to be our top source market.”

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau’s collaboration with WTM 2019 as a “premier partner” is to primarily promote the message that Sri Lanka’s value proposition remains unchanged and has been enjoyed by millions of tourists from across the world. This proposition has now been further strengthened with the added assurance of greater security for visitors. Sri Lanka’s uniqueness is further amplified through the many endorsements the country continues to receive including Best in Travel-2019 by Lonely Planet.


Photo: John Amaratunga, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, Sri Lanka