Tourism gaining momentum faster than expected | Sunday Observer

Tourism gaining momentum faster than expected

Minister John  Amaratunga
Minister John Amaratunga

The tourism industry is recovering faster than expected with a steady stream of visitors, despite the recent terrorist attacks, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga told journalists at a media briefing to announce Sri Lanka Tourism’s partnership with the United Federation of Travel Agents Association (UFTAA), a leading global travel and tourism body to consolidate the revival of the tourism industry in Sri Lanka.

‘We are confident that the tourism industry will be back to what it was and continue to gain momentum as one of the preferred destinations for travel and tourism,” Amaratunga said adding that recording around 2,000 travellers a day despite the travel advisories is an achievement. According to Sri Lanka Tourism, around 4,500 tourists arrive the country daily.

However, Sri Lanka Tourism official were upbeat that all travel advisories will be lifted soon as the security situation has improved remarkably since the Easter Sunday attacks.

‘Terrorist attacks are not unique to Sri Lanka. Many leading cities, such as New York, Tokyo, Paris, London and Bali came under attacks, and they bounced back within a short period. Similarly, Colombo will be back to business soon,” Amaratunga said.

On timelines and the nature of the travel advisories and bans, the minister said all depends on foreign ambassadors’ and envoys’ acknowledgement on the security situation in the country.

Sri Lanka Tourism will offer a host of promotional packages, including travel insurance to lure visitors to the country. Travel experts said promotional incentives show how desperate the industry is to woo in travellers when the security condition in the country is still volatile.

They said that when the safety of travellers is assured and normalcy in the country is restored, there is no need to promote the destination as it is well known for travel and tourism in the world. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Kishu Gomes said Sri Lanka Tourism will take party in all tourism promotional events across countries.

“There will be around 37 travel shows abroad this year. The Annual General Meeting of UFTAA scheduled in Colombo in June, a Golf tournament and CITES are some major events to be held in Sri Lanka within next few months, Gomes said. The Travel Agents’ Association of Sri Lanka (TAASL) has initiated a dialogue with UFTAA which will result in steps intended to take Sri Lanka Tourism to the next level. Sri Lanka tourism will go ahead with its promotional and PR campaigns as scheduled.

“We have allocated funds for both campaigns carried out by leading PR and promotional bodies in the world,” Gomes said.

It was also pointed out that there has to be one voice among policy makers to convey a clear message to the world that Sri Lanka is safe to travel.

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