3th May 2011, www.dailynews.lk, By Sanjeevi Jayasuriya
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.
“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 process.
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
Related Info :
• Sri Lanka Tourism Statistics and Tourist Arrivals