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Sri Lanka cabinet clears global tourism promotion campaign

Tourists in Sri Lanka capital wearing masks
TRAVEL WOES: Foreigners wearing masks walk past a restaurant a frequented by tourists in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo.

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’ cabinet of ministers had cleared a global promotion plan proposed by the tourism promotion office with no modifications but it may be changed to suit post-Covid needs of the country, a top official said.

“The cabinet gave the approval for the global promotion campaign,: Chairperson of Sri Lanka Tourism Kimarli Fernando told an online forum organized by Advocata Institute, a Colombo-based think tank.

“They approved it as soon as we gave it with no amendments.”

Connectivty

In addition to the promotional campaign, Sri Lanka also had to look at issues such as increasing connectivity to bring in more tourists using the Colombo’s position as a hub.

“But we have to think how we can increase the connectivity to Sri Lanka before promoting”
Fernando said.

“Do we need changes in charges. Are we going to have open sky encouraging more airlines to come in. We are not optimizing ourselves regarding to connectivity.”

“We are having discussion to make our airport as a transit hub for the region. If we look at countries like Singapore they use their airports to promote their country by being a transit hub.”

Sri Lanka’s airport charges are among the highest in Asia and can be about half the ticket price of a 3.0-3.5 hour flight.

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Chairman of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, Sanath Ukwatte said the global promotional campaign was a long felt need of the industry.

“This has been the major call of all us for the last few years,” Ukwatte said. “This can be a good start to launch our country. We have to plan at least for five years and position Sri Lanka as the best island.”

Fernando said Sri Lanka’s tourism players must not fully depend on the global promotion campaign.

Fernando said before promoting Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tourism should look at the products and services of the industry and how the system operates.

“The global promotion is not the way to solve all the problems in the industry,” Fernando said. “You should look at your product, services and other thing which we are promoting and also how the industry operates before promoting.”

She also said businesses in the industry should not wait until the Sri Lank tourism board to step in and should start also start promoting their brands.

“Do not stay put waiting for the tourism board to come and solve all the problems. It is not going to happen” Fernando said. (Colombo/ April 21/2020)