Sri Lanka needs better nightlife to attract Indian tourists: Minister

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka needs to develop better entertainment options, especially nightlife, to attract Indian visitors, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga said.

"Our casinos are no doubt an attraction but the complaint I get from the Indian authority is that there isn’t enough entertainment in the city of Colombo and out station," said Amaratunga, speaking at the launch of a special promotional campaign to attract Indian tourists.

"I’ve been telling the hoteliers association to start their nightclubs. I don’t know why they are not starting, because it’s one way of attracting younger Indian tourists to come into Sri Lanka," he said.

The promotional campaign is the first to be launched after the Easter Sunday attacks.

The promotional campaign will offer five affordable tour packages for a combination of stays in Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dambulla, Sigiriya and the South Coast.

Sri Lanka tourism will prioritize India as it would give the country the best benefits, Amaratunga said.

India is Sri Lanka’s largest tourism market, and accounted for 18.2 percent or 424,887 arrivals in 2018, up 10.5 percent from a year earlier.

"If they (Indians) keep travelling to Sri Lanka, that is enough. We don’t have to depend on anyone else," said the minister.

Other plans that are underway to attract Indian tourists include starting the ferry service from Rameswaram to Sri Lanka.

"The Indian Prime Minister’s visit proved that there are no more threats to visit Sri Lanka anymore," the tourism minister said. (Colombo/Jun18/2019)