ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka is looking to attract longer-stay tourists during the winter season as the island nation sees some stability as the commodity queues ease and high energy prices from the worst commodity bubble fired by reserve currency in decades keep energy prices up.
The US Federal Reserve under Jerome Powell and the ECB under Christine Large printed money to ‘create jobs’ claiming that inflation was non-monetary and due to ‘supply chain shocks’ triggering the worst inflation in 40 years.
Europe in particular is expecting high heating gas prices after Russia cut off supplies, though commodity prices have eased somewhat as the Fed started tightening monetary policy.
The commodity bubble, which has also pushed up food and metals prices, has also been blamed on Russia’s war on Ukraine by Western politicians and amplified by the media.
“In the European market, in countries like Germany, they are trying to escape the winter and are also having issues with fuel and gas, so heating is going to be an issue for them,” Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priyantha Fernando said.
“So there could be a different market segment that will be looking at long-haul destinations for longer vacations as opposed to the 10-14 days. But who will spend their entire winter in a country like Sri Lanka?”
Fernando told EconomyNext that SLTDA is targeting this segment and expects to see some results.
The authority plans to attend the World Travel & Tourism Meet in London in November, before which it plans to carry out a number of other promotional activities.
Winter is generally a season in which Sri Lanka sees the highest number of tourist arrivals. In the last few years Russian arrivals have played a role.
Sri Lanka faced severe fuel shortages after the central bank printed money and created forex shortages, but fuel supplies are now easing with rationing and some improvement in monetary stability after private credit slowed.
However, there is heavy competition for the winder segment as countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, have already cashed on the concept.
“We need to provide the right product and think out of the box in this segment. It’s highly competitive,” said Fernando.
“On the positive side, we are getting good inquiries and, come November and December, we should look at more productive numbers like even 150,000 a month,” he said.
By the end of 2022, SLTDA is hopeful of welcoming one million tourists and generating a revenue of 1.8 billion dollars.
“We revised the tourism target from 800,000 to one million as we see opportunities despite the bottle neck,” said Fernando. (Colombo/Sep18/2022)