Sri Lanka tourist arrivals seen recovering further in July
Saturday July 13, 2019 13:23
ECONOMYNEXT- Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals which were hit by the Easter Sunday attack had recovered to 3,200 a day on average in the first week of July, from 2,500 a week earlier, officials said.
"In the first week of July, arrivals averaged 3,200 a day," Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes told EconomyNext.
This is a 54 percent drop from the 7,027 daily arrivals in July 2018.
However, it was a recovery from the average 2,500 a day arrivals in the last week of June.
"We are seeing a recovery in arrivals, which is encouraging," Gomes said.
Following the terror attack, tourist arrivals in May 2019 had fallen 70 percent from a year earlier, and recovered to a 57 percent drop in June.
Sri Lanka’s tourism industry experiences an off-peak season from April to October.
However, since around 2015, arrivals in July had been higher than the off-peak season, due to a pick up from Chinese holidaymakers, which was one of the worst affected markets due to the terror attack.
Sri Lanka has been focusing more on the Indian market, which is the largest source of tourists for Sri Lanka, with budget tour packages.
The industry is expecting more Indian visitors, after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Sri Lanka in June, and Air India restarting its third daily flight to Colombo from the second week of July in a show of solidarity for its neighbour.
Forward bookings on hotels are rising, with discounted prices.
Jetwing one of Sri Lanka’s three largest tourism and hospitality groups, is seeing around 60 percent of its rooms booked for July and August, when including local tourists, chairman Hiran Cooray said.
However, in smaller hotels, guest houses and homestays, there is little business, Association of Small and Medium Enterprises in Tourism President Justin Karandawela said.
Most countries lifted their travel advisories on Sri Lanka in May and June, faster than many had anticipated.
In June, popular travel industry publication Lonely Planet reaffirmed Sri Lanka as the world’s greatest destination in 2019 while Travel and Lesiure, another publication, named Sri Lanka as the world’s best island in July. (Colombo/Jul13/2019)