Top cricketers, Bollywood stars to visit Sri Lanka to boost tourism

ECONOMYNEXT- Top cricketers and Bollywood stars will be promoting Sri Lanka tourism to the Indian market after the Easter Sunday terror attack, visiting the island in August to take part in a Colombo Fashion Week (CFW) festival, an official said.

"This is not going to be a normal CFW event,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomez told EconomyNext.

“It’s an amplified one with so many elements added on – top cricketers and few other iconic Bollywood actors will be coming for the event," he said.

Gomez said celebrities from other countries are also being approached for participation as well.

The state tourism agency is partnering for the festival, titled ‘Colombo Celebrates’ in an effort to regain confidence and lure back the tourist’s after the Easter Sunday attacks, Gomez said.

India is the main target, as it is Sri Lanka’s largest tourism generation market, he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a visit to Sri Lanka in June after winning the general elections, giving an early boost to confidence on the island’s tourism potential.

Coinciding with the visit, India’s Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, made a symbolic gesture of resuming a third daily flight to Sri Lanka from 15 July.

Nearly 20 percent of arrivals to Sri Lanka in 2018 were from India.

The week-long event will be based in Colombo and Galle and will include activities ranging from fashion to culinary arts, dance and sports; covering all forms of entertainment.

"This event is put together by the people behind CFW to create a new hype in Colombo," Gomez said.

In addition, the SLTPB will be organizing an international baseball tournament in Homagama and an international surfing competition in Arugam Bay.

Several countries advised their citizens against non-essential travel to Sri Lanka after the terror attacks on three luxury hotels and three churches on April 21 that killed more than 250 people.

In May, tourist arrivals fell 70 percent from a year earlier, as the travel advisories took effect.

Since the last week of May, most of the travel advisories have been relaxed. India was one of the first to relax its stance, on May 28. (Colombo/Jul02/2019 – recast)