Sri Lanka plans roadshows in Indian metro cities to promote tourism

“We wanted to go for a roadshow in India, it won’t be a flamboyant roadshow, it will be a pleading roadshow to get Indian tourists to start coming back to Sri Lanka,” Harin Fernando, the country’s newly appointed minister for tourism, was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror.

Jun 06, 2022
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Sri Lanka tourism (Photo: Wikipedia)

With its tourism industry facing the brunt of the ongoing economic crisis, the Sri Lanka government has unveiled a new promotional strategy, including plans to hold roadshows in Indian metro cities—Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore—to promote its tourism. In May, following the political and social unrest, tourist arrivals fell by almost fifty percent in comparison to a month earlier.

India remains the top source market for the country last month, followed by the United Kingdom and Russia.

Once bringing in $4 billion annually, Sri Lanka’s tourism sector has been struggling since the pandemic in 2020. Its hope of revival this year too shattered after the country plunged into its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948.

To support the industry hit hard by the fuel and power shortage, the government has unveiled a strategy and is hoping to earn $800 million in foreign exchange reserves.

“We wanted to go for a roadshow in India, it won’t be a flamboyant roadshow, it will be a pleading roadshow to get Indian tourists to start coming back to Sri Lanka,” Harin Fernando, the country’s newly appointed minister for tourism, was quoted as saying by Daily Mirror.

The roadshows will be conducted this month in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. These are the immediate measures besides other medium and long-term measures to promote the industry under the new revival plan.

“We have come up with a short-term plan leading up to March 2023...We estimate that we might be able to end this year with 800, 000-850,000 tourists, and anything above and beyond that will be a bonus. We will be striving to achieve better results,” Priyanth Fernando, the chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), said last week.

The industry has been facing multiple crises, Harin said, while admitting that reviving it will be a challenging task. “There are so many changes we have to undertake…it’s a herculean task unless you all extend your support.”

In the first five months of 2022, around 380,000 arrivals were recorded. However, the number dipped in May to almost half, with just around 30,000 tourists visiting the country. Furthermore, the recent aircraft controversy with Russia, which led the Aeroflot airline to cancel its operation in the country, will further hurt the industry this month.

(SAM)

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