Indian tourists by-pass Sri Lanka

BANGKOK, 30 April 2019: Indian tourists are flocking to the Maldives, Hong Kong and Thailand as they give Sri Lanka a wide berth in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings.

Tour operators in India confirmed that most of the up-scale beach holiday bookings have transferred to the Maldives during May and June.

Many Indian tourists postponed trips after travel advisories cautioned travellers not to visit Sri Lanka. Before the bomb attacks, nearly 600 tourists flew to Sri Lanka every week out of Kolkata, the chairman of the Travel Agents of India Association (eastern India chapter) told the Time of India. That traffic has now dried up entirely.

Times of India reported that popular alternatives included Hong Kong and Thailand while some tourists even ventured to China.

Thailand has seen visitor arrivals from India soar in the first quarter of this year by around 28%. 

India issued a travel advisory warning citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Sri Lanka following the lead of most European nations the US and Australia.

In the UK security experts warned at the weekend that ISIS terrorists are identifying destinations that are popular with international leisure tourists as possible targets.

After being driven out of northeast Syria, intelligence chiefs claim ISIS militants are planning attacks on western tourists. The reports in the UK media at the weekend identified potential hot spots like India, the Maldives, Kenya and Tanzania.