COLOMBO, 30 April 2019: Tour operators and hotels in Sri Lanka, estimate that the country will suffer a 50% decline in tourism in the aftermath of the Easter bombings that claimed the lives of 253 people including 40 tourists.
The Sweden Sri Lanka Business Council secretary-general, Leif Ohlson, released a statement at the weekend anticipating a dramatic drop in travel bookings in May and June.
But the business council warned the impact would be felt much further down the track during the European autumn and winter season.
The council claimed there was an absence of new bookings as government advisories cautioned travellers to reconsider plans to travel to Sri Lanka.
“Of course, tourists will return – but only after the security is perceived as significantly improved,” the secretary-general concluded.
Around 28,000 Swedish nationals visit Sri Lanka on holidays annually and tourism is now the third largest supplier of foreign exchange for Sri Lanka.
Several large hotel projects were in the pipeline, while more airlines were planning routes to Colombo before the terrorists attacked churches and hotels on Easter Sunday.
Emphasising that Sweden and Sri Lanka have enjoyed strong ties, the council concluded: “Now more than ever we need to be there and support.”
It reiterated that activities planned by Swedish companies and organisations would carry on in Sri Lanka and none of the events would be cancelled.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror reported Monday afternoon that the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora’s (CITES) World Wildlife Conference (CoP18) has now been postponed to October this year.
The Geneva-based United Nation affiliated CITES Secretariat made the call to postpone the event based on security concerns and travel advisories in the aftermath of Easter Sunday bombings.
The CITES conference was originally scheduled to be held from 23 May to 3 June at the BMICH in Colombo with an estimated attendance of 3,000 foreign delegates and media.