C0LOMBO, 7 June 2019: Sri Lanka’s travel arrivals dived by a perilous 70% in May following the Easter Sunday bombings in April.
Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Board chairman, Kishu Gomes, told Economynext that security had been tightened following the bombings and promotions and event would encourage a speedy tourism recovery.
Tourism almost collapsed in the wake of the bombings that claimed 250 lives including Sri Lankan citizens and visiting foreigners.
Arrivals fell to 37,000 trips in May down 70% on the same month last year.
There was some good news. The board chairman confirmed a logistics conference for 100 executives would go ahead in August as planned.
April through to June and again September and October are traditionally low season months for the country.
However, Gomes said he was confident that by this November tourism would make a comeback.
At the moment the tourism board focuses on “softening the travel advisories. Most of them still warn travellers to avoid all non-essential travel to Sri Lanka. However, advisories are softening with wording that suggests travellers should be alert and cautious.
But as the attacks involving foreigners targeted hotel restaurants rather tourist attractions in the capital, hotels continue to be vigilant checking bags of those who enter the properties Some hotels still restrict the use of restaurants to just registered hotel guests as a precaution.
The key source market countries for Sri Lanka have all issued travel advisories including China that softened the message last week.
Now the target is to convince authorities in Germany, India, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
Travel booking analysis suggests that despite the travel advisories holiday bookings for Sri Lanka are recovering in the United Kingdom and the US.