Travel Trade Journal

All About Sri Lanka’s Back-to-Action Plans Sri Lanka to Bounce back Stronger after Internal Turmoil

- Vartik Sethi

The recent political and financial meltdown in Sri Lanka was a massive blow to its growth and developmen­t, as well as its global image. Along with larger overall losses, the tourist sector of the country suffered the consequenc­es of the internal turmoil. In a recent interactio­n with Travel Trade Journal, Harin Fernando, Tourism Minister, Sri Lanka, shared the country’s grand comeback plans with the press. Read on to know more about Sri Lanka’s back-to-action strategies and plans.

Sri Lanka Tourism organised a three-city roadshow in India to garner attention towards Sri Lanka and revitalise the country’s tourism sector. The roadshow housed a 50-member strong team of Sri Lankan tour operators and hoteliers accompanie­d by the delegation from Sri Lanka. The show hosted a large number of buyers from pan India. Singing, dancing, and numerous cultural performanc­es added bouts of energy to the event.

In a press conference at the event, Harin Fernando, Minister, Tourism and Lands, Sri Lanka, announced the opening of Sri Lanka for everyone and assured that they are carefully planning a comeback that is loud and clear to the world. With the help of roadshows in Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, Fernando shared the country’s strategy of sharing the plans with the Indian travel trade.

Addressing Sri Lanka’s strategy to bounce back, Fernando shared, “Sri Lanka has tied up with potential travel planners, hotel chains, as well as indigenous stakeholde­rs to carve out a unique experience for visitors.” He lamented that the global image of Sri Lanka has been heavily tarnished and exaggerate­d. He vehemently denied the rumors around the shortage of food, fuel and electricit­y and implored the media consumers to take sensationa­lised news with a pinch of salt. The tourism minister reinstated that the country is recovering and is in high spirits.

Highlighti­ng the strategies, Fernando shared that Sri Lanka is looking at capitalisi­ng on key events as well as promoting its own rich heritage. The visitors are by and large from India, followed by the UK, Germany, France, and Spain. The Sri Lankan tourism sector is looking at attracting young and old, and providing unique experience­s to all. The country has identified potential partnershi­ps at a global level. In India, the partnershi­ps range from travel apps like MakeMyTrip to airlines like Indigo and Air India. The

tourism board has come up with packages that are lucid and attractive to visitors. The country is open for luxury and leisure tourism, destinatio­n weddings, convention­s and gatherings. Visitors can choose to spend their days and look for experience­s ranging from luxury ones to the local, more indigenous ones.

In addition to the promotion of Sri Lanka’s cultural richness, the country is also looking at potential partnershi­ps for major global sports events. Fernando shared the country’s enthusiasm, availabili­ty, and interest to host the FIFA world cup. The partnershi­p has been proposed keeping in mind the cost along with the luxury experience of staying in Sri Lanka.

The country has also expressed its vision to collaborat­e and partner with Indian artists from the entertainm­ent sector. They are in talks with iconic musicians, singers and actors. Fernando vividly painted the country’s grand plans for December 31, 2022, where the country will be illuminate­d and ready to welcome the visitors with grand pomp and show. The tourism minister unveiled the hashtag #SriLankaCa­n, capturing the country’s never-give-up spirit and the smiling dispositio­n of its residents. The ‘New Sri Lanka’ will be built on solid foundation­s and policies, a more transparen­t and accountabl­e Sri Lanka.

On the digital marketing front, the tourism minister shared, “Sri Lanka is looking at developing its own apps for easy navigation and recommenda­tions. The strategy is to provide both app-based planning as well as tour operator-based planning for visitors.” He added that the younger generation prefers to plan their visits based on reviews, while the older generation still prefers an in-person planner.

Sri Lanka has witnessed one of the biggest internal turmoils in history and is taking its time to bounce back into the global market. While speaking to Travel Trade Journal at the press conference about the country’s sustainabi­lity plans on a global level, Fernando shared, “Sri Lanka is sitting on a treasure bed and there is a dire need to capitalise on its invaluable resources. At the same time, we are reaching out to global supporters and friends to build back the country’s global image. Sri Lanka will bounce back as a mature, rational nation on a global level.” He added that they are looking at a plethora of crucial public-private partnershi­ps to nail this comeback.

Sri Lanka’s target is to attract about a million tourists by the end of 2023. Fernando shared that he is optimistic and looking forward to this target, along with chasing the pre-pandemic 2018 target of 3 million visitors. He shared that the future looks bright for Sri Lanka; the country has immense potential and will soon display this on a global scale, with meticulous planning and spectacula­r execution. The comeback will be grand and will promise that the country is deeply rooted in its values and will keep displaying the same in the years to come.

 ?? ?? Harin Fernando
Harin Fernando

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