British tourist to be key revenue source for Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka expects to generate revenue in excess of 81,000 Sterling
Pounds by the end of this year from the UK tourism market.
Director UK and Ireland, Sanjaka Perera said the British tourist
remains the highest revenue generator to the local tourism industry due
to the strength of the Sterling Pound despite the recession. “Their
average stay is around eight to 10 days and each spends around 900
Pounds for their stay in Sri Lanka,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador in London Nihal
Jayasinghe with Director UK and Ireland, Sanjaka Perera and
CEO, SriLankan Airlines Manoj Gunawardane at the opening
ceremony at the WTM yesterday. Picture by Shirajiv Sirimane
The skyrocketing oil prices which led to an increase in airfare last
June and the present global recession is having a negative impact for
the local market. “This has resulted in a drop of nine percent in
arrivals.” However the other European county arrivals saw a 15 percent
dip and this drop is not much to complain. The recent best arrivals from
UK were in 2004 where Sri Lanka saw 104,000.
“Last year this stood at 94,000 and we hope to pass the 90, 000 UK
arrival mark to Sri Lanka this year,” he said. Perera who is looking
after the UK market for the past six months said they are looking at
introducing new products targeting the younger generation.
He said that the Sri Lanka as a host for British weddings is very
popular while cricket and colonialism too is a good marketing tool.
The “younger generation is not too keen on cricket and they do not
know about British influence in Sri Lanka. They are keen on soccer and
Spain, Portugal are some of their main destinations.”
In addition British families with children travelling to Sri Lanka is
minimal and is looking to improve this area. After the June 7 bomb
explosions in Britain where series of bombs exploded in the tube and
buses on June 7 violence in not paying a key part as before. “The public
has come to understand that it’s found everywhere and tourists in Sri
Lanka were never specifically targeted as in Bali, Egypt and Spain,” he
said. “The North-East conflict has only has a 20 percent impact to
arrivals,” he said.
The global travel and tourism industry is an incredible force to be
reckoned with - regardless of what the financial tsunami decides to
throw at it, Chairman of World Travel Market Fiona Jeffery said.
“We simply cannot ignore the crumbling collapses that have scarred
international financial markets in recent weeks,” she added speaking at
the opening ceremony.
“We have to face the fact that in some parts of the world in 2009 -
certainly here in Western Europe - less package holidays will be sold
and those that are, will undoubtedly increase in price.”