Daily News Online

Tuesday, 7 December 2010






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Promotional campaigns to boost tourism

Focus on developing resorts:

Sri Lanka Tourism is confident that tourist arrivals have crossed the 500,000 mark by November. The exact number could not be given at this moment as the total arrivals upto November is not yet available. However, with the high arrival trend that continues for this season the industry is positive that it will exceed this figure.

The tourism industry boom that the country is currently experiencing is due to one single achievement. The industry recorded a 43 percent of increase in tourist arrivals in October with 497,000 tourists. This is a result of the peaceful environment prevailing in the country, Sri Lanka Tourism Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa told Daily News Business.

The growth in arrivals could be further improved with aggressive promotional campaigns. We can grow this number significantly with promotional campaigns. However, Sri Lanka Tourism focusing on readying the product first, he said.

“We will be ready with hotel accommodation, entertainment activities and other tourism related facilities and efforts to enhance the existing facilities are currently under way. The country will be prepared to make tourists happy customers,” Dr Godahewa said.

The quality of standard at all levels will be improved with the building of new hotels, upgrading current facilities and infrastructure development. Sri Lanka will be positioned as a country with better quality service delivery.

“We should make use of the natural diversity to improve the value chain. Therefore, next year we are trying to showcase our ability to deliver quality service for customer satisfaction”, Dr Godahewa said.

There is more work for the country to do such as getting the beaches clean, enhance sports and recreation activities and introduce more shopping festivals.

Taking a cue from countries in the region such as Malaysia where millions of tourists visit, Sri Lanka too can attract the expected 2.5 million by 2016.

However, we need to proceed gradually and build up,” he said.

The country’s main focus is to develop resorts and increasing the level of facilities. It needs to promote one-stop-shop concept to facilitate speedy institutional action for tourism related investment. This process is currently active and investors are encouraged by this move.

There are more charter flights coming to Sri Lanka from countries such as China and Scandinavia. The ambassadors are also performing a major role in promoting the country. The key area that needs attention is the inland transport facilities. The commencement of air taxi service is a step in the right direction. This will reduce the travel time and high spenders could be attracted to this service.

“The nine provinces should have one tourism city each highlighting its specialty such as gems, fishing and farming. This would attract different types of tourists. It will also ensure benefits of the tourism industry to trickle down to the whole society, Dr Godahewa said.

SriLankan Air Taxis fly to GLF

Literary enthusiasts planning to be part of next January’s Galle Literary Festival 2011, can fly to Galle. Transport to and from the Galle Literary Festival takes on an excitingly new dimension with SriLankan Air Taxis ferrying writers and visitors to back for Galle’s most talked about event.

Now in its fifth successful year, the Galle Literary Festival to be held from January 26 to 30 has taken top billing both in Sri Lanka’s and the international literary and cultural calendar, drawing writers and visitors from all parts of the world. This year also SriLankan Airlines as the festival carrier will fly in participants from all parts of the airline’s network covering 49 destinations 31 countries. The majority of participants from Europe will fly out from London while many others will fly from Delhi. For a very reasonable fare one can on board a SriLankan Air Taxi from Colombo to Galle for the day. FlySmiles members can redeem miles on this sector. They also get a complimentary Day-Pass from SriLankan Air Taxis to the Galle Literary Festival on the day of their flight.

Taking off from Colombo, the Air taxi will fly at an altitude of 1500 to 3000 feet above sea level along Sri Lanka’s western coastline. Along the way one can enjoy Colombo’s fast changing skyline from Moratuwa, Panadura to the sacred city Kalutara with its famed Bo Tree and Dagoba, where river meets sea. This time’s festival will attract historians, poets, award winning writers, and biographers from England, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Nigeria, the Ukraine, Malaysia, Australia, Canada, the USA, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

Hambantota chamber delegation visits WTM

Twenty members along with Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce (HDCC) Director General Azmi Thassim visited the World Travel Market (WTM) tourism event in London recently.

The delegation that visited WTM

This was the fifth successive year that an HDCC visited WTM to maintain awareness of the ‘Deep South’ campaign which was introduced to the Travel World in 2006. The visit presented an opportunity to meet Sri Lankan companies and also to promote the Southern Region of Sri Lanka as a wonderful tourist destination for their clients.

The exposure to the other country pavilions and their products was a real benefit in enhancing participant knowledge of current trends and the expectations of today’s international travel and transferring that knowledge to the tourism stakeholders in the district is a significant way to improve our own product and its ability to compete with other destinations.

The intention of HDCC is to use Tourism as a vehicle for the local community to promote income generating activities, which in turn will improve the well-being of the local people whilst at the same time establishing Hambantota as a popular tourist destination.

HDCC is doing its utmost to keep the identity of ‘Deep South’ prominent in the travel world, by taking every opportunity to highlight the wealth of beauty, culture, history and splendour of the district at international promotional events such as WTM.


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