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India main source to promote Sri Lankan tourism

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A group of Indian media personnel including Journalists, bloggers and  influences in Sri Lanka.
A group of Indian media personnel including Journalists, bloggers and influences in Sri Lanka.

The tourism industry contributes significantly to Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves and is one of the most significant money spinners for the country. At the same time, it is also one of the most substantial sources of employment and provides a variety of employment opportunities for people.

In 2019, the industry generated USD 4 billion. It continued to grow steadily preceding the pandemic years and is expected to reach new heights in the coming years. Tourism accounts for over 10% of the country’s GDP and provides jobs for over 1 million people.

Soon after the country was reopened to normal business operations following the pandemic years, tourism revenue indicated an increasing trend.

Accordingly, tourism revenue generated in January 2023 amounted to USD 161.80 million, while it increased to USD 169.90 million in February.

In 2021, 194,495 tourists arrived in Sri Lanka. In 2022, it increased to 719,978. The increase is 270.2%. By January 2023, the country had witnessed a sharp increase in tourist arrivals and the trend is continuing.

Neighboring India has played a crucial role in contributing to this upward trend. This is due to increasing numbers of Indian tourists exploring Sri Lanka’s diverse landscapes, cultures, and heritage sites.

Tourist arrivals in March from India jumped by 38% to about 19,000 compared to February, where around 13,700 Indian tourists visited the country. During the last three months India became the number one source destination for Sri Lanka overtaking Russia.

This indicates that Sri Lankan tourism promotion efforts have succeeded and gained mileage in India.

Experts attribute this growth to improving relations between India and Sri Lanka as well as the increasing availability of direct flights between the two countries.

Alliance Air connects Chennai with Jaffna

Alliance Air announced the launch of two direct flights between Chennai and Jaffna in December last year, further boosting connectivity between the two nations.

Similarly, Vistara, a joint venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines, started direct flights between Colombo and Mumbai in March of this year.

These direct flights have made it easier and easier for travelers to go between India and Sri Lanka. This has resulted in increased tourism. Additionally, better diplomatic relations have helped foster a better understanding between the two countries, leading to more collaboration in the tourism sector.

Besides, Sri Lanka’s government has been working to promote the country’s tourism industry through initiatives to promote the Ramayana Trail. In 2022, the government launched a “Visit Sri Lanka” campaign to attract more tourists to the country. The government has revised the target for the year from 1.55 million to 2 million tourist arrivals, led by India.

Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Priyantha Fernando said authorities had allowed tourists to bring up to 10,000 Indian rupees and spend them in Sri Lanka. In addition, the two countries have been exploring ways to promote digital transactions using UPI. This could further enhance confidence among Indian tourists.

Simultaneously, the Sri Lankan government has also proposed extending visa-on-arrival to Indian tourists. This is anticipated to boost Indian visitors to Sri Lanka and increase tourist spending in the country.

The increasing collaboration between the two countries is likely to enhance economic development in Sri Lanka. It is also expected to strengthen the bond between the two nations and bring more people together.

The two nations are expected to further boost tourism, benefiting both countries. The potential for increased economic growth and strengthened ties between the two countries is promising for both Sri Lanka and India.

The government is optimistic that tourism will continue to grow in the coming months. The government is investing in infrastructure such as airports, roads, and tourist attractions to make it easier for tourists to visit and stay longer. This will provide a much-needed boost to the tourism industry, which has been severely affected by the pandemic.

Acceptance of Indian Rupee

According to him, an Indian tourist spends around 1,850 dollars in Sri Lanka while some tourists spend much more on duty-free sales. The decision to allow Indian rupees has helped tourists, he said.

“Definitely, that will help tourism as well as Indians get good value for their money,” Fernando stated.

A group of Indian media personnel, including journalists, bloggers, and influencers, recently visited Sri Lanka to enhance bilateral relations.

They also showed their support as trustworthy neighbors. This was to promote Sri Lanka and keep its status as one of the top tourist destinations in the world.

The media personnel wanted to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and create a positive image of Sri Lanka for the world. They also wanted to highlight the many tourist attractions Sri Lanka has to offer and create a better understanding of the country among Indian citizens.

Indian FAM Tours

The media group represented renowned media houses such as “The Times of India”, “The Hindu”, and White Hat Media (Pvt) Ltd. National Geographic Traveler, YouTube channel: Tamil Navigation, Instagram: Malayali Yathtrakal, Dark Angel, Surbhi, travel and lifestyle blogger; Explore with Eco Cars;, etc. They visited tourist destinations in the country to gain first-hand experience and spread the word about Sri Lanka’s enchanting destinations.

As part of their tour, they visited Ridi Viharaya, Minneriya, Anuradhapura, Mihintale, Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla Cave Temple, Polonnaruwa, Spice Gardens, Peradeniya Botanical Garden, Temple of Tooth Relic, Cultural Dance Performances, Giragama Tea Factory, Embekke Devalaya, Kandy, and Negombo beaches and several other places.

Another group of journalists embarked on an adventure trail covering Kandy, Horton Plains, Nuwara Eliya, Ella, Bentota and other places.

With exposure from this Indian media group, Sri Lanka has created a global buzz and will attract many tourists from around the world. This was mainly sponsored by the Indian media.

Wednesday, June 7, 2023 – 01:00

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