Sri Lanka to lose only 10-pct arrivals to Easter blasts with rapid recovery

Sri Lanka is expecting a 10 percent fall in tourists to 2.1 million in 2019, sharply lower than the 30 percent loss initially estimated, as security forces shut down a terror network quickly, travel advisories were lifted and hotels cut rates, officials said.

“We expect about 2.1 million tourists in 2019,” Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority Chairman Johanne Jayaratne said in Colombo,

“By October we expect arrivals to reach last year’s level.”

Sri Lanka’s police and military shut down a terror network rapidly and Western governments and as wel as IIndia, the top generating markets, quickly removed travel advisories.

“Russia has still not lifted the travel advisory,” Amaratunga said. “I hope they will also relax it now as we have lifted the emergency law.”

Sri Lanka’s hotels also slashed prices helping make Sri Lanka more attractive and competitive with East Asia.

Amaratunga said hotels in Colombo, big, small and apartments were fully booked due to a convention involving a Bora religious dignitary which is drawing over 20,000 extra visitors.

Sri Lanka welcomed 2.33 million tourists in 2018, bringing revenues of 4.4 billion US dollars and officials estimated a loss of 30 percent in arrivals and 1.5 billion US dollars in revenues after Easter Sunday blasts.

Jayaratne is now forecasting revenues of at least 3.5 billion US dollars which is a 20 percent fall.

The revenue loss is bigger than the arrival loss partly due to discounts.

Sri Lanka’s tourism sector growth was held back by minimum prices in Colombo, set by a politically influential lobby, which compared unfavourably with East Asian capitals, where service levels were higher and there were more activities for tourists.