Sri Lanka sees slow revival of tourism after Easter attack

 Thursday, December 12, 2019 


In 2018, Sri Lanka was one of the top destinations in the world for foreign tourists, but the Easter bombings in April 2019 dealt a huge blow to the country’s tourism sector. The officials now point to a tourism revival.



The multiple Easter Day bombings in mid-April targeting three churches and three hotels in the capital Colombo and other cities killed more than 250 people. The “Islamic State” (IS) militant group claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks.



The Sri Lanka bombings were a huge setback for Sri Lankan authorities, as they had managed to rein in some of the violence in the country over the last 10 years. The decades of Tamil insurgency in the country’s north had killed thousands of people until the government, under former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) separatist movement in a 2009 military operation.


The peace in Sri Lanka had boosted tourism in the country, and the island nation became one of the top destinations for foreign tourists in the years after the LTTE defeat.



Sri Lanka, which was declared the top tourist destination in the world in 2018, saw a massive slump in tourists in the wake of the terrorist bombings. Authorities say there was a 70% drop in tourists after the attacks, but the tourism industry seems to be witnessing a moderate revival.



According to Madhubani Perera, the marketing director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB), this Christmas season has seen a small drop in tourists compared to the time last year. Perera told DW that they have recorded an 80% tourist arrival [in the country], so there has been a 20% decline.



Although the tourism sector was badly affected, Russian tourists kept coming to the country, the official added.


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