Published on : Friday, March 13, 2020
Almost a year after a series of terrorist attacks targeting churches and luxury hotels in the capital city Colombo affecting Sri Lanka tourism severely, the country’s tourism industry is once again getting back on its feet to re-establish itself as a preferred destination.
Recent months have brought encouraging signs for Sri Lanka tourism stakeholders, not just in swift recovery of foreign visitor numbers, but also extraordinary opportunities gained after the unfortunate bomb attacks last April.
The Easter Sunday bombs happened at a time when Sri Lanka’s budding tourism sector was “just getting up to cruising speed”, said Miguel Cunat, chief experience officer at The Fabulous Getaway, a Colombo-based travel company. He rued the loss of positive momentum in tourism branding when the country suffered a 70 percent plunge in tourist arrivals in the weeks after the attacks.
Interestingly, the bomb attacks also spurred a spike in search traffic for Sri Lanka.
“Global travelers generally have low awareness of Sri Lanka, but we received serious publicity from the bombing when ‘Where is Sri Lanka’ became one of the top trending search terms for Google’s annual Year in Search roundup,” said Vickum Nawagamuwage, founder and CEO of Santani Resort and Spa, a luxury wellness resort in Kandy.
Sri Lanka’s unexpected tourism slump also gave the country a chance to “clean up things and put the house in order,” said KK Collection Executive Director Mario Stubbs.
Since coming into power last November, new Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has identified tourism as a pivotal sector to revive Sri Lanka’s fragile economy, stressing the importance of developing new tourist attractions and creating an effective promotional method to put Sri Lanka back on the global travel map.
Rajapaksa’s presidency is bringing in hopes among private companies.