Sri Lanka Tourism plans to launch promotional activities to attract short haul tourists in a bid to boost tourist arrivals. Following the Easter attacks there has been a sharp drop in arrival numbers. It is hoped targeting countries closest to the island will help boost visitors arrivals.
Due to the close relationship between the two countries, Thailand has been selected as the first country to implement this promotional campaign.
Sri Lanka Tourism plans to actively participate at the THAIFEX 2019 and World of Food – Asia as a part of promoting travel to Sri Lanka. The event will be held at IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre in Bangkok. The regulatory body hopes to use this platform to organise a travel consumer event and a Sri Lanka Food Festival to engage with more tourists.
The delegation led by Minister of Tourism Development, John Amaratunga is scheduled to have meetings with Thai travel trade, airlines and key stakeholders in the industry.
The event will take place from May 27 to June 1 and is expected to draw around 65,000 visitors this year.
In order to facilitate participation for the event, Sri Lanka Tourism is offering to bear the costs of 20 Sri Lanka destination management companies. This will be on a first come, first served basis.
Tourist arrivals for April were down 7.5 percent year on year. Predictions for May are as high as a 60 percent drop in arrivals. With travel advisories issued by many countries, obtaining insurance for trips to Sri Lanka is difficult and many tour operators have stopped selling Sri Lanka.
In 2018, only 9,176 tourists from Thailand visited Sri Lanka, less than 0.4 percent of total tourist arrivals. This year, arrivals from Thailand have slightly declined. In Q1 2019, 2,920 tourists arrived from Thailand, down 4.4 percent on the same period last year.