Sri Lanka Tourism launched the planned promotional package in a bid to attract Indian visitors to the country and increase the number of arrivals.
The campaign launched on June 10, has five packages offering a combination of stays in five locations in Sri Lanka including, Colombo, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Dambulla, Sigiriya and the South Coast. The packages consist of air fare, hotel accommodation on bed and breakfast basis, transport as mentioned on the itinerary and service fee of the tour operator. The five itineraries will have three starting price points each depending on the room category ranging from standard, superior to deluxe. The offers are valid for stays from June 10 to September 30, 2019, and will be available for booking through travel agents in India.
With over 400,000 arrivals from India in 2018, it is Sri Lanka’s number one source market. Chairman of SLTPB, Kishu Gomes estimated that, on average, Indian tourists spent USD 876 per trip last year.
Sri Lanka is a popular destination for business and MICE events for the Indian business community. However, tourism authorities are able unable to assess the exact figures for the business and tourist category as many visitors choose the tourist visa due to the price differences in the two visas.
This is the first promotional campaign initiated to attract more visitors to the country since the attacks that took place on April 21. The campaign is a joint effort between Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operations (SLAITO), The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) and SriLankan Airlines.
Impact of the Indian Market
The Manager of Sri Lankan Holidays, Buddhika Hewawasam said that SriLankan Airlines has 32 flights to 11 destinations in India per day and each flight has five seats reserved for this campaign.
Sri Lanka Tourism expects to attract 120 to 150 new travellers per day by kicking-off this programme. Created and implemented to focus on the volume of visitors the promotion targets solo travellers, couples and families.
Gomes added that the number of arrivals per day has increased to around 2,000 in the first two weeks of June, recording a 53.8 per cent growth from May. In Q1 2019, tourist arrivals from India were up 5.6 per cent year on year to 107,000. Since the terror attack on Easter Sunday, arrivals from India declined sharply, down 21.5 per cent in April 2019. India issued a travel advisory against “all non-essential travel”, which was recently revised down to be careful and vigilant.