Tourism industry confident of achieving targets | Sunday Observer
Despite setbacks

Tourism industry confident of achieving targets

1 March, 2020

Despite the adverse impact of the recent outbreak of the coronavirus and prior to it the Easter Sunday terror attacks, the tourism industry is upbeat about surpassing the two million arrivals target by the end of the year, said a top official of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) on the sidelines of the launch of the Sancharaka Udawa travel and tourism exhibition to be held at the BMICH from May 15-16.

“We are confident that the number of arrivals this year would touch the 2.3 million mark recorded in 2018 although the year looks gloomy for the industry, which is a key foreign exchange earner for the country,” SLTPB Director, Events, D.P. Daluwatte said.

The tourism industry recorded a 19 per cent slump in the number of arrivals last year due to the crippling blow from the Easter Sunday attacks. The outbreak of the deadly virus late last year has been a double whammy to the lucrative industry which was recovering from the April 21 carnage.

“We hope to see a quick revival in the global travel and tourism industry with the spread of the virus brought under control. We expect the impact of the killer disease to be a short lived set back,” Daluwatte said.

However, in and outbound travel sector officials were downhearted over the developments that have been unfolding each day across countries which have been plagued by the disease which is having a strong grip on global travel and tourism.

Hopes of containing the spread of the virus have been shattered as the first case in the Sub- Saharan Africa was announced on Friday resulting in markets taking a sharp dip over fears of a global recession.

Forty four new deaths bringing the toll to 2,788 were reported late last week in China, the epicentre of the deadly disease which has killed over 2,800 people and infected over 83,000 people the world over.

“The drop in in and outbound travel by a major proportion is a serious concern for us and the industry which managed to raise its head after the devastating impact of the terrorist attacks. There has been around a 20 percent drop in outbound travel since the start of the year,” Aitken Spence Travels Managing Director Nalin Jayasundera said.

Travel to Asia and in particular to the Far East has been curtailed worldwide with certain countries issuing travel bans and restrictions on travel to China and Korea.

However, the only silver lining is that in and out bound travel from Europe has not been affected that badly according to travel sector personnel.

“We have bookings and travels to and fro from Europe as usual as this is the time people travel out of Europe during due to it being winter. However, there is generally less travel in and out of China after the Chinese new year,” Jayasundera said.