While Sri Lanka may record a recovery in tourist arrivals, continued uncertainty and volatility on the macroeconomic stability of the country and resultant social unrest, further exacerbated by the ongoing fuel and power crisis, may pose challenges for the country in attracting foreign arrivals in the immediate-term.
According to John Keells Holdings Chairman Krishan Balendra, ensuring continued political and social stability coupled with clear and transparent communication with the global community is pivotal in attracting foreign arrivals to the country.
Given ongoing discussions to strengthen Sri Lanka’s fiscal position, such impacts are envisaged to diminish in the next few months as this is expected to stabilise the macroeconomy and address social unrest, he said
With this the impact to arrivals is envisaged to be largely managed, particularly in time for the upcoming peak season of the year, he said.
Looking beyond immediate challenges, John Keells Holdings remains confident that the prospects for tourism in the medium to long term remain extremely positive, given the diversity of the offering and the potential for regional tourism, together with availability of its full complement of hotels to cater to this anticipated upsurge in demand, he said.
The potential for tourism still remains largely untapped given the country attracted only 2.3 million tourists prior to the Easter Sunday attacks in 2019, whereas regional tourism has grown many-fold during the last decade, he said.
Improving connectivity into the country at competitive rates, concerted marketing campaign in a post Covid-19 environment, addressing capacity constraints both in terms of airport capacity constraints and tourism infrastructure is expected to be a significant catalyst to attract tourism into Sri Lanka, he said.
It is encouraging to note that the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority has conveyed that they are in the final stages in the procurement process of the integrated global promotion campaign, which is envisaged to be launched for the first time since the end of the conflict in 2009, he said.
By Mario Andree