The Sri Lankan tourism industry has tremendous potential to grow further with the dawn of peace. The opening up of the North and the East has brought positive hopes to the Sri Lankan tourism as two-thirds of the coastline, which was formerly under the control of terrorists, has been liberated making it accessible to tourists.
`It is essential for Sri Lanka to promote tourism with professionally designed awareness programs to penetrate the market. During the past three decades, the travel advisories of several western countries gave a negative picture of the country and since peace has been established, it is important to spread awareness among the travellers to the effect that the country is now free of terror and safe to travel,` a Senior Travel Consultant, Rob Murrer told Daily News Business.
He said Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with a very rich culture and a historical background. There are many places of interest for travellers to explore. Another plus factor is that the travellers have the opportunity to enjoy the hot and cold climates with the minimum of travel and waste of time. This country is a paradise where travellers would love to spend their holidays, but the tourist industry needs strong marketing programs to promote tourism. Participating in international exhibitions, distribution of professionally designed brochures, approaching multinational companies, leading travel agencies and chambers, holding road shows and e-commerce is essential to promote Sri Lankan tourism, he said.
He said that there should be a target market to approach. There was a tremendous market from Germany, the United Kingdom, the Middle East and Japan.
As a start, Sri Lanka could focus on these markets and gradually the country would be able to capture the other markets. A lot of tourists visit the country to enjoy nature and the tranquil beaches, as they need to relax because of their busy lifestyles. With the opening of the North and the East to tourism, the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau has to play a vital role to promote tourism industry by introducing activities such as surfing, wildlife safaris, eco-tourism, snorkelling and adventure, Murrer said.
Another Tourism Consultant Ans Peeters said there are various sectors that could be easily promoted through and Ayurvedic medicine is one of them as it has a great demand from the tourists. Sri Lanka could also enter the market by becoming a paradise for shoppers, as there is high demand for Sri Lankan apparel all over the world.