Tourism not as rosy as the Govt. says
Major tour operators in Sri Lanka have revealed that tourist arrivals to the country had dropped by as much as 60 per cent, contrary to the claims made by the government that the tourist industry was picking up after the December 26 tsunami.

In a survey conducted by the Association for Inbound Tour operators it is estimated that in the first four months of this year a 60 per cent drop has been registered when compared to the corresponding period last year.

The main tour operators recorded a figure of 141,883 arrivals in the first four months last year, while the figure recorded for this year was only 56,624. The survey shows a figure of 6,604 arrivals in January, 8,433 in February, 16,651 in March, 13,225 in April and 11,711 in May.

Among the tour operators who took part in the survey were Walker Tours, Aitken Spence, Jetwing Travels, Hemas Tours, United Holidays, Connaissance, Ceylon Tours, PanLanka and LSR.

The findings of the survey contradicted the figures released by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board. The Tourist Board figures indicated that 38,187 arrivals were recorded in January, 36,645 in February, 50,148 in March and 42,261 in April.

The Sunday Times learns that the government bases its classification of tourists on the WTO (World Tourism Organisation) classification that a stay for a minimum period of 24 hours and not more than one year, counts as a tourist arrival.

According to the Tourist Board the Western European markets had shown a 14.8% increase in the first four months while the South Asia and East Asia figures showed an increase of 68.6% and 40.5% respectively during the same period.

Meanwhile our Correspondent in Paris Paul Pmichaud adds:

Following the catastrophic situation in which its tourist industry found itself in the wake of the December 26 tsunami, Sri Lanka reports a recovery in tourist arrivals, indeed an increase by three percent over that of a year ago, although others beg to differ with what they consider as over-optimistic results, with the country's private sector hoteliers and tour operators indicating at the Sri Lanka Travel Mart held on June 3-5 that many of the arrivals were in fact aid workers uninterested in local tour products and that as could have been expected yields were down from those of a year ago with fully-fledged tourists evidently spending more on hotels and meals than NGO workers and other foreign individuals who have come to Sri Lanka not to engage in tourism but to assist the country in its economic recovery and especially not the Sri Lankan tourism infrastructure, which suffered greatly as a result of the tsunami.

Another Deputy Minister for tourism
The Tourism Ministry has two Deputy Ministers now that Ceylon Workers Congress Kandy district Parliamentarian Faizer Musthapha was sworn in before President Chandrika Kumaratunga on Friday.

Mr. Mustapha is the additional Deputy Tourism Minister while Arjuna Ranatunga continues as the Deputy Minister of Industry, Investment Promotion and Tourism. Mr. Ranatunga told The Sunday Times that he would share responsibilities with Mr. Mustapha in regard to the Tourism Ministry

Top  Back to News  

Copyright © 2001 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.