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Sunday, 2 January 2011

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European weather spoils seasonal tourism

Many hotels across the country have been doing well during the festive season, President of the Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka, Anura Lokuhetty said.

Despite quite a satisfactory hotel occupancy during the period still many hotels were left with vacant rooms which could be attributed to the bad weather in Europe which had a slight impact on our arrivals, he said. Air travel in Europe came to a standstill due to the snow and freezing weather which had compelled travellers to spend Christmas in airports and hotels. “The tourism industry is anticipating a bright new year as many hotels have received a large number of reservations.The “Visit Sri Lanka, campaign will have a major impact on tourism”, Lokuhetty said.

The hotel to be set up by the Shangri La Group is warmly welcomed by the tourism industry and the entry of an international brand is bound to have a major impact on tourism in the country, he said. “The International chains setting up businesses will boost confidence among travellers and encourage more hotel chains to set up operations in the country”, Lokuhetti said.

Shangri La, the Hong Kong based hotel chain finalised the agreement with the government on Monday to build a seven star hotel in Colombo at a cost of around US$ 500 million. The hotel will be built on a ten-acre land in the present Defence Ministry compound. The country needs another 15,000 rooms before 2016 to achieve the 2.5 million tourist arrivals. Currently there are around 14,000 hotel rooms which is inadequate to meet the demand.

Sri Lanka tourism expects around 700,000 tourists this year. Tourist arrivals last year was around 625,000.The Committee Member, City Hotels Association and former Vice President of the Sri Lanka Tourists Hotels Association, Amal Goonetileke said that tourist arrivals during the festive season had been quite satisfactory and most of the hotels had a satisfactory occupancy rate.She said the hotel occupancy in the country was around 75-80 percent, a marked increase compared to the previous years, which were affected by the unsettled conditions in the country.

“The City hotels recorded an occupancy of around 70 percent during the season which is the best time for holiday-makers”, Goonetileke said.The tourism industry anticipated a boom during the Christmas and New Year season but it was not all that satisfying due to the low turn up.Many city hotels expected a 100 percent occupancy rate this season.Goonetileke said revenue from tourism has increased due to the high rates compared to previous years.Earning from a tourist has increased from US$ 50 to US$ 80 per day.

“ Sri Lanka tourism is quite optimistic about the New Year which has been declared as the ‘Visit Sri Lanka’ year which will comprise a series of events to be held every month”, she said.The tourism industry plans to unfold the year with 12 themes to promote the diverse products of tourism in the country.

 

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