Dutch tourists eager to visit Sri Lanka | Sunday Observer

Dutch tourists eager to visit Sri Lanka

Tourists take a leisurely stroll at the Peradeniya gardens. Pic by Chandani Jayatilleke
Tourists take a leisurely stroll at the Peradeniya gardens. Pic by Chandani Jayatilleke

Dutch tourists visiting Sri Lanka have begun to pick up, following the relaxation of the travel advisory by the Dutch government on May 30, a communiqué from the Sri Lanka Embassy in the Netherlands said.

In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks many countries, including the Netherlands issued travel advisories to their citizens advising them to visit Sri Lanka, ‘only if necessary’. This resulted in a sharp decline in tourist arrivals in the island. However, following strong lobbying efforts by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in the Netherlands, with the support of the Foreign Ministry in Colombo and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) following the improved security in the country, the Dutch authorities decided to relax the travel advisory on Sri Lanka following consultations with other EU Member States, an Embassy communiqué said. The Netherlands has in recent years emerged as a source of up-market travellers to Sri Lanka. As a result of promotional work by the Embassy of Sri Lanka along with SLTPB, more Dutch tourists visited Sri Lanka, recording a double digit increase since 2015. The number of Dutch tourist arrivals, which was a modest 24,196 in 2014 shot up to 32,742 in 2015, a 35% increase. This rose to 41,373 in the following year (2016). In 2017, the figure increased by an impressive 23% over the 2016 figure to 51,148. In 2018, Dutch tourist arrivals in Sri Lanka registered an all-time high record figure of 57,160. Although the Easter Sunday attacks had an immediate negative effect on Dutch nationals travelling to Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Sri Lanka is optimistic that this temporary setback would be quickly overcome and the Dutch, who have shown a strong and abiding interest in Sri Lanka, would visit the country during the forthcoming winter season. “The embassy has received a large number of telephone and e-mail inquiries from interested people,” the communiqué said.

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