Tourism Authority optimistic of resuming flights to Frankfurt | Sunday Observer

Tourism Authority optimistic of resuming flights to Frankfurt

‘Miss Intercontinental’ Karen Gallman with the contestants.
‘Miss Intercontinental’ Karen Gallman with the contestants.

Resumption of flights to Frankfurt and launching flights to new destinations with potential for tourism will help the tourism industry to reach its 2.5 million visitor target next year, said a top official of the Sri Lanka Tourism at a media briefing to introduce the contestants for Miss Intercontinental Sri Lanka - 2019 in Colombo last week.

“Negotiations on resuming flights to Frankfurt is continuing and a positive outcome from discussions is expected soon,” he said adding, that Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority along with all stakeholders of the industry are looking at launching flights to more destinations that are commercially viable to the industry.

According to Wildlife and Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga the number of arrivals daily has increased from what it was after the Easter attacks to a satisfactory level which will help the industry reach its target of 1.9 to 2 million arrivals this year.

“We have seen arrivals since October increasing with the beginning of the winter season which is a peak time for tourism in Sri Lanka. We expect around 200,000 during the last three months which will help the industry get to its goal of around 1.9 to 2 million visitors this year,’ the minister said.

The number of tourist arrivals dropped for the sixth straight month in September by 27.2 percent compared to the corresponding month last year. According to data, the number of arrivals in September was 108,575 compared to 149,087 in September 2018.

However, the number of visitors to the country since the Easter carnage has been on the rise.

Travel and tour operator delegations from Germany, Belgium, and China were in the country to promote the destination and the feedback from all countries which are some of the key travel markets for Sri Lanka were positive and the delegations were confident Sri Lanka could bounce back as a preferred destination in the region.

However, operators said that adequate marketing and promotional activities, events and infrastructure to position the location has to be undertaken and carried out aggressively to market the country among high end spenders.

“There is no gain in promoting and attracting low end spenders whose stay lasts only for around three to four days. Sri Lanka must look at the high end travel market where visitors stay for around three weeks to one month which will help bring in revenue to the country,” a delegation official from Belgium said during a media briefing to conclude their tour in the country.

Tourist arrivals in the first nine months this year declined by 20.5 percent to 1,376, 312 compared to 1,731,922 recorded during the corresponding period last year. The total number of arrivals last year was 2,333,796.

“We have lined up many events for the remainder of the year and they will be held despite the elections. None of the major promotional events to be held in Sri Lanka will be put on hold because of the elections. Even on election day there will be some events to promote the destination,” SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes said.

This year’s Miss Intercontinental pageant comprised 16 contestants. The winner will take part in the world contest to be held on December 22 in Egypt.

The 2018 contest comprised participants from 85 countries.

“Beauty and glamour are embraced by the world and admired with passion. Sri Lanka has taken part in the contest for 12 years with one first runner-up. We hope see a contestant from Sri Lanka crowned soon,” Gomes said.

Reigning ‘Miss Intercontinental’ Karen Gallman of The Philippines also spoke.

The 47th edition of the ‘Miss Intercontinental’ pageant was held in Manila for the first time in January this year.blurb: Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority along with all stakeholders of the industry are looking at launching flights to more destinations that are commercially viable to the industry

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