Tourism industry hopeful of winter revival | Sunday Observer

Tourism industry hopeful of winter revival

The Paradise, Dambulla
The Paradise, Dambulla

The tourism sector is hopeful of a successful winter season following months of rebuilding after the Easter attacks took a toll on the hospitality industry.

Industry sources said bookings are improving and favourable. Some airlines are operating charter flights, while neighbour India has increased air travel capacity to the island over the past couple of months.

Over the first 10 months of the year, Sri Lanka recorded close to 1.5 million in tourist arrivals, a 20% drop compared with the corresponding period of the previous year. The largest inflows were from India, China, Britain and Germany, which dominate Sri Lanka’s inbound market.

Lonely Planet had named Sri Lanka as the best country to visit this year. Last week a US-based travel magazine, USA Today ranked Sri Lanka as the top destination, among 20 best countries for winter travel, raising Sri Lanka’s tourism revival hope again.

The list, which includes Galapagos Islands, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Hanoi, Vietnam, Saint Lucia, Ko Samui in Thailand and Lima in Peru, targets people seeking to escape the cold weather.

The USA Today said, “Jetsetters looking for something off the beaten tourist path should consider Sri Lanka.

An overlooked gem, this exotic island in the Indian Ocean seduces everyone who steps foot with its stunning unspoiled wilderness, colourful history, and flavourful cuisine.

Due to the proximity and a lack of crowds, it’s possible to pack a lot into a trip to Sri Lanka. Kick things off by climbing the steep staircase to the top of Sigiriya. Other highlights include the Golden Temple of Dambulla and biking through the tea plantations.”

Meanwhile, some tourist hotels have taken initiatives to encourage nature lovers and sustainable tourism concept this season. One of the hotels run by Browns Company in Dambulla encourages visitors to take guided birding trails during their stay in Sri Lanka.