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Post by NIRMALSG on Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:22 pm

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A group of 30 travel Agents from China paid a courtesy visit to Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) recently, to enhance tourist arrivals from China, and also to give their support to promote the destination as a number one travel destination in the world, offering everything that an interested traveller may require.


They held a cordial discussion with senior SLTPB officials and expressed positive feedback on Sri Lanka, impressed by its culture, beauty and its world renowned hospitality. The tour was organized by Universal Inlanka Travel Service (Pvt ) Ltd.


The meeting was held under the guidance of Madubhani Perera, Director Marketing, SLTPB and Dushan Wickramasuriya, Director PR, SLTPB. Several topics were discussed as to increase charter flights between Sri Lanka and China, and more promotional activities.


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Post by NIRMALSG on Mon Jul 01, 2019 6:20 pm

Seams its slowly recovering the arrivals Smile

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The government is likely to reach a final decision today on measures to bring down the costly airfare structure at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), at a high level meeting between Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and aviation sector stakeholders.


Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) Chairman Johanne Jayaratne last week revealed that the government is considering cutting down ground handling charges by 30-40 percent while reducing aviation fuel prices and embarkation levy in order to bring down airfares at BIA in a bid to support the tourism sector in the aftermath of Easter Sunday attacks.
He noted that the embarkation levy may be reduced from US $60 to US $40 per tourist. However, Jayaratne said that these proposed measures would be in force for a limited time period of six months.


“All of this will encourage more airlines to come to Sri Lanka,” Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said.


Top officials of SLTDA, Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, SriLankan Airlines, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Finance Ministry are invited to attend today’s meeting at the Temple Trees chaired by the Prime Minister.


Advisor to the National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement & Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs Ministry, R. Paskaralingam at an earlier meeting chaired by Finance Ministry Secretary Dr. R H S Samaratunga had indicated the government was determined to cut the ground handling charges as it significantly contributed to high airfares structure at BIA.



Speaking of reducing aviation fuel prices, the CPC officials informed that they already had reduced the prices and CPC was running on thin margins in supplying fuel to airlines.
However, speaking to Mirror Business CAA Director General H.M.C Nimalsiri said BIA has the highest jet fuel rates in the region.


“In relation to ground handling and cost of aviation fuel, we have received complaints from airlines noting that those charges are very high,” he said.He stressed that both ground handling charges and aviation fuel rates need to be brought down on par with the regional rates in order to remain competitive with other tourist destinations in the region. Nimalsiri opined that the country needs to look at increasing revenue from tourists by offering various products and services instead of focusing on collecting multiple charges and taxes at the point of entry.
He pointed out that high entry cost could misinterpret Sri Lanka as a high-cost destination for tourists. The airfares from Europe to Sri Lanka are the most expensive, compared with the other key tourist destination in the South and Southeast Asian regions, according to a recent study by AG SEP Research.


In the aftermath of Easter Sunday attacks, 78 weekly inbound flights were cancelled, which led to over 300 flight cancellations per month amid booking cancellations and slowdown in forward bookings.


Nimalsiri noted that theses airlines will resume their usual flights from mid of September targeting the winter season.

The average daily tourist arrivals figures to the country improved to around 2 300 - 2 500 in June compared to 1 200 average daily tourist arrivals in May.
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Post by NIRMALSG on Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:02 am

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Sri Lanka secured the top spot in the Lonely Planet’s best travel destinations list of countries to visit in 2019 despite the recent Easter Sunday attacks.

The travel publication, maintained Sri Lanka as number one, while warning readers to check the latest travel advisories of their governments before travelling to the island nation.

“Sri Lanka is decidedly having its moment in the equatorial sun and change is coming swiftly. Already notable to intrepid travellers for its mix of religions and cultures, its timeless temples, its rich and accessible wildlife, its growing surf scene and its people who defy all odds by their welcome and friendliness after decades of civil conflict, this is a country revived”. ,” Lonely Planet said.

“There’s now more than ever for families, adrenaline junkies, eco-tourists, wellness seekers and foodies of all budgets. Even the north and east, including areas previously off limits, difficult to reach or lacking in services, deliver new discoveries.” it also added.

Meanwhile, Germany, Zimbabwe, Panama, Kyrgyzstan, Jordan, Indonesia, Belarus, São Tomé and Príncipe and Belize have been listed as other top global destinations.
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Post by කිත්සිරි ද සිල්වා on Wed Jul 03, 2019 8:16 am

Looks promising news.
(Decision to Buy Hotel shares is not a bad idea anymore). Very Happy

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Post by NIRMALSG on Fri Jul 05, 2019 6:48 pm

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ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka is planning to cut the embarkation tax on tourists by 10 US dollars to boost tourism in the wake of Easter Sunday attacks, an official said.

Vice Chairman of Sri Lanka Airport and Aviation Services Ltd Priyantha Kariyapperuma said the embarkation tax will lower ticket prices and make Sri Lanka more affordable.

The budget for 2019 hiked the embarkation tax to 60 US dollars from April 01, about 10,500 rupees per passenger at the current exchange rate.

Malaysia charges 40 ringgit (about 9.67 US dollar)or 1,750 rupees per passenger. For ASEAN region it is half.

In an ex-Colombo ticket to Malaysia, about half the ticket cost is taxes.

There has also been a proposal to cut handling fees. Handing fees go to SriLankan Airlines, which is suffering losses. Handling fees are a key source of profits for the airline. (Colombo/July05/2019)
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Post by NIRMALSG on Tue Jul 09, 2019 6:07 pm

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* Cabinet approval to reduce Ground Handling Charges, Aviation Fuel, Embarkation levy for six months
* CPC to be told to sell fuel at the same price as Chennai airport


Cabinet has given approval for a slew of charges including Ground Handling, Aviation Fuel and Embarkation levy to be reduced for six months to assist the tourism industry to recover after the Easter Sunday attacks.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe presented the Cabinet paper on Sunday, according to a short statement on the Cabinet papers released by the Government Information Department yesterday. In the Cabinet paper he had proposed to instruct the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to sell fuel at the same price as the Chennai airport.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) together with the Prime Minister’s office, Tourism Minister John Amaratunga and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka prepared the Cabinet paper for the reduction of Ground Handling Charges, Aviation Fuel, and the Embarkation levy for six months.

In 2018, approximately 2.3 million tourists arrived and spent a total of 25 million hotel nights in the country while generating an income of $ 4.4 billion. More than 98% of tourists to Sri Lanka are currently brought by international airlines. By April 2018, 29 airlines were serving Sri Lanka offering 300 flights per week, the statement by SLTDA said.

However, following the 21 April Easter Sunday attacks, the connectivity was reduced to 239 flights per week resulting in a total of 41 flights cancellations which amounts to a loss of seat supply by 8,000 per week from six countries – China, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Oman, and Thailand.

A total of 11 foreign airlines reduced their flight frequencies to BIA while one airline (Rossiya – Russian Airline) withdrew completely (two flights/week) resulting in a complete loss of direct air connectivity with Russia. Most of the airlines which reduced frequencies are low-cost carriers.

Accordingly, the direct and indirect negative impact of the Easter Sunday attacks per day is approximately Rs. 12 million and Rs. 51 million respectively.

Given the need to resurrect the tourism industry, which was badly affected by the Easter Sunday attacks, the SLTDA took prompt action to work with the Prime Minister’s office as well as the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs and the Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka to draft a Cabinet paper and initiate the implementation of the following reductions in Aviation-related discounts in order to encourage airlines to reduce the cost of airline tickets and combine these specially priced tickets with the discounts being offered by hotels and restaurants in Sri Lanka.

“The positive and immediate action taken by the Government, especially by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, Minister John Amaratunga and the Civil Aviation Director General H.M.C Nimalsiri, in response to the urgent request made by the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, comes at a critical time and is most appreciated,” said SLTDA Chairman Johanne Jayaratne.

“The Authority will be working closely with the Board of Airline Representatives (BAR), and the Sri Lanka Association of Airline Representatives (SLAAR) to ensure that these lowered rates are reflected in the airline ticket pricing going forward,” he added.
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Post by NIRMALSG on Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:00 am

Government taking maximum effort to recover the tourism in the country and Sri Lanka already experiencing the benefits of those positive moves.

Hope to see usual tourist arrival archive in near future. Smile Smile


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The free visa on arrival programme, which was to be implemented in April but was suspended following the Easter attacks, will be implemented soon, with new background checks for security reasons.

PM Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed Minister John Amaratunga to prepare a cabinet paper to revive the already approved free visa on arrival program. Amaratunga told a press conference today that he has already instructed his Secretary to prepare the Cabinet paper.

Since the original free visa on arrival programme was prone to misuse, the Ministry is in the process of developing a system where they can track the whereabouts of passengers as soon as they book a ticket to Sri Lanka. If that person has a bad record, they will inform the immigration and emigration department (check this institution) not to allow the particular person.

Tourists from 41 countries will benefit from this programme including those from USA, UK, Australia, EU and Japan.

India and China, Sri Lanka’s two biggest tourism source markets, are not included in the original list of 41, but may be added later based on the success of the programme.

It is widely known that a large number of Indian and Chinese nationals are working in Sri Lanka illegally by overstaying their visas.

The Government is targeting to bring down 2.5 million tourists this year through this programme, in spite of the Easter attacks impact on tourism.
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Post by කිත්සිරි ද සිල්වා on Wed Jul 10, 2019 7:42 am

The government is doing the right things and hope they will get enough traction soon.

(Even I am trying to resuscitate one of the joint projects back to life, which had to put to the backburner for obvious reasons).

I have seen some good and encouraging Vlogs on Youtube recently and I think we should catch them all in one bunch and take on an "all-expenses-paid" holiday around the country but allowing them to report freely.

No conditions attached.

They have healthy subscribers and viewers, and they can be turned into real traffic someday soon.

And the other thing is to eliminate touts on streets who are harassing tourists.

Get both uniformed and plain cloth tourist police on important locations to see an end to the menace.

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Post by NIRMALSG on Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:02 pm

Good news are coming from all over and we could expect the outcome of those soon.   Very Happy

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Travel + Leisure, a US-based travel magazine which has 4.8 million readers worldwide, has ranked Sri Lanka Number 1 in its list of ‘The 15 Best Islands in the World’ released yesterday (10).

Sri Lanka received the highest score of 92.12 out of 100, with Palawan in the Philippines and Bali in Indonesia being ranked 2nd and 3rd in the list respectively.

Travel + Leisure noted that Sri Lanka is recovering from the impact of the Easter attacks and that the island had not lost any of its beauty.

“After the terrorist attacks in April, Sri Lanka’s booming tourism industry has taken a hit, but the island country is on the mend — and as glorious as ever to visit. It’s worth clearing your calendar to spend as much time as possible on this 25,000-square-mile jewel, located off the coast of India.”

The magazine made special note of the wildlife attractions of Sri Lanka.

“Animal enthusiasts can explore its national parks and spot wildlife including leopards, elephants, and peacocks, while its sprawling tea plantations offer views out over the island’s lush, green hills. You could happily spend weeks on these inland adventures, but you won’t want to miss the coast, where divers, snorkelers, and waders alike revel in the cerulean waters that whales, dolphins, and sea turtles are lucky enough to call home.”
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Post by NIRMALSG on Sun Jul 14, 2019 8:57 am

Any tourist will definitly attract when there are positive initiatives Smile

Online booking facility would be more important on the list I believe.

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The Government has taken a number of new initiatives to develop tourist hotspots in the country to facilitate and encourage more tourists to visit Sri Lanka.

Tourism Development and Wildlife Minister John Amaratunga this week outlined that the new facilities and developments at popular destinations across the country included Arugam Bay, Yala, Ella and Nuwara Eliya.

According to the Minister, a few extra entrances will be opened at Yala National Park this month to reduce the traffic generated at the main entrances. In addition, he said they would open a new ticketing counter as the online booking facility was not available at present.

“We are opening two new circuit bungalows and other essential facilities like lavatories at the Yala National Park. The Tourism Development and Wildlife Ministry Secretary and the Wildlife Department Direct General are now working on it,” Amaratunga added.

The Minister also said that Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) would award liquor licenses to hotels, restaurants and home stay units operating in Arugam Bay, a popular surfing hotspot for many tourists.

Furthermore, he said that they had developed a new concept called ‘agro tourism’ in Nuwara Eliya. “A person who is travelling Nuwara Eliya will now have the opportunity of visiting this park, where they grow various types of vegetables, observing how they are being treated and learn about the technical side,” he added.

Pointing out that there had been a quite a number of complaints regarding high ticket prices of heritage sites, the Minister a discussion would be held shortly with the Cultural Affairs Ministry with regard to a reasonable rate and to look into the possibility of a round trip ticket to enable tourists to visit multiple heritage sites.

He also said that they were working on the high priced railway tickets to Ella being sold to tourists. “There are so many complaints on railway tickets being sold to tourists at a higher price than the normal ticket rate. We are talking to the authorities to ensure that such incidents won’t happen again,” the Minister stressed.

He pointed out that the Government had heavily focused on connectivity measures to ensure tourists could explore the destination smoothly.

“We have worked on both air and road connectivity over the past several years. We recently commenced the development work of the Palaly Airport and similarly the highways are now under construction. A number of luxury buses have also been ordered, particularly for tourists,” the Minister said.
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