Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, launches Sri Lanka’s new destination brand “So Sri Lanka”
Encapsulating the essence of Sri Lanka, its authenticity, diversity and all of its richness is an expression that sums up the travels and tales of a Sri Lankan experience.
“So Sri Lanka” goes beyond being a place descriptor and embodies the vibrant qualities that inspire us about our travels and tales from the island nation.
At the launch of the new strategy and slogan the Minister said that the So Sri Lanka brand is not only exhilarating – it’s the beginning of a new era.
“We envisage that tourism will flourish to be the most significant sector contributing to our economy – that’s the goal we aspire to reach in the next few years,” he said.
“ It is also important mentioning that this is the first time in history that Sri Lanka tourism has worked towards building a strategic digital-first perspective, ‘So Sri Lanka’ is an amplifier brand that supports and engages typical Millennial travel exploration, this is important in view of the statistic that in 2020, 50% of travel revenue will be spent by millennials, and Asia is a millennial favorite – so we are committed to making Sri Lanka future-savvy and a vibrantly relevant destination going forward.”
The Minister unveiled the new slogan along with Chief Guest of Honour Lord Nasby.
In the last 10 years, Sri Lanka has seen a steady growth in arrivals and investments. Based on qualitative research findings on inbound tourists for the last three years, the most endearing feature of Sri Lanka as a destination brand is its authenticity. This authenticity is an attribute that is alive in the country’s heritage, cuisine, landscape, architecture, culture and mostly in its people. Recently, Lonely Planet ranked Sri Lanka as top destination to travel in 2019 based on its diverse and authentic offerings.
Travel alerts not reflecting on passenger numbers: SriLankan Airlines
National Carrier, SriLankan Airlines states that despite the recent travel alerts issued by certain countries on Sri Lanka, the Airline has observed healthy cabin factors throughout its key markets. Accordingly, the Airline has not experienced any last-minute cancellations or drop in travel movements from its major markets such as London, Melbourne, Tokyo, China, India and the Middle East.
The Airlines’ projected cabin factors for the month of November will be 90% for London, 78% for Melbourne and Tokyo, 81% for China, 85% for India and 82% for the Middle East. The Airline projects December numbers to be even higher given the peak season (for all other regions except China) as such, two additional frequencies have been introduced to its daily operations between London-Colombo from this month.
Joint Statement from the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators on Current Situation in the Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka
The change in the political leadership in Sri Lanka has resulted in parliament being prorogued until next week resulting in isolated demonstrations in the capital Colombo. The free movement of people – tourists and locals alike continues with no disruption to day to day life. Hotels are busy and looking forward to the high season. There is no risk to travellers who we continue to welcome to Sri Lanka. Lonely Planet recently recognised Sri Lanka as the top destination to visit for 2019 and we expect a very successful year and busy winter season.
Sri Lanka ranked top country for travel in 2019 by Lonely Planet
Almost 10 years after the end of its civil war, Sri Lanka has been named the best country in the world to visit in 2019 by Lonely Planet. Better transport links, new hotels and a growing number of activities were cited as the reason the south-Asian island was chosen for the top spot in the guidebook publisher ’s annual Best in Travel awards.
“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,” says Lonely Planet author Ethan Gelber in the Best in Travel 2019 book, published today.
“Unmissable experiences” include wildlife, such as the 300-strong elephant gathering at Minneriya national park, thousand-year old Buddhist monuments, and hiking and train travel through the Hill Country’s tea plantations.
Tourist visits to Sri Lanka have increased dramatically since the end of the 26-year conflict, from 447,890 in 2009 to an all time high of 2.1 million last year, a figure the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority hopes to double by 2020. Renovations made to the rail system have opened up Jaffna and much of north for the first time since 1990 – an area that was previously considered too dangerous for tourists. The scenic rail routes in Sri Lanka are now widely thought to be some of the best in the world. Motorways have also been built as far south as Matara, and the number of domestic flight routes has increased in recent years, too: for instance, from the capital Colombo, on the west coast, to Batticaloa, on the opposite side of the island, in 45 minutes.
There has also been a huge investment in new visitor accommodation: from homestays to high-end eco retreats – such as the Wild Coast Lodge’s cocoon-like buildings in Yala national park. Major international hotel chains, including Shangri-La, Mövenpick, Sheraton, and Grand Hyatt, are all opening new properties.
Sri Lanka’s surf scene has been steadily growing, as more of the coast has become accessible, and tour operators are now offering jungle hiking, alongside yoga breaks with traditional Ayurveda treatments. There are also plenty of free attractions, including colourful puja rituals on the clifftop of Koneswaram Kovil in Trincomalee in the north east; Colombo’s main market of Pettah; and the fortified walls surrounding the colonial old town of Galle in the south.
While the ratio of tourists to residents is relatively low compared with countries where overtourism is now a major issue, some conservationists have expressed concern over the speed of development in certain areas.
“Tourism is a major income generator for the country. Unfortunately, much of our tourism is focused on numbers of tourists [rather than] the investment they make in the country,” says Asha de Vos, marine biologist and founder of Sri Lanka-based conservation organisation Oceanswell.
“To accommodate the numbers, we are building more hotels and infrastructure and taking over natural spaces. The pressure on our wildlife and cultural sites is immense and destructive. The over-development is ongoing and unending – and because of the lack of coordination and planning, many hotels lie empty. So while tourism has its positives, if done haphazardly and without planning you destroy the very resources that draw people in.”
De Vos says development is affecting coastal areas and national parks in particular, where capacity is being exceeded in peak season and has led to an increase in pollution from rubbish not being disposed of properly.
She believes tourism in Sri Lanka can be beneficial but says the government needs to regulate, educate, have a longer-term vision and protect areas from over-development. “Sustainability should be at the core of any tourism product that is created.”
Human rights charities have also criticised large-scale tourism developments for their negative impact on local people.
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel lists the top 10 countries, cities and regions alongside other travel experiences for the year ahead, ranked by the staff of Lonely Planet, including editors and contributors from around the world. Germany is rated second in the countries list, with a nod to the centenary of Bauhaus next year, and Zimbabwe – where tourists are starting to return after the resignation of Robert Mugabe – comes in third. In fifth position is Kyrgyzstan, which has 2,700km of newly-marked trekking routes. Copenhagen, Shenzhen in China and Nova Sad in Serbia were named as the best cities to travel to in 2019, while top trends include dark-skies tourism (with an increase in people stargazing and solar eclipse trips) and electric road trips, thanks to a rise in the number of car-rental companies offering alternatives to petrol and diesel vehicles.
SriLankan Airlines Packages
Sri Lanka voted finalist for Culture and Heritage Holiday Destination at UK travel awards
Sri Lanka was voted a finalist by the UK travel trade in the Culture and Heritage Holiday Destination category of the Travel Bulletin Star Awards.
This achievement is a great endorsement by the UK travel trade and an excellent opportunity for Sri Lanka to showcase its uniqueness as a compact island enriched with natural resources and exclusive cultural heritage. Travel Bulletin is one of the UK’s leading weekly travel brands (magazine) for delivering news, training, incentives and competitions. The awards night was held on 4 September.
The Travel Bulletin Star Awards is the UK travel trade’s most prestigious awards program rewarding every sector in the tourism industry. They serve to recognise, reward and celebrate excellence by acknowledging suppliers that have flourished over the last 12 months and have provided the best products and services possible to UK travel agents.
The voting, open exclusively to UK high street, multiple, independent, online and home-based travel agents, took place over a six-week period from 28 April-2 June. All agents were invited to champion those companies they consider to be the very best by voting for them in a range of industry categories, so no nominations are required by suppliers. A completely fair and open voting system was conducted and the winners were announced and presented with their exclusive crystal trophies on 4 September at 5* Langham Hotel, which is a prestigious hotel in London.
These endorsements will have a positive impact for the tourism industry which will bring prestige and honour to the country as an amazing travel destination and also help to increase tourist arrivals by bringing in good income for the benefit of the country.
Dengue Epidemic in Sri Lanka is successfully brought under control
The Dengue Epidemic that has become a concern in Sri Lanka for the past few months is successfully brought under control by the measures taken by the relevant government authorities and collective effort of the general public alike, Sri Lanka Tourism confirms.Reported cases have dropped by 35-40% since mid July according to the sources of Ministry of Health. Regular campaigns were implemented to educate, clean up areas and other preventive measures have been taking place to control the spreading of the disease under guidance and surveillance of the Ministry of Health of Sri Lanka.
Health Authorities are on alert and have issued precautions for the prevention of the disease. Therefore, there is no need to be alarmed or distressed over the situation. Most cases have been reported from the Western Province, which has higher population density of the country. The tourist hot spots and hotels in the suburban areas are not affected. Actions have been taken by the Ministry of Health,Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine under the guidance of the Minister, Hon. Dr. Rajitha Senarathne to improve the preventive and curative health care facilities to combat the current situation and strengthen preventative services.
Necessary steps have been taken to strengthen the Dengue Entomological and Disease surveillance systems in collaboration with the Epidemiology Unit and National Dengue Control Unit. Actions have been taken to provide all necessary drugs needed for Dengue patient management. Training of staff on clinical management and monitoring of Dengue patients, creating constant public awareness are some of the safety actions taken from the Ministry of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine regarding the matter.
Though the Western Province area was affected with the disease, it is under control now with the efforts of creating Dengue Eradication and awareness programmes, and Colombo is now being cleared of garbage and the cleaning of drainage systems are also taking place. In Western Province, surveillances systems and disposal system have been implemented. A well-organized counter productive measures are underway to create awareness amongst community living in the suburbs of Western Province of the causes of spread of dengue epidemic. (These are interior parts of the Province which are outside tourist circuits) This has helped in educating and engaging the households and community (who are mostly affected) in the low income segment which includes keeping surroundings clean at all times – the prime cause of the spread of the disease.
The effects of recent floods which contributed to the spread of epidemic are being effectively attended to led by the state authorities (with the required high level intervention) in a sustainable manner to prevent recurrence of pollution through effective garbage disposal.
The number of Dengue cases have decreased sharply by 40% since mid-July due to planned and systematic efforts by the respective state authorities in the recent weeks.
Impact of dengue in other parts of the country (other than Western Province) have been minimal and continue to be under complete control and surveillance.
Tourists are seen to be freely moving around the country including in the city of Colombo.
Sri Lanka Tourism Authority is of the opinion that aggressive actions taken by the Health Ministry and the Local authorities in affected areas to arrest the situation have yielded results. Sri Lanka Tourism will continue to update the progress and is confident that there is no cause for alarm.
Sri Lanka Tourism urges travelers to resort to correct sources of information to find out the latest updates on the disease such as Ministry of Health website and all Sri Lanka Missions abroad.
Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC)
Sri Lanka, one of the top two emerging hotel and resorts market in Asia, is to host the first Asia Hotel & Tourism Investment Conference (AHTIC) at the Hilton Colombo in Sri Lanka on 27 – 29 November 2016.
AHTIC will bring together international investors, business leaders, government ministers and officials for two days of networking. The conference programme will focus on hotel development and infrastructure plans in these key markets and will show case real projects looking for investment in Sri Lanka and other emerging destinations.
Celebrate Nuwara Eliya, 1st – 30th April, 2016.
THE NEW YORK POST REVEALS THE TOP HOTELS TO VISIT IN 2016
The New York Post which is one of the top rated magazines published in New York has revealed the world’s top 19 hotels to visit in 2016 on their latest release published on December 21, 2015. NYP has rated the new hotels to be opened in the New Year from the big big brands to boutique beauties, and from urban escapes in familiar destinations to far- flung lodges in exotic locales.
Fox News (USA) recommend Destination Sri Lanka
The Popular American News Channel ‘Fox News’ has recommended Sri Lanka to its viewers as the alternative for Cuba, Brazil and even Rome. The leading US News Channel has placed Sri Lanka top of its list as a Tropical Island-hidden under the radar of US holiday seekers. The official online site of the famous news channel has described Sri Lanka as an emerging destination which offer sweeping landscapes of lush green countryside, towering waterfalls and golden sand beaches. Some of the American Tour Companies also given quite encouraging statements about Sri Lanka.
The Kingsbury wins World Luxury Hotel Award
The world Luxury Hotel Awards aim is to provide luxury hotels with recognition for their world-class facilities, service excellence provided to guests. Awards are presented to luxury hotels in the categories of country, Continent and global basis. The awards judging criteria are based upon facilities and service excellence provide by hotels
World Luxury Hotel Awards honored “The Kingsbury” with the prestigious tittle of ‘Best Luxury Business Hotel’ in the Indian Ocean, Continent.
Tourism Receipts touch $2.1 billion as at end September 2015
Sri Lanka’s Tourism recorded the highest growth of 35.9% in September whilst tourism receipts reached 2.1 billion dollars as at end September 2015 which is the upturn we have seen with strong promotions done by a private-public partnership. The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau chairman Dr Athukorala opinioned that the key issue to address is the un-control sector leisure industry.