Air fares have to come down to increase the number of tourists visiting Sri Lanka from the UK, says Sanjika Perera, Director – UK & Ireland, Sri Lanka Tourism. He added that there are constrains in reducing air- fares compared to neighbouring India.
“India has the advantage of a heavy traffic flow and flights to India could be competitively low”, he said.
Against this background, SriLankan airlines has been helpful in offering promotional offers to boost tourism, said Sanjika Perera
The number of tourist arrivals into Sri Lanka from Britain has increased by seventeen per cent compared to August last year, he said.
“There has been a set back at the beginning of the year but the trade is now gathering momentum”, Sanjika Perera said.
Perera said that a tourist promotion programme has been introduced in the UK under which journalists from the UK were invited to visit Sri Lanka.
He said the biggest influx of tourists to Sri Lanka is from the United Kingdom and during the past five years 80,000 to 90,000 tourists had arrived in Sri Lanka each year.
He said over five hundred thousand tourists are expected to visit Sri Lanka this year and the year 2011 has been earmarked as Tourism Year.
The Sri Lanka Tourist Board expects the industry in the east to boom in the near future. However, he said, facilities have to be improved with new hotels.
“There are only three hotels which go beyond three star rating. Therefore new hotels have to come up in the east”, Perera added.