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Drop in tourist arrivals

25 December 2018 03:23 am - 13     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A German investor, domiciled in Sri Lanka, said the Western Foreign Missions, led by German Embassy and the British High Commission, took Sri Lanka’s constitutional crisis as a reason to issue travel advisories against Sri Lanka, and it was the reason for a drop in tourist arrivals during the season.

Dietmar Doering, who is also a social scientist living in the country said that December, with its Christmas season, is the prime high season for Sri Lanka’s tourism. “During this period, the entire Sri Lankan hospitality sector looks forward to generating the most significant revenues of the year.

Last year, the entire hospitality sector enjoyed the arrival of large numbers of visitors from all over the world. Most of the hotels and guesthouses had a near 100% occupancy, which was vital, since the six months off-season marks tough challenges to all tourism-related businesses where overheads sometimes cannot be met, resulting in hotel and guesthouses closing down during the months of May to November" he said. 

He said the month of December in 2018 would go down in Sri Lanka’s history as one of the worst drops of tourist arrivals. The foreign offices of these western governments issued the caution notice for Sri Lanka by publicizing these warnings on their websites which in return triggered all major tour operators to issue the publication of the Sri Lanka caution notice to all their travel agency outlets.

In fact, these tour operators for legal reasons are strictly obliged to follow their government’s warning notices and to avoid eventual legal claims from tourists who had not been informed prior to their journeys and who might have been victimized, however. As a hotelier, he quoted from two university students from Germany - Jennifer Schmidt and Alisa Karl - visited many parts of Sri Lanka during their December holidays. 

“Prior to their departure to Sri Lanka, some of their relatives and friends in Germany expressed concerns in view of the German Government’s warning about Sri Lanka. The warning notice includes to urgently avoid public gatherings in general and not to come close to venues where political assemblies happen.

The two young Germans learned by communicating with owners and managers of guesthouses and hotels they visited, that these businesses faced a severe drop in occupancy for over 50%.

The reason for the drop was explained to the two Germans relating to government problems in the last couple of months. However, the German tourists enjoyed a completely trouble free, very memorable holiday in Sri Lanka and stated that the German Embassy’s view of the situation in Sri Lanka is by far not the reality.

Unfortunately, Germans in Germany will find it difficult to judge the real situation in Sri Lanka and have to refer to the false information given by the German Foreign Office which is based on inputs given by the German mission in Sri Lanka”.

On a second perspective, the real cause of the stark drop of tourist arrivals in fact was not the constitutional problems which Sri Lanka faced during the last months, but moreover the misrepresentation from foreign missions in Sri Lanka to their respective western governments. Noticing the German Embassy’s travel advice, that it warns people not to generally not come near public gatherings, assuming the dangers of being hurt does not reflect at all the factual ground situations of the past few months. Even during the constitutional crisis, which at the end found a very democratic and peaceful solution, not a single foreigner had been attacked, hurt or otherwise antagonized - even if they had been near, or even among, the demonstrating different fractions.

The demonstrating parties engaged in largely peaceful demonstrations and none of the parties involved targeted foreigners. The German warning notice is irresponsibly inflated and had caused massive negative impacts to the Sri Lankan tourism industry in general. In fact, the United Kingdom travel warning further advises that “terror attacks in Sri Lanka cannot be ruled out” which indicates a groundbreaking lack of knowledge and judgement of the real situation in Sri Lanka. For the last 10 years no terror attack had been noticed and especially no foreigner had been found victimized through an attack of this nature,” he said.

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  Comments - 13

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  • Diplomat Tuesday, 25 December 2018 03:59 AM

    I work as a deputy of a Sri Lankan misssion. I can assure you numbers are actually more than one year, specially 90 days visas. People really don’t care - they love Sri Lanka. Also data from immigration ETA system also shows winter visas have rather increased this year. I’m talking about Europe. Not a single person has asked if it’s safe. People kept on saying well keep out of protest areas. But of course one can argue numbers could have been more given the lonely planet selection. Perhaps, but numbers have not dropped.

    rohan Tuesday, 25 December 2018 02:14 PM

    people may not have visited after applying for visa.

    malli Tuesday, 25 December 2018 02:17 PM

    Don't be silly. Would they ask Sri Lankan mission if it was safe to go to Sri Lanka?

    concern Tuesday, 25 December 2018 04:18 AM

    Perhaps our expats and locals will make up for the loss.

    Sach Tuesday, 25 December 2018 07:07 AM

    This whole post has some ulterior motive. Though tourist arrivals dropped at first it increased later on.

    DHA Tuesday, 25 December 2018 07:19 AM

    ....and can you believe head of state is behind all this turmoil.... sometimes I wonder is there a difference between Prapakaran and MS both contributed to the country's downfall one by bullet and other by the power of the pen !!!

    Rohan Tuesday, 25 December 2018 08:08 AM

    In other countries Presidents, PMs and ministers work hard to promote their country for inbound tourism but politicians here not only lacking ideas to promote but also creates havoc for the private sector hard work.

    Sofia Tuesday, 25 December 2018 08:42 AM

    The Embassies have to err on the cautious side - it was only an estimated warning. They have a duty by their country and citizens. No one knew the situation then - but now Pundits saying that all was well. Why did they not say it then.

    UniDon Tuesday, 25 December 2018 08:54 AM

    this is nothing new; western hypocrisy is always already a part of the West's agenda on the Global south countries like Sri Lanka

    JK hatton Tuesday, 25 December 2018 11:41 AM

    Black media is/was the prime reason for this - broadcasting false news promoting mafia politician which paved ways to strengthened mafia politicians agenda

    Jeewa Tuesday, 25 December 2018 01:14 PM

    After Ranil was re appointed tourism should increase

    Ranil Wednesday, 26 December 2018 10:27 AM

    How many of us will feel safe visiting a country in the middle of a 100% man made constitutional crisis like this? Quit blaming "fake news" for this very predictable outcome.

    Meena Wednesday, 26 December 2018 11:54 AM

    Tourists come to Sri Lanka to enjoy their holiday. Besides the warning by the country of resident, news reports heavily criticized about PM appointed. Forcefully the National TV station had taken to control. One minister of former government taken as hostage at the minister’s office, and escaped firing by the his body guards, causing death of trouble maker. No one could not predict the future situation. Western Foreign Missions in Sri Lanka, tried to restore the democracy. Sri Lankan extremist demonstrated dark past over last few decade. They attached enemies. On such ground can anyone think White man is safe during the past 7 weeks political situation.Anyone can understand warning to tourist by their country of residents are appropriate and justifiable.As one comment, ETA system showed winter visas increased. But hoteliers say no tourists. This means cancellation of booking due to fear and recent unpredictable situation of Sri Lanka.


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