- Airline representatives to meet Aviation Minister today
By Nishel Fernando
Hoteliers, travel management companies (TMCs) and airlines plan to finalise special promotional tour packages by next Wednesday, which are to be offered to tourists in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings, which led to a 60 percent decline in tourist arrivals to the country.
“We discussed extensively on tour packages, and we will come up with proposals next Wednesday. The hoteliers, airlines and TMCs agreed to lower the rates,” an industry source told Mirror Business.
Though the rate reductions are yet to be discussed in details, the hoteliers, airlines and TMCs said it would be a very attractive package.
Speaking to Mirror Business on behalf of the hoteliers, The City Hotels Association President and The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) Vice President M. Shanthikumar said, “As a national interest, we will definitely support the package. The government has extended maximum support to us and the private sector is also doing their best to bring in the tourists back to the country.”
Meanwhile, the Board of Airline Representatives (BOA) in Sri Lanka is scheduled to meet the Transport & Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga today to make their requests including a proposal to cut the current landing, passing and ground handling charges at the Bandaranaike International Airport in order to bring down airline rates.
The Cabinet Sub-Committee on tourism headed by the Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga earlier backed the industry proposal to cut down these charges.
The Cabinet Sub-Committee also had discussed the possibility of reducing these charges by 50 percent.
The stakeholders of the tourism sector have also agreed to request the government to issue a statement on the security situation of the country as soon as possible.
Shanthikumar pointed out this move would be essential to soften the travel advisories issued by 37 countries in the aftermath of Easter Sunday attacks.
He also noted that it would be a supportive measure for the industry to go ahead with the promotional packages.
According to Shanthikumar, five countries have advised their citizens to only undertake essential travel assignments to Sri Lanka while the rest of the countries have advised their citizen to minimize travel to the Island nation.
The occupancy rates of hotels across the country continue to remain below 10 percent.
Despite the travel warnings, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) stated that around 1700 tourists arrive in the country daily on average while most of them being free independent travellers (FIT).