Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Tourism Chief predicts: Tourist arrivals in Colombo will fall by 50%

14 May 2019 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

Occupancy rate of hotels had declined by 70% countrywide

Arrivals outside Colombo will go down by about 30%  




  • Tourism Bureau was chasing a target of 3 million visitors in 2019
  • By the end of this year, they would be able to totally recover from this situation   
  • Over Rs. 15 billion has been already dispersed for tourism development projects  





By Sheain Fernandopulle   

Tourist arrivals in Colombo would fall by 50% over the next two months following the Easter Sunday bombings that killed more than 250 people, Sri Lanka’s Tourism Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes said yesterday.   

“Tourist arrivals in areas outside Colombo will also go down by about 30% following the bombings, Mr. Gomes said.   

Mr. Gomes said the tourism bureau was chasing a target of 3 million visitors in 2019.   

“We will probably reach about 2 million,” Mr. Gomes said. “We are looking at providing some concessions to the industry for them to be able to maintain their viability for the next few months. We could return if the military is able to give assurances on security,” he added.   

He said by the end of this year, they would be able to totally recover from this situation.   

Meanwhile, Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) President Sanath Ukwatte said the occupancy rate of hotels had declined by 70% countrywide,   

Speaking to Dailymirror , Mr. Ukwatte said substantial percentage of bookings cancellation was reported because of the travel advisories issued by various foreign countries following the series of terror attacks.   

“The hotels industry is at jeopardy and we are faced with issues to overcome the situation which seems to be serious,” Mr. Ukwatte said.   

SriLankan Airlines’ chief executive Vipula Gunatilleka told at a conference that the carrier had a 10% increase in cancellations last week and expects that number to go up.   
Moreover, the cabinet approved a ‘relief package’ to strengthen the tourism industry affected by the Easter Sunday attacks.   

It was reported that under the Enterprise Sri Lanka Loan Schemes (Jaya Isura and Green Loan), over Rs. 15 billion has been already dispersed for tourism development projects.   
Interest subsidy on Tourism loans registered on or before April 18, 2019 and granted before March 31, 2020 under “Enterprise Sri Lanka”, will be borne by the government.   
This will have 75% interest subsidy borne by the government from the effective interest rate until March 31, 2020. The interest will be at 3.4% as the government is giving a 75% interest subsidy.   

Sri Lanka which had claimed the top spot in the Lonely Planet’s and UNILAD Adventure’s best travel destinations list of countries to visit in 2019, badly hit in the aftermath of the unexpected bomb attacks at several locations in the country on April 21.   

These bomb attacks tarnished the good reputation that it had earned in the tourism industry over the past time. This state of affairs made tourists think not twice but thrice before they plan to travel to Sri Lanka.   

The series of suicide bomb attacks on the three churches namely St. Anthony’s Church at Kochchikade in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya in Negombo and Zion Church in Baticaloa and the three hotels namely Kingsbury, Shangri-la and Cinnamon Grand on the Easter Sunday on April 21, which claimed 266 lives and injured 407, culminated in complete mayhem in the country resulting grave impact on the entire functioning of the country.