The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in cooperation with the Tourism, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs Ministry, successfully completed a joint seminar themed ‘Recovery of tourism sector in Sri Lanka after the Easter bombings 2019’, targeting the officials and professionals in the tourism sector.
The presenter, Masato Takamatsu, Managing Director and Chief Research Officer and Head of Tourism Crisis Management Consulting at JTB (Japan Travel Bureau) Tourism Research & Consulting, in his keynote presentation shared the experiences of Japan and learnings of other countries, how a crisis can be utilised as an opportunity to building back better (BBB) tourism sector in Sri Lanka. The potential strategies in bringing back foreign tourists,
for instance well-timed destination marketing identifying the prime source markets more likely to be recovered in the short run and needs immediate engagements besides the source markets more likely to take more time to recover and needs cautious approach, was comprehensively deliberated based on market tendencies.
Participants ranging from government officials to business personnel had interactive discussion on how each organisation can play its role to recover the Sri Lankan tourism industry.
Particularly, Takamatsu and the audience shared the view that the challenges Sri Lanka is facing now can be used an opportunity to “BBB” the tourism industry to show the world all the attractions and people’s hospitability Sri Lanka can offer.
Top representatives from the Tourism Ministry, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Institute of Hotel School Management, Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators and The Sri Lanka Hotel Association attended the seminar chaired by Tourism and Christian Affairs Ministry Secretary S. Hettiarachchi.
The tourism sector in Sri Lanka, which occupies 4.6 percent of the country’s GDP, has suffered significant damage from the Easter bombings on April 21, in the form of increased level of travel advisory of other countries, decreased inbound tourists, reduction of number of flights, decline of hotel occupancy rates and so on.
The number of inbound tourists has been gradually picking up since then, because of the various efforts put into by Sri Lanka.