Tourism Minister Harin Fernando appealed to international travellers to add Sri Lanka to their travel wish list, assuring tourists are cushioned from the economic shocks the country is undergoing, and that they will be well looked after.
Fernando, currently at the World Travel Market 2022 London (WTM), pitched Sri Lanka as a safe and secure destination that places hospitality at its core, regardless of the situation in the country.
“Hospitality doesn’t die just because inflation is high,” said Fernando in an interview with BBC on the sidelines of the WTM 2022 London.
“The world is going through a recession and Sri Lanka is also a part of it. Sri Lanka is a resilient nation and our main income comes from tourism. Tourism is key for us,” said the Minister.
Fernando stressed Sri Lanka is a hospitable nation, and offers value for money when compared with its competitors.
Admitting that the Lankan rupee is weak against foreign currencies, he pointed out that as a result one can do “quite a lot” in the picturesque island nation.
As gas and electricity prices have soared in Europe, which makes heating during the winter expensive, Fernando shared that Sri Lanka makes the ideal destination to spend the season given that it is still economical despite the sharp increase in cost of living.
“Sri Lanka is still far cheaper. It is a cheaper stay and offers you a quality holiday. The industry has done some fantastic work in marketing and promotions,” said the Minister.
When pointed out by the BBC that Sri Lanka is not competitive in its rates for the winter season since it is priced higher than destinations such as Phuket, Pattaya, Bali, Vietnam, and Cambodia, to name a few, Fernando dismissed the statement pointing out Sri Lanka is different.
“Sri Lanka is a different brand, a different product. We are not Bali, we are not Thailand…We are not going for the numbers. We only have 40,000 rooms which is equivalent to Qatar. We have different price points, from high-end to back-packing. Either way Sri Lanka is cheaper,” asserted the Minister.
(Courtesy: Daily Mirror / BBC)