Sri Lanka acts to boost tourism revenue

Chief Regulatory Officer at CSE Renuke Wijayawardhane presenting the listing certificate to Executive Chairperson at Renuka Hotels Shibani Thambiayah

Faced with a decline in tourist spending, Sri Lanka is trying to shift away from dependence on beach lovers and budget travelers and lure more well-heeled tourists. Faced with a decline in tourist spending, Sri Lanka is trying to shift away from dependence on beach lovers and budget travelers and lure more well-heeled tourists. Hotels are going up-market, adding herbal spas and gourmet restaurants, while the government has taken legal and budgetary measures and joined a regional grouping that aims to promote ecotourism and religious tourism.

These steps should help the Ceylon Tourist Board meet its goal for tourist spending to rise at least 50% to between $100 and $150 a day, from $60-$65 now, over the next three to five years.

Luxury and religious tourism may draw Asian visitors, while ecotourism could draw travelers from Europe and the U.S. who want more than a beach holiday, experts say.

“We are trying to offer something more than just sand, sun, and sea at a higher price,” said Denesh Silva, head of sales at Amaya Resorts & Spas, a brand launched in September by Connaissance De Ceylan Ltd.

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