Sri Lanka tourist trade to boost local travel as foreign arrivals fall

Sept 24, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s tourism promotion agency has launched a campaign to encourage local travel as part of efforts to revive the industry, hit hard by escalating conflict that has reduced foreign arrivals.

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“We see untapped potential in domestic tourism,” said Shafraz Farook, a spokesman for Sri Lanka Tourism.

“A lot of people are travelling, especially young people.”

The new campaign aims to popularise lesser known attractions in the island which tended to be neglected with the focus on enticing foreign tourists by promoting traditional attractions like beaches and archaeological sites.

“Domestic tourism always provides a good platform for the industry,” said Dileep Mudadeniya, managing director of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau.

“Countries which have developed tourism industries have a clear domestic base on which the international tourism trade flourishes.”

The new domestic tourism campaign aims to increase occupancy levels in hotels, most of which had been badly affected by a sharp drop in the number of foreign tourists.

Tourist arrivals have