May 25, 2019 (LBO) – China has relaxed its travel advisory to Sri Lanka with language that says: ‘be cautious’ as opposed to language that says ‘do not travel.’
The total number of foreign arrivals from China to Sri Lanka are only behind India ,and have been relatively steady at over 265,000 for the past 3 years. The high number of arrivals from China have made relaxation of their travel advisory for Sri Lanka a top priority for the Sri Lankan government. Total foreign arrivals to Sri Lanka have been over 2,000,000 for the past 3 years.
Sri Lanka’s security situation has slowly started to return to normal after the devastating Easter Sunday attacks. The tourism industry however is still feeling pain with most five star city hotels having dismal occupancies. Five star hotels are still subjecting visitors to significant security checks upon entry. The measures are understandable as they were direct targets of the terror attacks.
Industry participants are hoping for a revival by August, however experts have said it will likely take significantly longer for tourist numbers to get anywhere near back to trend.
Sri Lanka’s tourist industry has blossomed after the end of the war ten years ago. The industry last year generated over US$4bn in revenue last year, in contrast to less than a billion dollars in 2009. Experts have pegged revenue losses to the tourism industry of over US$1bn as a result of the terror attacks.