Tourist arrivals grow by 18% in March and 13.6% in 1Q

Whilst tourist arrivals soared by 18% in March to 157,051 and the cumulative at first quarter end was 478,838 with a growth of 13.6%, these numbers are not reflected in the overall occupancy of the formal sector. “This is worrying given that the formal sector pays all their dues such as taxes and levies as stipulated by the Government, which help us do global promotions,” said Chief Guest Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Rohantha Athukorala, at the Ceylon Hotel School Graduates Association launch of Hotel Show 2015 at the Taj Samudra.

Athukorala, analysing the numbers, commented that the Western European travellers had increased their choice by 17.7% to 169,330 visitors with the UK growing by 14.8%, Germany by 17.5% and France by 12.6% in 1Q 2015 whilst China was catapulting at 84.5% growth and India was still the number one market with a growth of 19.6%. “Maybe it’s time that we do focused promotions with the formal sector to see how we can plough back some of the money that they have contributed to the overall promotional fund,” said Athukoraka.

He acknowledged that there was a perennial debate as to whether the large organisations or the SMEs needed to be assisted by Government entities. “Some hard decisions will have to be made to regularise the occupancy of the formal sector to be in line with the informal sector traveller,” added Athukorala.











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