China’s One Belt initiative to increase tourist arrivals to the region

Minister of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs John Amaratunga presenting a token to PATA Chairman Andrew Jones. Picture by Susantha Wijegunasekera.  See page ii

Chinese arrivals will be Sri Lanka’s strongest inbound market over taking India in the future, said Chairman, Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Andrew Jones.

Speaking at the PATA conference, Jetwing Blue Hotel in Negombo, he said that overall Sri Lanka arrivals too would increase by 10.4 percent annually up to 2021. He said that one of the biggest problems facing the industry in the future would be to find young tourism professionals.

“The Asia Pacific Region too would attract higher number of arrivals for the 2017-2021 periods and the region would pass the 3.7 million arrival mark by 2021,” said Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Taleb Rifai. “We expect 5 billion people to travel out by 2030,” The Secretary-General envisaged.

He said that the proposed One Belt initiative mooted by China would also help to increased tourist arrivals in the region. Rifai said however that attracting 4.5 million tourist arrivals by 2020 by Sri Lanka Tourism may be a tall order.

The Secretary-General said that today’s world was changing to digital technology and destination marketing tools should be focused in that direction. “Today you don’t need huge budgets for marketing. What you need today is innovative marketing tools powered by technology,” he added.

Minister of Tourism and Christian Religious Affairs Minister John Amaratunga said that tourism was the quickest sector to recover after ending the war and today it’s the third highest foreign exchange earner of Sri Lanka.

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