Sri Lanka can attract over 3 Mn tourists from India – Priyank Gupta
Sri Lanka Tourism can attract over 3 million tourist arrivals from India alone if proper focused promotions are done to India, said Priyank Gupta, Chairman City Construction Contractors Pvt. Ltd. India and Chairman Ocean Edge Suites and Hotels in Colombo.
He said to achieve this Sri Lanka does not have to offer free visas on arrivals, nor host regular mega road shows spending millions of rupees. He also said that the move to make Indian rupee accepted in Sri Lanka too would increase Indian arrivals as back in India they have to pay many taxes when purchasing foreign currency.
Increasing more air connectivity between the countries is a must and new flights should originate from destinations where there is no air connectivity between the two countries. “In addition what Sri Lanka has to do is to host some mega events in Sri Lanka that picks up Indian interest.”
He said that hosting of the IIFA musical awards in Sri Lanka during the pre C-19 period with the participation of famed Bollywood stars created major interest for Indian travelers to Sri Lanka. He said that after the economic crisis, violent protests, burning of politicians’ houses and economic unrest that followed resulting in huge queues for fuel, Gas, and other essentials still had a negative impact on Indians towards Sri Lanka.
“Whatever promotions that are done in India by Sri Lanka tourism they cannot easily wipe off that scar on Sri Lanka and send a positive message to reach the masses.’ The best way to overcome this and send a positive message on Sri Lanka is by hosting events in Sri Lanka. “Hence Sri Lanka should try to host a three nation one day cricket tournament involving India, Sri Lanka and either England or Australia as Indians love to watch their side play either Australia or England. When you do this firstly it will bring a huge Indian audience to Sri Lanka and then send a positive message across that India that Sri Lanka has fully recovered from the crisis and is a safe and enjoyable destination to travel. Also he said that the Indian middle class is travelling internally in large numbers and due to this all domestic affairs have gone up by a sizable amount.
“Sometimes it may be cheaper or almost similar for a passenger to purchase a Colombo or Jaffna ticket rather than buying a domestic ticket.” He said that one of the most popular holiday destinations in India is Manali which has a population of less than 10,000. While Sri Lanka is trying its level best to achieve 2 million arrivals this year you may be surprised to note that Manali attracts around 4 million tourists per year! Out of this about 45% are local travelers.”
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