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Sri lanka News – Sri Lanka is looking to attract European tourists affected by rising gas prices in that region in the coming winter season, Tourism Minister Harin Fernando told CNN’s Richard Quest in an interview.

Speaking on CNN’s Quest Means Business programme Tuesday November 08 evening, Fernando said Sri Lanka has short and long term plans to revive the island nation’s crisis-hit tourism sector.

“The short term is jumping into India and getting all the Indians to come in to Sri Lanka… because there’s a massive middle class in India: ver 230 million travellers,

“We’ve got a lot of brands. MasterCard, etc, promoting Sri Lanka for the Indian market as well as the Bangladesh market,” he said.

The long term plan, said Fernando, is to target potential European tourists in the winter season as the continent goes through an energy crisis.

“We’re looking at Europe as, come winter, gas prices are going to be so high, it would be cheaper to come to Sri Lnaka and have a nice holiday and enjoy luxury on the beach and also work from home,” said Fernando.

Quest, who was in Sri Lanka in 2019, told Fernando that he will be back in the island soon for the CNN Business Traveller programme.

Tourism in Sri Lanka, one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange earners, has been devastated by multiple crises since 2019, from the Easter Sunday bombings and the pandemic to the prevailing currency crisis and the political turmoil it created.

The industry is slowly recovering, however, though hoteliers — particularly SMEs — have been hit hard. Fuel shortages, power cuts and a host of other issues have also been pointed out by sceptics as reasons for tourists to steer clear of Sri Lanka. The government, however, argues that many of these problems have been resolved or are in the process of being resolved with a slow but steady return to stability.

India, meanwhile, reamins the largest market for Sri Lanka’s tourism earrings. The highest tourist arrival of over 86,000 was from India in the first nine months of this year. That accounts for 16.5 percent of the total arrivals to Sri Lanka. The United Kingdom, Russia, Germany and France are followed by India respectively making the top five primary markets for Sri Lanka.

Related:

Sri Lanka banks on India to boost tourism this year after “bad press”.

In October, Sri Lanka revised tourist arrival expectations for 2022 to 800,000.

Related:

Sri Lanka revises down 2022 tourism target to 800,000

(Colombo/Nov09/2022)

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