A host of offers were shared and discussed, and a final decision on a collective effort will be made next week with the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Sri Lanka Conventions Bureau (SLCB), and Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLPB) undertaking their responsibilities based on industry recommendations following the Easter Sunday terror attacks that took place in Sri Lanka.
Yesterday’s meeting with hotels and airlines, the third since the April 21 setback which killed nearly 260 people including 45 tourists, prioritized which markets need to be focused as primary and secondary. The discussion finalized special offers to woo tourists as part of industry revival efforts following the aftermath of the attacks.
It was agreed that the launch will have three key segments that would be developed parallel to gain the optimum impact in the markets: Consumers, media and travel agents aided by promotion and communication strategies.
Airlines agreed to provide free and concessionary tickets for media and travel agency familiarization groups focusing from their home markets. Airlines also agreed to support road shows to markets with tickets for the promotional activity. Airlines agreed to provide their lowest fares/excess baggage and other value additions independently. Hotels agreed to offer 50% or more with uniform rates but offers will be timebound.
For the collective effort to be successful in triggering a quicker revival, the industry also requested the SLTDA to finance the marketing and communication strategy in the selected markets, reduce the Airport Tax from current $60 to $50, reduce visa fee by 50%, and remove/reduce all entrance fees to tourist sites.
SLTDA was represented by its new Chairman Johanne Jayaratne, SLCB by its Chairman Kumar de Silva, City Hotels Association by its President M. Shanthikumar, Amal Gunatilleke from the Tourist Hotels Association (THASL), and Nalin Jayasundera from Inbound Tour Operators (SLAITO) while airlines were represented by Jayantha Abeysinghe of SriLankan Airlines, Chandana de Silva from Emirates, Gihan Amaratunga from Oman Air, and Alice Paul of Air India.
India was identified as the first market with promotion packages to be rolled out from June 1 followed by China, the Middle East, Russia and CIS, UK and Europe, and Australia.