As if Covid-19 and the Corona Pandemic hasn’t done enough to prevent travelers to visit Sri Lanka, the exorbitant high Airfares from Europe to the Island are just contributing the balance part to bring Sri Lanka Tourism to a near total collapse. The AGSEP RESEARCH INSTITUTE in a recent survey identified, that Sri Lanka remains to be the most expensive destination – airfares concerned – even though destinations like Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are 300 and 1100 nautical miles further distanced than Colombo.
Since over 50% of all travelers to Sri Lanka generated from European destinations it becomes clear, that Sri Lanka had been sidelined and neighboring countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives and Vietnam taking advantage of the big airfare gaps. The more affluent and well-established tourists from Europe and other parts of the world might not feel the airfare difference too much, but especially the first-time travelers are virtually diverted to other destinations than Sri Lanka.
Looking into the future of Sri Lanka Tourism Developments there should be a special interest and effort put on the young travelers’ segments even to the extent to offer special incentives on airfare to attract young travelers, Students and job starters for Sri Lanka. It should be an important task for the SLTDA to focus on the exorbitant airfare and to find ways and methods to intervene into this malicious practice. Sri Lanka’s entire tourism industry is virtually blocked out, when Airfares making Sri Lanka a destination which becomes simply un-attractive due to high air fares. The vast majority of the Tourist Industry in Sri Lanka is within the SM enterprises which are highly dependent on social media marketing efforts. Their very competitive room rates cannot balance the tumbling block of high airfares. It is even equally important to get the National Carrier Sri Lankan Airlines to re-start regular charter flights to major European Cities. Its up to the SLTDA now to look into the matter for the benefit of thousands of businesses and jobs related to Sri Lanka Tourism. DD