Love Sri Lanka Explore

July 2019 Updates

On-Ground Updates


31st July 2019

  • Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts kicks off ‘Bring A Friend Home’ tourism drive
    Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts yesterday unveiled the ‘Bring A Friend Home’ promotion, coinciding with World Friendship Day. The initiative prompts not only Sri Lankans living here, but Lankan expatriates overseas, to nominate foreign friends to visit the island over the next few months. “We want to send a positive message and make every Sri Lankan work as a brand ambassador to this paradise we call home, and invite our friends from around the world,” John Keells Group Vice President, Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts Head of Brand Marketing and Cinnamon Life Mall CEO Dileep Mudadeniya explained.
  • Tourism Minister assures quick Revival
    Assuring the Government will do its utmost for a quicker revival, Tourism Development Minister John Amaratunga yesterday hailed the proactive promotional campaign by Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts to boost tourism post-Easter Sunday setback. “We have been able to bounce back within three months, with 4,000 tourist arrivals per day, and flights resuming their operations as usual,” he added. He outlined a number of initiatives underway, including free visa on arrival for 43 countries from 1 August, and reduced airport levies to attract more airlines, which he believes will contribute significantly to recover the tourism industry back to normalcy.(


30th July 2019

  • Australia’s online travel company TripADeal says it would pick Sri Lanka over Bali
    Provided the right connectivity, Sri Lanka has the potential to become Australians’ favourite holiday destination in Asia surpassing Bali in Indonesia, according to Australia’s most popular online travel company, TripADeal.TripADeal executive team led by TripADeal Co-Founder and CEO Norm Black last week engaged in an all-island tour to show solidarity with Sri Lanka in the aftermath of April 21 Easter Sunday attacks. Black who has been visiting Bali since his childhood insisted that he would never visit Bali over Sri Lanka as the island nation has much more to offer with diversity being the key. Australia became the fifth largest tourism source market for Sri Lanka with arrivals reaching 110,928 in 2018, a 36 percent growth over the previous year. (Daily Mirror)
  • 45 countries eligible to receive free visa on arrival to Sri Lanka
    The Tourism Ministry has informed that the number of nationalities eligible for the free online visa program has now grown from 39 to 45.


29th July 2019

  • Chinese group in Sri Lanka’s to boost tourism
    Over 100 Chinese travel agents arrived yesterday, becoming the largest group post-Easter Sunday attacks to help revive tourism in Sri Lanka. The group was brought down by Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) in collaboration with Walkers Tours, the destination management arm of the leisure sector of premier blue chip company John Keells Group and Beijing Spring Travel International Co. Ltd. The initiative was an outcome of the promotion SLTPB had in Beijing, China in June. The group consists of 107 Chinese travel agents and 12 media personnel from Beijing as well as from other parts of China and will explore Sri Lanka in a span of one week in four different groups visiting all key tourist attractions.(daily FT)
  • Tourism Minister to fast-track tourism PR, marketing global campaign through cabinet
    Tourism Minister John Amaratunga is to go to Cabinet once again to formalise and fast-track the much-delayed public relations (PR) and global promotion campaigns to boost the country’s image post-Easter Sunday attacks. The move is after the selected agency JWT requiring proper formalisation of contract though the Cabinet had previously approved same.“There are some formalities that we have to comply. There are one or two more Cabinet papers that have to be submitted to have a procurement committee, which has not been done. I have now told the Ministry team to immediately prepare the Cabinet paper and I will sign and within the next two, three weeks we must get that also approved,” Amaratunga told the Daily FT yesterday.(daily FT)


28th July 2019

  • CFA global chief to visit Sri Lanka
    Paul Smith, president and chief executive of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute, will visit Sri Lanka to recognize several key community service and public engagement initiatives undertaken by the CFA Society Sri Lanka. “This visit is an acknowledgement of continued efforts of the CFA Society Sri Lanka to improve financial literacy and to promote the highest ethical standards and professional excellence within the local investment community,” a statement said. During his visit, Smith will attend several advocacy and outreach initiatives conducted by the CFA Society Sri Lanka.(ECONOMYNEXT)


27th July 2019

  • Sri Lanka tourism promotion campaign commences in Singapore
    Sri Lanka is safe for travelers was the key message conveyed at a briefing held by the Sri Lanka High Commission recently at an event at the Shangri-La hotel for the National Association of Travel Agents of Singapore (NATAS). The event was organized in association with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau and SriLankan Airlines with a view to restoring confidence among outbound tour operators.(Colombo Page)


26th July 2019

  • Norwegian Ambassador says things are looking up for Sri Lanka
    Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is heading in the right direction, says Norwegian Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Thorbjørn Gaustadsæther. The outgoing Ambassador, who is due to leave after completing his tenure in Sri Lanka, in an exclusive interview with the National channel Rupavahini, said Sri Lanka is still in the heart of foreigners, despite a slight decline in tourism after the Easter Sunday attacks. “Sri Lanka’s tourism industry is heading in the right direction. Tourist arrivals are on the rise. Last year, 15,000 Norwegian tourists arrived. There is a good trend this year too.”The envoy noted that the trade between the two countries is also growing, especially with increased investment in the fisheries, maritime and IT sectors.(Colombo page)
  • Tourism authorities yet to award PR and ad campaigns despite Cabinet approval
    After almost three months since the Easter Sunday attacks, Sri Lanka’s tourism authorities are yet to award the PR and advertising campaigns to the selected advertising agency, to support the flagging industry. The Cabinet approval was given in late May to award the nearly Rs.1 billion campaigns to J. Walter Thompson (JWT). The 45-day PR campaign and six-month marketing campaign were aimed at creating the right sentiment and perception on Sri Lanka, in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks. Responding to a media query, at a recent event in Colombo, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) Managing Director Charmarie Maelge said that the agreement to award the two campaigns is still at the drafting stage.(Daily Mirror)


25th July 2019

  • India also included on free visa program to begin in August
    The proposal from the Ministry of tourism that was approved by the cabinet of ministers included India, as well as China for inclusion in the free visa program expected to start on 1st August. This is in addition to the 39 countries originally expected to be covered by the program.
  • Financial market global forum to be held in Sri Lanka
    Chairman of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Kishu Gomes has explained “In the last 5 – 10 days we have exceed 4,500 tourist arrivals a day on average.” He said this was because of improved security and efforts to promote the island as a tourist destination. The comments were made at a news conference held to announce that the country will host a global forum of an association of financial market professionals. The ACI Financial Markets Association World Congress, hosted by Sri Lanka Forex Association, will be held from the 3rd to 5th October in Colombo.(ECONOMYNEXT)


24th July 2019

  • Free visas for Chinese tourists from August 1st
    Minister of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga said yesterday that a proposal from the Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry to include China in its free visa policy which will be launched from Aug. 1 has been approved. The Minister made his remarks at a briefing held at the conclusion of a tour by visiting Chinese journalists to the island.
  • Delegation travels to UAE to improve partnerships
    A delegation led by Deputy Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Nalin Bandara comprising of officials from both the public and private sector, including the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, visited the United Arab Emirates and met with several stakeholders including those the Dubai & Sharjah Chambers of Commerce. The visit was organized in order to improve partnerships with these markets.


23rd July 2019

  • Obstacles remain that prevent more Chinese Tourists from visiting Sri Lanka
    The Chinese Ambassador to Sri Lanka his excellency Cheng Xueyuan has explained that while Chinese tourists currently rank high among arrivals, that those numbers could be much more if Sri Lanka decided to remove obstacles that prevent more Chinese tourists coming in. Among issues he cited were the lack of Chinese speaking guides in the country, impediments for Chinese guides to come in to the country, restrictions with regards to Chinese tobacco & alcohol, as well as gastronomical issues. He further noted that arrival numbers could match those of Thailand if a similar approach was taken in tackling the Chinese market.
  • Sri Lanka hotels winter bookings picking up: CB Governor
    Sri Lanka’s central bank said that peak winter season bookings at Sri Lankan hotels are picking up, “I was speaking to Tourism Ministry officials, and they said that bookings for the winter season are not bad at all,” Governor Coomaraswamy said. “They [bookings] are picking up, but of course, at discounted rates,” he said.Coomaraswamy said he had also spoken to a large hotel chain, which had attested to a fast recovery.“There seems to be signs that the recovery may be going faster than expected and the factor there is the removal of the travel advisories,” he said. (ECONOMYNEXT)


22nd July 2019

  • Tourism Promo Road Shows cancelled to speed up implementation of promotional campaign
    Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Kishu Gomes has explained to media that due to discussions within the industry that road shows were to be cancelled as stakeholders felt they were not effective or vital at this point in time. Stakeholders have noted that the promotional campaign was more pressing since the attacks & have voiced concern regarding delays of its implementation.
  • Head of Anglican Church to visit Sri Lanka
    The Archbishop of Canterbury His Grace Rt. Rev. Justin Welby and Mrs. Welby are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka from the 29th – 31st August 2019. During the visit the Archbishop of Canterbury is expected to show solidarity with Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday attacks.


21st July 2019

  • Bangladesh cricket team arrives in Sri Lanka
    Bangladesh takes on Sri Lanka in the first ODI of a three-match series on July 26, and arrived in the island yesterday.
  • Tourist Arrivals improve with boost from Indian market
    Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have increased to an average 4,000 a day in the second week of July from 3,200 arrivals a day a week earlier. “There’s a significant increase in arrivals now, and we are averaging about 4,000 arrivals per day,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Kishu Gomes explained. He further explained that tourists from neighbouring India have contributed most toward the growth seen in the second week of July. (ECONOMYNEXT)


20th July 2019

  • Sri Lanka to build entertainment park to boost tourism
    Sri Lanka’s BOI said on yesterday that it had signed an agreement with foreign investors to construct an entertainment park in the capital Colombo, which will strengthen the island’s tourism. In a statement, the BOI said the project will be carried out by the Melchers Group to construct the ‘Fantasy Island’ at an investment of 4 million US dollars. “Sri Lanka has made great progress to build hotels and infrastructure. Now, the Fantasy Island is the beginning of the next development phase of the tourism industry,” Alexander Melchers, managing director of the Melchers Group in South-East Asia and founding investor of the entertainment park said. “We will provide a purpose-built, state-of-the-art family entertainment attraction to cater for international and local tourists and residents. I am very confident in the business outlook in Sri Lanka. We represent German, Singaporean, and Swiss investors who believe in the long term potential of Sri Lanka” Alexander added.
  • Sri Lanka an approved participant at the world expo 2020
    Sri Lanka is officially an approved participant at the World Expo 2020 Dubai with the signing of the official participation contract with the Dubai Expo 2020 Bureau. On the sidelines of the contract signing ceremony, the Sri Lanka delegation visited the expo site and was able to visit the Sri Lankan Pavilion currently under construction.


19th July 2019

  • Week-long ‘Celebrate Colombo’ festival to boost tourism
    Sri Lanka will hold a week-long creative festival titled ‘Celebrate Colombo’ inclusive of art, fashion, food and music in early August to demonstrate peace and the country’s return to normalcy after the Easter attacks. ‘Celebrate Colombo’ conceptualized by CFW Founder and Managing Director Ajai Vir Singh & supported by multiple stakeholders from Sri Lanka’s art, fashion, retail and tourism sector will be held from 3 to 10 August, and aims to showcase Colombo as a vibrant entertainment city. The Sri Lanka Tourism and Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) will be supporting the event as part of plans to boost tourism.
  • Sri Lanka remittances, tourism earnings down in May
    Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange earnings from remittances and tourism fell in May 2019, the central bank said as the rupee strengthened amid weak bank credit which reduced economic acitvity and imports. Worker remittances, Sri Lanka’s largest foreign exchange earner, fell 3.1 percent from a year earlier to 562 million US dollars in May, a statement said. It further noted that provisional tourism earnings have fallen 71 percent to 71 million US dollars in May, the central bank said. Tourism earnings from January through May were down 7.1 percent to 1.8 billion US dollars. (ECONOMYNEXT)


18th July 2019

  • Love Sri Lanka event organized by Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance takes place in London
    The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance, led by founder Malik Fernando, successfully completed an event in London on 16th July. Attended by over 150 representatives of the UK travel media and travel trade & over 50 Sri Lankan hotel representatives, the event was also graced by Love Sri Lanka supporter & advocate, cricket legend Mahela Jayawardene. The strategic focus of the event was in communicating the island’s return to business as usual after the Easter Attacks, with emphasis on traction gained, even recently, with Sri Lanka being bestowed the title of the leading island travel destination. The event further illustrated the strong support & love the island has received from around the world, and specifically the UK market in accurately communicating the real ground situation in the island and in providing potential travellers the info they need to make informed decisions on their holiday.
  • Sri Lanka to kick-off tourism recovery campaigns; global tender for 3-year push
    Sri Lanka is preparing to float a global tender for a two to three year tourism campaign in September, while fast campaigns worth a billion rupees are set to launch soon, an official said. “Two months from now, we are planning to float a global tender for the medium to long-term destination campaign,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau (SLTPB) Chairman Kishu Gomes said. The tendering process is expected to take six months, which was not fast enough to help the country recover from the Easter Sunday bombings, Gomes said. The state agency is about to spend 416 million rupees on a public relations campaign and 500 million rupees on a short-term marketing campaign. The cabinet earlier approved the SLTPB board’s recommendation that the shorter campaigns be given to JWT, the advertising agency that developed the So-Sri Lanka campaign.(ECONOMYNEXT)


17th July 2019

  • JICA supports recovery of Sri Lanka’s tourism sector
    The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), in cooperation with the Tourism Ministry, successfully completed a joint seminar for the “Recovery of Tourism Sector in Sri Lanka after the Easter Bombings 2019” targeting officials and professionals in the tourism sector. Masato Takamatsu, the Managing Director & Chief Research Officer and Head of Tourism Crisis Management Consulting at Japan Travel Bureau, Tourism Research & Consulting, in his keynote presentation shared experiences of Japan and best practices of other countries how a crisis can be utilized as an opportunity to “Build-Back-Better” a tourism sector in Sri Lanka. Representatives from the Ministry, Tourism Promotion Bureau, Tourism Development Authority, Institute of Hotel School Management, Sri Lanka Inbound Tour Operators, and The Sri Lanka Hotel Association attended the seminar which was chaired by the Ministry Secretary. (Colombo Page)


16th July 2019

  • Familiarization tour for Australian travel & tour operators
    A team of 18 Australian travel and tour operators arrived in Sri Lanka on a 10-day long familiarisation tour hosted by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). Tourist arrivals from Australia have shown a steady incline in recent months and it is envisioned that the familiarisation tour would capitalise on this wave of interest. Over 4,000 tourists had arrived from Australia to Sri Lanka mostly by air during the month of June this year. The tour operators prior to the familiarisation tour had cited that tourists from Australia were particularly interested in the cultural triangle, the beaches down south and exploring both Kandy and Nuwara-Eliya. This customised tour will take the 18 tour agents on a 10-day tour starting from Negombo, Habarana, Trincomalee, Kandy, Dambulla, Mirissa, Ahungalla and return to Colombo before their departure.(
  • Concerns among the industry regarding slow implementation & delays in recovery plan and PR campaign
    Colombo City Tourist Hotels Association (CCTHA) President M. Shanthikumar who is also Vice Chairman of the broader Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) yesterday whilst acknowledging that many initial measures have taken off expressed sentiments within the industry of wanting faster implementation given the challenge of recovery. He explained that there is a fear that a false sense of complacency has arisen on the basis of a pickup in tourist arrivals in June compared with May. He further explained that the industry is also yet to see the full fruition of the ‘Recovery Plan’ proposed by the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) and approved by the Cabinet. The delay in the roll out of the announced aggressive PR campaign was stated as another concern. (


15th July 2019

  • July tourist Arrivals expected to top 100,000
    Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Johanne Jayaratne, speaking to Media has explained that Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals have recovered to a daily average of 3,500 in the first week of July. He added that tourist arrivals in July are expected to top 100,000, while a massive recovery in the tourism industry is expected during the coming months, particularly between September and December. (News1st)
  • PM assures growth in arrival numbers for July & August
    During a speech in Trincomalee, Prome Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe is quoted as saying “Because of the swift action taken by the government, arrivals rose to 63,000 in June…Arrivals will grow to 100,000 by end of July and 125,000 in the following month.” Sri Lanka’s arrivals were down 57 percent from a year earlier in June. A total of 100,000 would make it about 50 percent of the volume of arrivals compared to last July when 212,000 visitors came.(ECONOMYNEXT)


14th July 2019

  • YouLead and Kandy Hoteliers Association partner to save jobs and strengthen tourism industry
    The Kandy Hoteliers Association (KHA) launched a soft skills training program in Kandy on 10 July for tourism and hospitality industry employees. The program was launched in collaboration with YouLead, a $ 12 million program funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC) to improve technical and vocational education and training, create a more skilled workforce, and link youth to more productive careers.(DailyFT)
  • Arrivals numbers to SL further improving
    The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau has indicated that Arrivals to the country have improved even further since its last update. “In the first week of July, arrivals averaged 3,200 a day,” Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomes is quoted as saying. The number is a recovery from the average 2,500 a day arrivals in the last week of June. “We are seeing a recovery in arrivals, which is encouraging,” Gomes said.(ECONOMYNEXT)


13th July 2019

  • Sri Lanka – Greater Mekong Business Council Meeting to be held in Colombo
    The Sri Lanka – Greater Mekong Business Council will hold its 8th Annual General Meeting on the 18th of July at the Colombo Club, Taj Samudra. The AGM will feature a presentation on “Opportunities available for Sri Lankan Companies in the Greater Mekong Subregion” by Ruvini Fernando, Director – PPP Advisory and Deals Strategy, PricewaterhouseCoopers Sri Lanka.
  • Tourism the only way to eradicate poverty – Kishu Gomes
    SLTPB Chairman Kishu Gomes stressed that tourism is the only way to eradicate poverty in the country. Gomes pointed out that tourism has the potential of becoming a US $10 billion industry over the years, becoming the top foreign exchange generator for the country, and noted that 15 percent year-on-year growth is required to reach that. “Given that tourism has to be the number one revenue generator for the country, it’s everyone’s responsibility to do something to contribute to industry’s growth, at least with a smile. We need to create a conducive environment for tourists visiting the country” he explained.


12th July 2019

  • Sri Lanka revival event to be held in London
    The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance together with the Specialist Tour Operators Association in the UK, supported by the Promotion Bureau, is holding a Sri Lanka Revival event at a prestigious venue in London on July 16th, with acceptances from over 100 key UK travel trade members, 25 travel media and local hoteliers. This private-sector driven event will include a panel session moderated by the Editor of the Travel Trade Gazette, the leading trade publication in the UK.
  • Record Tourist Arrivals – SLTPB
    Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Kishu Gomes has stated that Sri Lanka is experiencing a new record of tourist arrivals. “The average tourist arrival in May was 1200 but by June we managed to take the numbers up to 2200. If you look at the rate of recovery it is about 66% month on month basis. July, to-date, for the first 7 days the average number has risen to 3200. From June to July the recovery is over 40%.” He explained at an event in Colombo.
  • Sri Lanka ranked Number 1 in Travel+Leisure readers’ picks for the world’s best islands
    For the annual ‘World’s best’ awards survey, Travel + Leisure asks readers to weigh in on their travel experiences from around the globe. For this specific award readers rated islands according to their activities and sights, natural attractions and beaches, food, friendliness, and overall value. Sri Lanka ranked at top place for best island category.


11th July 2019

  • Sri Lanka plans to relaunch free tourist visa in August
    Sri Lanka is mulling re-launching a free visa for 39 countries which was halted due to the Easter Attacks. Tourism Minister John Amaratunga is quoted as saying that the six-month visa free program will be launched on August 01 following cabinet approval. He has further explained that 39 countries, which exclude the top markets India and China, will receive free visa.(ECONOMYNEXT)
  • New Student & Resident visa regulations
    The Sri Lanka immigration Department has announced that student visas will be issued only for one year, amending the previous policy which allowed visas to be issued for the full duration of the study programme. The Department further states that individuals who maintain cash deposits to obtain resident visas must invest those funds within one-month of obtaining the visa. Visas of those who do not adhere to this regulation would be cancelled. Moreover persons who maintain deposits of USD 500,000 will be offered a 10-year resident visa while those having a deposit of USD 300,000 will be given a five-year resident visa.(Times online)


10th July 2019

  • Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance concludes 2 day workshop
    The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance concluded a 2 day workshop yesterday with segments that included the participation of members from THASL, SLAITO & key interlocutors involved in Sri Lanka’s Private tourism sector. The sessions aimed to streamline the scope of the Alliance, that was formed in the immediate aftermath of the Easter Attacks, and to further plan the way forward of its complementary work with other partners.
  • Bangladesh, first cricket team to visit Sri Lanka after Easter Attacks
    The Sri Lanka cricket board has announced that Bangladesh will be the first team to tour Sri Lanka since the Easter attacks. Bangladesh will play three One-Day Internationals on July 26, 28 and 31 at the Premadasa International Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said in a statement.


9th July 2019

  • Advisory Group of Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance holds meetings on way forward
    The Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance kicked off a 2 day advisory group meeting in Colombo yesterday, meeting with key stakeholders & exploring the substantive issues faced by the island’s private tourism sector, followed by a broader discussion on the way forward for the Alliance.
  • Sri Lanka cuts costs for airlines to revive tourism
    The ground handling charges, aviation fuel, and embarkation levy will be reduced for six months, Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority said in a statement.
    The aviation-related discounts aim to encourage airlines to reduce airline ticket prices and combine the specially priced tickets with discounts being offered by hotels and restaurants in Sri Lanka.
    The measures were approved by the Cabinet of ministers this week.(ECONOMYNEXT)


8th July 2019

  • Increased Tourist arrivals cited as one reason for improved stock market
    Media outlets have reported that the launch of mega infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka, along with improved tourist arrivals in the month of June, have improved the status of the Colombo Stock Exchange (CSE), sending the indices significantly upwards.
  • Sri Lanka – Germany fast track dialogue to assist investors and tourism
    The Sri Lanka – Germany fast track dialogue was held recently at the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade with the objective of addressing central issues faced by German enterprises operating in Sri Lanka under the BOI as well as facilitate new investments. On the subject of tourism, Malik Samarawickrama, minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, explained that security had been strengthened at the airport and hotels in the island. He further explained that a tourism promotion campaign would be held in Berlin to address tourists and travel agents and educate them about Sri Lanka and that a total of 8 leading tourism generating countries were targeted for a recovery plan. It was noted that 4 tourism road shows would be held in Berlin, Stuttgart and other German cities.


7th July 2019

  • New Zealand to kick off their Test Cricket Championship in Sri Lanka.
    Sri Lanka Cricket have announced a series of two Tests and three T20Is against New Zealand in August-September, with the visitors set to arrive in Colombo on August 3 and stay in the country till September 7. (Cricinfo)
  • THASL reaffirms the importance of tolerance & respect in the island.
    The Tourist Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) in a release has condemned any form of discrimination taking root across the island. THASL President Sanath Ukwatte in a statement explained “…Sri Lanka is one of the most tolerant and friendliest countries in the world. Our admiration, tolerance and respect for other religions and cultures are one of the main reasons why visitors are attracted to the country, we were often referred to as the “Island of Serendipity” by ancient travellers to the country…multiculturalism, ethnic harmony and understanding different cultures is embedded in Sri Lankans and THASL strongly believes these are essential elements needed to develop a vibrant tourism industry”.


6th July 2019

  • Tourist Arrivals surpass 1 million mark in Sri Lanka
    Over one million tourists have visited Sri Lanka in 2019, official statistics from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) showed. Of the 1,008,449 tourists that have visited over 97,000 were from China. Other top markets included India, Australia, Britain and the Maldives.
  • Sri Lanka to cut embarkation tax by US$10 to boost tourism
    Sri Lanka is planning to cut the embarkation tax on tourists by 10 US dollars to boost tourism in the wake of Easter Sunday attacks, an official said. Vice Chairman of Sri Lanka Airport and Aviation Services Ltd Priyantha Kariyapperuma said the embarkation tax will lower ticket prices and make Sri Lanka more affordable.


5th July 2019

  • Sri Lanka plans US$50mn cable car project in Nuwara Eliya
    Sri Lanka’s cabinet of ministers had given initial clearance for a cable car project in hill country town of Nuwara Eliya targeting local and foreign tourists, the state information office said. A 50 million US dollar project has been proposed by a firm called Outdoor Engineering Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and its partner Doppelmayr Cable Car, a foreign firm. The firm will build a cable car system on 21 towers running from Nanu Oya railway station to Lake Gregory in Nuwara Eliya.
  • Sri Lankan Hotel ranked among the top 100 luxury hotels in the world
    The Grand Hotel Nuwara Eliya was ranked among the top 100 luxury hotels of the world at the hotel of year awards for 2019.
  • Government is taking all measures to enable tourists to return to Sri Lanka – PM
    In a special statement Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe has expressed the Government’s hopes to take steps to further revive the island’s tourism sector. The statement was given in light of the travel publisher, Lonely Planet, retaining Sri Lanka’s position as the number 1 destination to visit in 2019.


4th July 2019

  • Increase in Tourist Arrivals to Sri Lanka
    While in comparison to 2018’s data, tourist arrivals are down significantly, there has been a 66% increase in June as opposed to the previous month. The Tourism Ministry’s data shows the total number of international tourist arrivals in June was 63,072, up from 37,802 as reported in May.
  • Japan relaxes its advisory on Sri Lanka
    The Japanese Government relaxed its travel advisory on Sri Lanka late last month and it is currently at a level 1 advisory.


3rd July 2019

  • Lonely planet retains Sri Lanka as number 1 destination to visit in 2019.
    Sri Lanka is still listed as travel publisher, Lonely Planet’s number 1 destination to travel to in 2019, following the Easter Attacks that put the country’s tourist industry on a standstill. “The country has been upset, but continues to be an incredible place to visit. It still tops our Best in Travel for 2019,” says Lonely Planet writer Caterina Hrysomallis.
  • Sports & Bollywood Stars to visit Sri Lanka shortly
    Sachin Tendulkar and a line up of Bollywood stars will be promoting Sri Lanka tourism to the Indian market in a tour in August. Sri Lanka Tourism Promotions Bureau Chairman Kishu Gomez explained that they would be here to attend a Colombo Fashion Week event that would be organized especially to boost tourism in the country.


2nd July 2019

  • Final decision to be taken on cutting airfares to boost tourism
    Top officials of SLTDA, Airport & Aviation Services (Sri Lanka) Limited, Ceylon Petroleum Corporation, SriLankan Airlines, Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and the Finance Ministry were invited yesterday to attend a meeting at Temple Trees which aimed to finalize the decision on cutting airfares to boost tourism. Chaired by the Prime Minister, the meeting evaluated potential changes that could be made including the possible reduction of ground handling charges by 40% and the reduction of the embarkation levy from US$60 to US$40.
  • Sri Lanka Tourism Authority Chairman says industry is recovering faster than expected
    SLTA Chairman Kishu Gomes has explained that the country is currently recovering faster than initially expected and was thinking beyond just the recovery phase. He further noted that large scale international events were planned in Colombo in the coming months.


1st July 2019

  • Chinese travel-promotion delegation to tour Sri Lanka in July
    Sri Lankan authorities have organized a Chinese delegation of 100 travel agents to tour the island from the 1st to 7th July. Several Chinese journalists have already completed a familiarization visit. Both tours have been organized with the aim of increasing Chinese Tourist arrivals to the island again.