Sri Lanka's tourism industry has been especially affected in recent years as a result of the foreign currency crisis due to the covid-19 pandemic impact.
The pandemic caused months of food and fuel shortages, prolonged blackouts, and runaway inflation.
The country has, however, put in place strategies to help the country recover from the effects of the pandemic.
One of the strategies is to diversify Sri Lanka’s offerings and target travelers looking for adventure holidays.
The Sri Lankan authority announced their plans during a Dubai conference for Arabian Travel Market held at Dubai World Trade Centre.
The country has just launched the pekoe trail, a 23-day hike through the mountains. This is one of the adventures that Sri Lanka is offering to tourists.
Sri Lanka plans to invest heavily in marine activities like diving, mountain climbing, and hiking, as well as sky diving.
The tourist ministry announced that they are investing in marine diving, mountain climbing, and hiking. Another activity they want to bring to Sri Lanka is ski diving, which previously was not prominent in the country.
According to the tourism minister, tourists from the GCC will play an important role in ensuring Sri Lanka continues to recover from its recent years’ economic problems. Sri Lanka targets the Middle Eastern market mostly to boost their adventure tourism.
In the past, the country majorly focused on the number of tourists they received without looking at the quality of their services or the quality of the tourists.
This meant quantity over quality, but now the country aims to move to quality over quantity by providing quality and a variety of adventures for tourists.
The tourism ministry admitted that they were desperate to get tourists back to Sri Lanka but then realized that was only a short-term goal. Sri Lank now plans to move to a long-term strategy to keep the tourism sector afloat.
By focusing on quality over quantity, Sri Lanka will attract tourists who are likely to spend more on their holidays.
According to reports by the ministry, the average spending of tourists in Sri Lanka is $200-250, the figures which the country would not want. The target is to move the tourist spending by $400-500 by next year.
The tourism ministry is not trying to make Sri Lanka expensive but instead wants to make it the destination of choice when it comes to inexpensive luxury.
In 2022, Sri Lanka witnessed power outages and a shortage of essential goods; inflation rates went as high as 50%.
Protesters took part in demonstrations in Colombo and spread to other parts of the country over the economic crisis.
Schools were closed, and people were urged to work from home due to the fuel crisis in the country. For the first time in history, Sri Lanka could not pay their foreign debt. A change in leadership also catalyzed the economic crisis.
This March, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a $3 billion bailout loan to help the country restructure its dep and address the economic crisis.
The Sri Lankan rupee has strengthened, and in May, it was announced by Bloomberg as the best-performing currency in the world. It has been a tough time for Sri Lanka in the last year, but the country has bounced back from where it was.
With a stable economy, tourists are assured of better conditions in the country and can now enjoy quality adventures.
After months of chaos in Sri Lanka, tourism is now back, stronger and better than ever, including the development of new adventure activities.
Leisure companies and hotel chains are looking to set up in Sri Lanka. According to Suresh Rajendra, the president of leisure for the John Keels Group, which is the parent company of Cinnamon Hotels, the complexion of tourism in Sri Lanka is changing from the usual tourism of beach stays and cultural tours.
Colombo, for instance, is starting to attract the conference market, which is bringing in more tourists from India and China. Cinnamon Hotels has plans to start a Colombo-based resort in Dubai.