Sri Lanka mulls to tap tourists from India for quick tourism revival amid crisis | Travel

Sri Lanka plans to tap Indian tourists to revive the South Asian island’s battered tourism sector and boost its depleted foreign exchange reserves.

Officials will hold roadshows in five Indian cities from next month to attract travelers seeking “wellness, leisure and Ramayana-trail” tours, corporate functions and destination weddings, the South Asian island’s Tourism Minister Harin Fernando said. Ramayana is the legendary life story of the Hindu god Rama.

“We believe Indian tourists are very important for us in the short term,” he said in a virtual conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

The worst economic downturn since independence, coupled with political turmoil, has hit the nation’s tourism sector, a key driver of foreign currency inflows. Sri Lanka’s forex pile dwindled to just $1.89 billion in May, but nearly $6 billion is needed over the next few months to deal with the deficit and support its currency.

The South Asian nation is banking heavily on multilateral institutions, including the International Monetary Fund and friendly countries, to help tide over the crisis. Neighboring India, so far, has extended $3.5 billion in support over the past few months.

Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and New Delhi have been selected for the roadshows, Fernando said, adding that the bankrupt nation hopes to attract around 1 million tourists by 2022. Sri Lanka welcomed nearly 2.5 million tourists in 2018. A terrorist attack on Easter Sunday dried up arrivals.

Fernando said the government had decided to secure more oil supplies by next week, including enough jet fuel to ensure international airlines could fly to the country, prompting the UK government to reverse Sri Lanka’s recent travel advisory. .

This story was published by Wire Agency Feed without text modification. Only the title has been changed.

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