Sri Lanka has a growing tourism industry. Since gaining independence from the British in 1947, Sri Lanka has continued to attract foreign investors and tourists to the island. The country’s important placement also enables it to attract transit visitors into the island.
Over the years, many beautiful resorts, hotels and spas have opened. Incorporating the diverse culture of the country, the various Tourist Establishments here offer visitors a unique, yet memorable experience to remember with.
The Ceylon Tourism Board was formed in 1966 and in 2005, under a new Act of Parliament, the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA) was formed in that year.
Tourism is a fast growing industry, but with the credit crunch in 2008, tourist figures have dropped as people have less money to spend and companies are unable to expand as rapidly. There are a number of issues that tourism businesses, need to overcome.
Fluctuating oil prices have resulted in the airline industry imposing further fuel charges to cover high costs, which are unfortunately passed on to the consumer, through increased air ticket prices. Hence, consumers are forced into reconsider travelling during the peak seasons and for leisure purposes, due to the high costs. The decrease in the strength of the Sterling Pound against the Euro means for United Kingdom tourists the notion of going for a cheap holiday in Europe is disappearing. People are also becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and may want to decrease this by taking fewer flights.
The Sri Lanka Government established the Ceylon Tourist Board in 1966. The Board’s primary responsibility was to revitalise the tourism industry. Operating as an autonomous corporation, the Board had promotional and organisational responsibilities. Provisions for the tourists were largely based in the private sector, although the Board had facilities in areas where the private sector one establishments were considered inadequate.
Tourism expanded rapidly after 1966. The beach resorts were the main attractions while the ancient cities such as Anuradhapura, the historic city of Kandy, and the mountainous region dominated by the tea plantations were the other attractions to visit. Between 1976 and 1982, tourist arrivals increased 24% per annum, rising to 407,230 before dropping to 337,342 in 1983. A large bulk of the tourists was coming from Western Europe.
The civil conflict that started in July 1983 and had adversely affected tourism, with arrival figures reducing 43%, year on year (1982-3). Total arrivals were 230,106 in 1986, down 43% from 1982. The Ceylon Tourist Board provided a range of concessions to the industry in order to help them survive the crisis. In 1987, tourist arrivals declined 23% year on year (1986-7). In the mid-1980’s, the declining security situation began to have an increasingly negative impact on the Sri Lankan economy, and in early 1988 economic prospects for the 1990’s appeared to be linked in part to a resolution of the ethnic conflict.
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