Sri Lanka’s tourism industry and its key UK partners say the country is well poised to make a quick comeback after the FCDO relaxed its travel advisory for the country last week.
The move was welcome by Jean-Marc Flaubert, Director Your Tourism Partner, which manages the sales and marketing for seven Sri Lankan clients in the UK.
He said: “We are very excited about the future for Sri Lanka Tourism – I expect the years of pent-up demand dating back to the Easter bombings in 2019 to drive sales.”
Flambert has visited Sri Lanka five times this year and says Sri Lankans “are really excited to welcome British visitors back”.
“The UK has always been the first destination to drive back business post a crisis and with agents a focus for us we look forward to working with the trade once more.”
Sam Clarke, founder of Experience Travel Group, said the removal of the FCDO advisory against travel to Sri Lanka would give the economy a much-needed boost and give hope and purpose to the lives of so many locals who depend on the tourist sector.
“We’re so pleased that the FCDO has lifted their advisory against travel to Sri Lanka. “We’re delighted for our friends and colleagues on the ground and for all of our customers looking forward to trips over the coming months. Sri Lanka is back,” he said.
Hiran Cooray, Chairman of Jetwing Hotels, the oldest family run group of hotels and villas in the country, commented: “We’ve been waiting anxiously for travel restrictions to be removed and we are thankful. Sri Lanka has never been so ready to welcome British travellers.
“All hotels, attractions, transport options both private and public are operating normally. In many ways this is indeed the best time to visit”.
Flambert said awaiting visitors are many new experiences created since 2018 that have not yet been fully promoted.
“We are ready with lots of fresh properties, experiences and stories,” he said.
“For example, Tabula Rasa, set on a hill overlooking the sea and with individual chalets and plunge pools, will be new for most British visitors. As will Kalundewa Retreat in Dambulla, with its nine suites set on 110 acres, and Madulekelle Tea and Eco Lodge in the Knuckles mountain range close to Kandy with hiking and spectacular views”
Cox & Kings’ 12-night The Enchanted Island tour leads in at $1,895pp. It promises to take clients to “both the popular and some of the lesser-known sites in northern, central, and southern Sri Lanka”.
A&K’s 15-night Luxury Sri Lanka option starts from £5,510pp and visits Anuradhapura, the Royal Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya, the Pooja ceremony at Kandy’s Temple of the Tooth Relic, the first-century Dambulla Cave Temple, Galle, the tea-growing regions and includes a safari in Yala National Park.