A Plea for Sri Lanka: Don’t Forget Destination


Sri Lanka

Many of the forts in Galle, Sri Lanka, were built by the Portuguese or Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries. The Sri Lanka tourism industry is working to attract visitors after recent terror attacks.

Author: Rajeev Kohli

The attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday have indeed been unprecedented in the country which has seen peace and a strong resurgence in tourism since the end of the civil war over a decade ago.

Sri Lanka

Rajeev Kohli

Unfortunately, this is not a unique incident in the world today and will probably not be the last of its kind. Sri Lanka went through 26 years of civil war which made the people resilient and determined to turn their country around. This time will be no different. But it is important for the international travel community, especially in incentive travel, not to abandon the destination.

The nation survives on tourism and needs the support of the global travel industry. Many nations over the past few years have gone through traumatic natural or man-made incidents that have impacted tourism. But we have also seen many of them getting affection and support from the tourism fraternity. We hope Sri Lanka will get the same.

In fact, at Creative Travel, we’ve received an outpouring of support after a communique that we recently sent out globally to over 70,000 travel industry professionals. I think people recognise the larger picture now of supporting destinations in distress.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan tourism authorities are meeting daily to plan and get PR activities on track, treading cautiously, of course. Whilst the politicians will continue their drama and blame game, the industry is determined to do all possible to get business back on track. I think the destination will bounce back soon. The global events industry has gotten used to this and has learned to move on faster.

Creative Travel has two impending group bookings for Sri Lanka — a 35-pax incentive from Belgium this month and a group of 50 parents and students for a cricket tour in June — both of which have indicated they will not cancel.

Based in India, Rajeev Kohli is joint managing director of Creative Travel DMC, which has operations in Sri Lanka.