Sri Lanka tourism stumbles following terror attack
-A Monitor Report16 May, 2019 | 1086 Views|-+
Colombo : Analysis by ForwardKeys has revealed a tidal wave of cancellations has hit Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the terror attacks on Easter Sunday.
Three luxury properties_ Cinnamon Grand Hotel, Shangri-La and the Kingsbury Hotel_ were hit during the assault, along with three churches.
As many as 300 people are believed to have been killed in the assault, although the number has been revised down in recent days.
In the three days immediately after the bombings, cancellations of existing bookings surged 86.2 per cent whilst new bookings fell away.
The news follows a decision by the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office to advise against "all but essential" travel to the Indian Ocean destination.
In Sri Lanka's most important source markets, more people cancelled existing flights than made bookings on the equivalent day last year.
In order of size, that comprises India, China, the UK, Australia, Germany and France.
Forward bookings for July and August, which had been running 2.6 per cent ahead of last year, as of April 20, fell to 0.3 per cent behind as of April 23.
Prior to the Easter Sunday atrocities, Sri Lanka's tourism industry was showing healthy growth.
Flight bookings to Sri Lanka from January until April 20 were 3.4 per cent up on the same period in 2018.
The tourism highlights were Russia, Australia and China, which showed visitor increases of 45.7, 19.0 and 16.8 per cent respectively.
Jameson Wong, Director, Business Development, APAC, ForwardKeys, said, "At the moment, it is really too early to predict what the effect on tourism to Sri Lanka will be, as the initial wave of cancellations affects trips planned in the very near term.”