News-briefs-Aug-8-1Tourist arrivals top 1 million in July

Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals in July grew 19.1 percent from a year earlier to 209,351, with China, India and Western Europe leading, the economynext website reports. Chinese visitors were up 21.9 percent to 30,631, with India up 12.1 percent to 27,665.

In the 7-months to July, Chinese tourist arrivals rose 36.6 percent to 163,473; India, the top generating market, up 17.9 percent to 200,506; Britain up 16 percent to 23,948 (110,649); and Germany up 29 percent to 10,971 (75,537). Overall Western European arrivals were up 20 percent to 77,862.

Attracting more Qatari visitors 

Sri Lanka is banking on its growing tourism industry to entice more Qatari nationals and expatriates to visit the country’s tourist destinations, the Gulf Times reports.

It quotes ambassador W M Karunadasa saying: “Many Qataris visit Sri Lanka but still many people do not know about the beauty of Sri Lanka and the many destinations that the country can offer to its tourists. There are many tourist destinations that can be visited in about four days, especially if visitors plan to stay in different places.”

Online travel agencies trounce hotel websites

More would-be tourists are using online travel agencies (OTAs) than visit hotel websites to find accommodation, according to a 4hotels online report.

That is particularly the case with Chinese travellers—more than nine in 10 online hotel shoppers in China used an OTA, while less than four in 10 used a hotel website.

Minimum room rate axe ‘a tourism boost’

The axing of government-imposed minimum room rates for Colombo hotels on April 1 next year may be a big boost for tourism, industry sources have said.

A lengthy Sunday Leader report notes that the decision was based on a recommendation of the Tourism Advisory Council, which is headed by Aitken Spence Group chairman Harry Jayewardena.

Sri Lanka boosts roadshow tourism promotions

The Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB) is boosting international roadshow promotions to help achieve its 2016 target of 2.2 million tourist arrivals, TTG Asia reports.

Mohan de S Meegolle, country manager for Singapore and Indonesia at Sri Lankan Airlines, says: “Sri Lanka is a wonderful destination with lots to offer but many do not know enough about it.”

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