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‘Most foreign tourists to SL are backpackers’

Sri Lanka should promote high end tourists into the country because most tourists who arrive in the country do not even occupy a normal hotel. They are mainly backpackers, Chief Executive Officer, The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka Laleenie Hulangamuwa said.


“At this juncture we are in the process of addressing this issue to promote high end tourists into the country and to upgrade Sri Lanka to help classify it as a high spenders’ destination while improving the infrastructure and the quality of service by way of providing unique holiday destinations, Hulangamuwa said at a media conference to announce the 25th National Mixology Challenge 2017, organised by Free Lanka Trading Company in association with the Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL).


This event’s preliminary rounds include seminars and competitions that are about to commence in seven regions of Sri Lanka. The seminars and competitions are open to all personnel employed by the Sri Lanka Tourist Board approved hotels, restaurants and other catering establishments involved in bartending, Students of various Hotel Schools in the country are eligible to participate in the regional competitions.


The CEO said that more than half of tourists who arrive in the country do not occupy hotels and, therefore, some hotels suffer because they are not able to pay their overheads.


‘It is more beneficial to have high-end tourists. It’s not the numbers but the spending power that matters to the Sri Lankan economy, she said.


“Unfortunately, due to the war, we undersold our product just to survive. This scenario is now changing where Sri Lanka is getting a fair value for the product on board, she added.


Head of Sales and Marketing of Freelanka Trading Company Asela Kumaranathunga said the category of visitors to Sri Lanka is tending to veer towards the affluent and high end tourists who consume wines and spirits.


The Master Mixer’s Challenge contest is currently under way at the preliminary level and will reach its climax at the finals, scheduled for October 23, 2017 at Kingsbury Hotel Colombo.

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