Purpose – This paper aims to analyze the current state of tourism in Sri Lanka and make practical suggestions for the future. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is written in the context of a strategic question: “how might post‐war Sri Lanka develop inbound tourism?” An analytical approach is taken to discuss potential growth of tourism in Sri Lanka from 2013 to 2016. Findings – 26 years of war affected tourism in Sri Lanka negatively and a dramatic turnaround came when the war ended in 2009. In 2012 most tourist generating countries indicated significant growth. In 2012 Sri Lanka passed two milestones in its tourism history by emerging as a “Million Tourist Destination” and a “Billion Dollar Export Income Earner”. However, from 1,005,605 tourists in 2012, the number who utilized tourist services and facilities is established as 725,000. Sri Lanka is now aiming to attract 2.5 million tourists by 2016. The paper debates that this target is not realistic. Practical implications – To further develop tourism, Sri Lanka must develop a practical plan with realistic targets. In conclusion, the authors suggest a ten‐point plan. Originality/value – This paper aims to learn from the present and plan for the future. A former Marketing Director of the national tourism authority of Sri Lanka joined hands with an international hospitality and tourism educator to co‐write this paper to advocate for a practical approach in forecasting realistic targets for tourism growth in Sri Lanka.
Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 8, 2013
Keywords: Sri Lanka; Tourism; Tourism markets; Accommodation occupancy; Air transport; Tourism targets
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