Sri Lanka was the Lonely Planet guide’s top travel destination for 2019, but since the Easter Sunday attacks on churches and luxury hotels, foreign tourists have fled.
Many of those booked to come in the next few months have canceled. Hotel occupancy across the island has plummeted by 85% to 90%. The tropical beaches, restaurants and shops are empty.
The island’s Jetwing Hotels is leading an initiative to recover the country’s tourism industry with the formation of the Sri Lanka Tourism Alliance and the lovesrilanka.org website. So far, 35 mainly local brands are involved with the support of bigger names including Anantara and Movenpick.
The Alliance said it would provide tourists with advice “from credible sources on the ground”. A statement said: “The most critical aspect at moments like this is to ensure that the real situation on the ground with regard to the tourism sector is not lost in the midst of media, political and incident-specific reporting.
The UK Foreign Office advises against all but essential travel to the island, although this does not include transiting at Colombo airport.