Dreamy Island Tours

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What markets are we targeting for tourism and why?

The top markets are India, China, UK, Germany, France, Russia and the Middles East. However, there are emerging markets, which are Scandinavia, Australian and New Zealand. We also need to have a greater focus on the US market. We need to focus more on the European market as they stay the longest in Sri Lanka when compared with Asians.

How are we positioning Sri Lanka in terms of category and rates? Are we targeting the correct segments?

We are not only looking at the numbers, we are looking at the yields as well. We have to focus on niche markets. Golf is one area that we need to look at and we must have a golf circuit in this country. The percentage of the ageing population is increasing. This segment is actually the cruise ship market. I am in discussion with the Ports Authority on how we can facilitate cruise ships in Colombo, Trincomalee and Hambantota.

Yachts are another area where travellers pay a premium price. They travel to the East, Jaffna, Galle and Hambantota. They travel around the country by sea.

With upmarket tourism, international brands will start to come into Sri Lanka. We need to have a more open sky policy where airlines are given the opportunity to bring passengers to Sri Lanka. In this way, we can attract more tourists. Today Sri Lanka is not only connected by road or water, but it is also connected by air, so we need to look at the very good policy. We may have a national carrier, that is fine but we need to open up. Sri Lanka can be a centre of connectivity.

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