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Dreadful Easter Sunday Attacks: The Painful Blow on Tourism in Sri Lanka

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Easter Sunday suicidal bombing was a dreadful affair for Sri Lanka. After the end of civil war, Sri Lanka embarked with 10 years of relative peace. Once again these bomb attacks awaken the constant state of fear in Sri Lankans. These attacks not only damage people's everyday lives but also disrupted the country’s tourism industry as well. Tourism is the third biggest foreign exchange earner in the nation.

This tiny island in the Indian Ocean known for its beautiful sandy beaches and warm sunsets now facing a sudden drop in tourists’ arrival after the deadly bomb attacks. More than 40 foreign tourists have died due to the terrorists’ bomb explosions that were happened in The Kingsbury Hotel, Shangri-La Hotel and the Cinnamon Grand in Colombo. After the bomb explosions, many tourists who were in Sri Lanka immediately left the country and many foreign tourists are cancelling their trips to Sri Lanka. Beside that Lots of nations across the world cautioned their people against travelling to Sri Lanka.

Countries like Australia, China, the US and the UK Sent warnings to their people about travelling to Sri Lanka. This is a painful blow in Sri Lanka’s tourism industry which is heavily relied on visitors. After the civil war’s end in 2009.Sri Lanka bloom as a peaceful place to visit. Travel guides from Lonely Planet branded Sri Lanka as a top travel destination in 2019. But these destructive bomb attacks caused massive damage to Sri Lanka and it's tourism industry.

According to ForwardKeys - The reference for global traveller intelligence analysis cancellations of remaining flight bookings to Sri Lanka surged 86.2% while new bookings fell away and Advance bookings for July and August fell to 0.3% behind. ForwardKeys examines over 17 million flight booking transactions a day, ForwardKeys stated that prior to the Easter Sunday Suicidal bomb attacks Sri Lanka’s tourism industry was showing well growth till April 20th,2019 with the number of flight bookings up by 3.4%.Both directly and indirectly, one in every ten Sri Lankan families reliant on tourism for their living which means more than 800,000 jobs that are around 10% of total employment in the nation depend on the tourism industry. Each year Tourism industry earns nearly $4.4 billion to Sri Lanka which is 5% of the nation's annual GDP.

The Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), Kishu Gomes stated that "We cannot let ourselves to become paralyzed by fear, almost half a million families across the country rely on tourism for their daily living; the effect on our tourism industry must be mitigated. We are working to regain the confidence of international visitors and operators by demonstrating that Sri Lanka's response to the incident is effective while reassuring future travellers that all essential steps are being taken by the Sri Lanka Government to avoid any future occurrences and ensure the continued safety and security tourists within the country."

In the meantime, Sanath Ukwatte the President of The Hotels Association of Sri Lanka (THASL) stated that they coarsely estimate that the loss to Sri Lanka’s tourism industry might be about 1.5 billion USD causing from the Easter Sunday bomb explosions.

At the moment, it is really too early to forecast what’s the impact on tourism to Sri Lanka will be, as the sudden upsurge of cancellations affects trips planned in the very near period only and Sri Lanka on its offseason now, So we can't predict the accurate effects on tourism. Sri Lanka government also taking quick actions to rectify the damages and rebuild the trust among global tourists in terms of safety and security.

In the past, we have seen that after a major security threatening event in one season affected the very next season of tourism. But at the same time, we have witnessed a relatively quick pick up in the tourism industry. This has been the regular pattern in the Sri Lanka tourism industry.

In Closing…

The government has begun to take necessary actions to rebuild the tourism industry and its stability. We hope Sri Lanka regain its glory as of the best tourist destination in the world and offer something for everyone who going to visit this beautiful island and we are grateful to the tourists who stated that they will continue to visit our island for its breathtaking natural and cultural attractions. We, Sri Lankans, rebuild your island paradise in Asia.

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