Sri Lanka is a country located on the same island in the Indian Ocean. It is a unitary state with a presidential form of government. In the history course Sri Lanka was under the domination of India, Portugal, the Netherlands and the UK. In 1948 Sri Lanka gained independence and in 1972 changed its name of Ceylon to Sri Lanka, which means “blessed land”. Colombo is informal capital city, and the official – the nearby town of Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte. Under the current constitution of 1978, the President is the chief executive and the chief of the armed forces. Traffic on the island is left-sided. Buses and trains are the only means of public transportation. Fares for private and public buses are the same and one of the lowest in the world. Sri Lanka is a member of such international organizations as the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, the Commonwealth of Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the South Asian Association for regional aid and others. According to TRADING ECONOMICS (2015) the population of Sri Lanka is 20.5 million people (2013). INDEX MUNDI (2015) informed that Sinhalese make up about 75%, Tamils – about 18% of the population. Also Lankan Moors (larakalla – descendants of the Arabs) live on the island – about 7%, Burghers (descendants of mixed marriages with Europeans) – about 0.3%. The number of the Vedas, the ancient descendants of the island’s population is only about 1 thousand people. TRADING ECONOMICS (2015) stated that Sri Lanka is agriculture, forestry and fisheries produce 21% of GDP, industry and construction – 27%, services – 52%. The leading role of the services sector is in line with established international specialization in trade and intermediary operations. In the agricultural sector an important role belongs to high-value plantations (tea – 12% of farmland is occupied, rubber, coconut, etc.). Much of the food (sugar, wheat and rice) is imported. The manufacturing industry is focused on local raw materials (tea, rubber, coconut, tobacco, precious woods, precious and semi-precious stones), imported materials (metallurgy, oil refining, electronics) and export of their products.
Based on the information form CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (2015) tourism is a vital sector of country’s development. Guests visiting Sri Lanka are offered an interesting tour around ancient cities of the island. This allows them to learn about the culture, history, tradition, architecture and religious customs of the country. The tour usually includes cities such as Anuradhapura, Polonaruva, Sigiriya, Kandy, Colombo, as well as the ancient temple of Dambulla. One of the most prominent religious and cultural events that travelers, who choose tours to Sri Lanka, could see is a ceremony for the removal of the Sacred Tooth Relic of the temple Dalada Maligawa in Kandy Tooth Relic and the journey in a precious chest, on the back of a trained elephant through the city streets, at the confluence of admiring crowds of people. This ceremony takes place during the 10-day festival of Esala Perahera and is accompanied by a procession of hundreds of temple elephants surrounded by bearers, dancers and torchbearers.
The great explorer Marco Polo saw Sri Lanka the finest island in the world. It is no accident that according to legend the Adam’s and Eve’s Old Testament Garden of Eden was here. At any time, Sri Lanka affects the feeling of eternal summer and constant riot of rich colors. Buddhism is the main religion. According to INDEX MUNDI (2015) Sri Lanka has a high level of literacy (90%) and well-functioning education system. Almost all children aged 5 to 14 years (98%) are enrolled in primary and secondary schools, a large part of them continues education in numerous colleges and 11 universities. The most prestigious state universities are considered to be in Colombo and Peradeniya, and the two higher Buddhist learning centers – Vidodaya and Vidyalankara. Public health in Sri Lanka is one of the most effective actions in Asia. Along with it the country has an extensive network of clinics of traditional medicine – Ayurveda.
Tourism Development Strategy 2011-2016 Overview
TARGET (2015) informed that under the supervision of Minister Basil Rajapaksa the original Tourism Strategy for Sri Lanka was documented by the Ministry of Economic Development for 2011-2016 periods. It is known that starting from the middle of 2009 the tourism field in Sri Lanka has been prosperous with the quantity of visitors rolling quickly every month. The first six months in 2011 were characterized by 381,538 tourists amounted to 36.9% and the income of US$ 370.1 Mio amounted to 50% compared to the previous period.
MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (2011) provided with several crucial goals to be attained within the 5 year policy, which include the growth of the amount of tourists by almost four times from 650,000 in 2010 to 2.5 million by 2016; the attraction of USD 3,000 Mio as FDI to the state; the growth of engagement staff in tourism by four times from 125,000 in 2010 to 500,000 by 2016 and enlargement of tourism grounded business and amenities all over island; distribution of the economic welfares from tourism industry to a greater cross segment of the public and incorporation of tourism to the real economy; the significant growth of the foreign exchange incomes from USD 500 million in 2010 to USD 2.75 billion by 2016; improvement of the international trade and financial relations of the country and the identification of country’s position as the world’s most valued island for tourism industry.
It has to be Sri Lanka, the chosen country for the policy implementation, because it has authenticity, density and variety as well as the green nature. In 2010, The New York Times approved the country as No. 1 in the list of 30 places to discover. Sri Lanka’s tourism was confirmed to be promoted considering eight various product groups, namely beaches, heritage, scenic, wild life, festive, thrill, bliss and essence (ILO, 2011).
With reference to THE SRI LANKA TOURISM DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (2011) the Tourism Policy consists of 36 pages, which combine the potentials established for the expansion of tourism business in the mentioned time period relating to all sides of infrastructure improvement, standardization of goods and amenities, development of the brand awareness and in conclusion linking all efforts in the direction of sustainability achievement in the long-time perspective as successful segment straightly contributing a great portion to Sri Lanka’s Economic Development. The strategy launch was decided by Ministry of Economic Development in the appropriate period to attract attention of all stakeholders to fund to attain established objectives stated in the publication concentrating procedures and goals until 2020.
In general, the development of tourism gives the country the following advantages, namely an increase in cash flow, including the inflow of foreign currency, and hence income growth; GNP growth; replenishment of the increase in tax revenues of the host region and other income; creation of new jobs, i. e. increased employment; raising capital, including foreign ones; multiplier effect – developing the tourism industry, the country gradually develops other industries; infrastructure development; reforming the structure of recreation, which can be used by both tourists and the local population; and improvement of the quality of local residents’ lives due to the demonstration effect. BIYAGAMAGE and JAYAWARDENA (2013, p. 509) considered that Sustainable Coastal Tourism can add vitality to communities in various ways. One example is that cultural events and festivals, in which local residents were the main actors and the audience, are frequently updated and developed in accordance with the interests of tourists. The jobs created by the tourism sector can be an important reason for the reduction of emigration from rural areas. Local people can also increase their influence on tourism development, as well as to improve their income and employment through vocational training in the field of tourism, and the development of business and organizational qualities.
The overall impact of Travel & Tourism to GDP (plus broader outcomes from investment, the supply chain and induced income impacts, see page 2) can be estimated in the amount of LKR800.7bn in 2013 (9.4% of GDP) and is projected to increase by 4.3% to LKR835.3bn (9.1% of GDP) in 2014. The overall effect on employment can be expressed in 688,500 positions in 2013 (8.4% of overall employment). This is prediction to decrease by 1.6% in 2014 to 677,500 positions (8.3% of overall employment) (WORLD TRAVEL & TOURISM COUNCIL, 2014).
TARGET (2011) highlighted that there have been transportation decisions as well to attract arrivals into the country and one of the chief fields of accelerated trip has been the advancement of the actual use of sea aircrafts and taking into account the water bodies of Sri Lanka, sea aircrafts have been considered as the perfect decision for the high income arrivals. For example, LOKUHETTY, JAYAWARDENA and MUDADENIYA (2013, p. 491) said that SriLankan Airlines concentrated on penetration of new and current Asian markets, in advance of its access into the Oneworld Alliance. The company at present has a main emphasis on South Asia, which makes up 41% of its worldwide seat size, but is projected to target North Asia by growing size from China and South Korea. The SLTDA has additionally had debates with Sri Lanka Railways to sponsor train ride by renovating the roads and postures and correspondingly make the rail roads nearer to the central traveler destinations. The document moreover stresses several standards for interesting the necessary category of arrivals and correspondingly high income travelers. The three crucial fields that require attention are dividing the market and detecting the necessary category of travelers, marketing communication and promotion activities smoothing arrivals.
Challenges for Sri Lanka Tourism
According to FINANCIAL TIMES (2014) there are six problems in the tourism business of Sri Lanka, namely deepening and expanding the obtainability of tourism records, targeting 2.5 million travelers by 2016, minimum process for Colombo hotels, human resource restriction, brand endpoint and marketing strategy. In order to perform wide-ranging analysis an accurate database is required. Also it is important to define the type of targeted travelers among high-end, middle or the lower-end. Sri Lanka is known as a “value for-money cheap-end destination” and it is country’s preference. Speaking about targeting 2.5 million travelers by 2016 it is necessary to remember about the available rooms and the prospect of their increase. It is vital to remember about seasonal factor, when the peak season is from November till April. The climate on the island is tropical with monsoon seasons pass. Almost 95% of all rainfall occurs during the rainy summer season from May to the end of October, and mainly at night. The rest of the year is quite dry, so the period from November to the end of April is the most favorable for a holiday in Sri Lanka. Minimum price for Colombo hotels were set after the war finished to regulate price weakening in city hotels and really reveal the norm of the hotels in the lack of the war-risk influence. Consequently, the Colombo city hotel tariffs have risen by 40%-50%. The minimum price is appropriate as an original adjustment but moreover has its fall outs just like the market price which boosts weakening. As for human resort restriction, it is about the ability to meet the increase of hotel rooms and quantity of hotels. The staff has to remain high-skilled and well-prepared. LIYANAG and JAYAWARDENA (2013) considered that in order to attain defined in the strategy objective, an efficient tourism promotional strategy should be applied. For brand endpoint, while previously Sri Lanka several years had a motto ‘”Paradise Island”, by the late 1990s, it transformed to “Land Like No Other”, then it chose the existing one: “Wonder of Asia”. Branding an endpoint should be a gently-thought-out idea grounded on the competitive preference and intentional location regarding the rivals. It is on this foundation that states have branded their tourism. It is better to use links with global media predominantly in media communities of target markets. Finally, Sri Lanka doesn’t have consistent marketing strategy and campaign, which should be a mutually-agreed private-public partnership. This especially concerns domestic tourism while using media for marketing new locations, publications of manuals, maps and signposts.
It is worth mentioning that there are Sri Lanka’s Asian rivals, which are at a greatly higher rate of tourism segment contribution to GDP, for instance, Malaysia – 12.5%, Vietnam – 7.5% and Singapore – 5%. Specified problems amongst others have to be talked on a fast path foundation if Sri Lanka is to ensure the tourism business over 5% of GDP contributor to the economy after 2016. This is definitely not an unbearable mission if a strategy campaign is performed by the market and the Government (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2014).
KAMBLE and BOUCHON (2014, p. 236) explained that the economic preferences available in tourism are noticeable mainly by the outstanding growth in travelers’ amount to Sri Lanka. The marketing impact in promoting Sri Lanka has brought worthy dividends. Through the various tourism goods that the country of Sri Lanka can suggest and the prospect of additional tourism goods from the unharmed North and East, Tamil common areas, deliver a solid package for travelers. Country’s hospitality segment requires to be advanced quicker to satisfy the growing demand. Nevertheless, social issues still has to be talked. Optimistic peace is the approach presumptuous, which should contain authorization of the lesser groups that have been driven to poverty due to the war. This presence will appeal to the affirmative welfares and settle the alienated various groups in Sri Lanka, encouraging faith in the administration and assisting advancement. For a state that had been attacked by war for more than 30 years, its end has been an expressively challenging episode for all borders. Sri Lanka requires settlement and can be intended over Special Interest Tourism. The growth in travelers, different investments inflows, it strategic position, infrastructure and advance plans all specify that it has huge potential for growth, delivered that the “New Sri Lanka’s” readiness to incorporate, endure and associate. Therefore, making “Mahinda Chintana” more than a motto and the tourism Blueprint prosperous relies on the shared efforts of obligation from the administration and the different publics.
In general, Tourism Development Strategy 2011-2016 focused on the growth of the number of travelers to Sri Lanka through creating attractive perception globally, development of key cities and growth of tourism frankness; promotion of up-scale tourism through safety standards and funding shopping practice; variety tourism through organization of adventure tours, improvement of facilities for observing incredible coral reefs, promotion of healthcare tourism, agro-tourism and community-based type of tourism; concentration on new markets; development of tourism infrastructure through growth of accommodation scope and facilitation of public-private cooperation; popularization of traveler’s destinations; promotion of domestic tourism; improvement of business professionalism through introduction of subjects on hospitality into universities’ curricula, license of tour guides and increase in private segment work out institutions; conservation of nature attractions (establishment of new parks and zones); and improvement of service standards (MINISTRY OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, 2011).
Based on the above, here are opened huge prospects of tourism development according to JAYAWARDENA (2013, p. 528), namely the development of mountain sports, creation of new mountain resorts, excursions to nature reserves, national parks, excursions to temples, churches, cathedrals, etc., development of medical tourism in the center of Ayurvedic medicine, construction of hotels; and organization of pilgrimage tours to Adam’s Peak and in the Temple of the Tooth in Kandy.
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