Tourism in Sri Lanka is among the major economic activities that earn the country foreign income. For the past years, the world tourism industry has been hit by global economic and political pressures causing a decrease in the number of travelers to different destinations. However, Sri Lanka’s tourism has experienced a tremendous growth with more than one million tourists visiting the country in 2012.
Last year was an historical year for the country and it marked a new face of the tourism industry. Records set in terms of tourist numbers were broken in 2012 with more than a million tourists arriving in the country. This was amazing since they surpassed their 950,000-tourist mark they had targeted for 2012.
The revenue from the tourism industry has been of great economic benefits to many Sri Lankans. The government's agenda was to increase the benefits of tourism to the people and improve their livelihoods through linking their minds to tourism as a suitable source of income to the population.
Currently the tourism ministry has come up with workable plans and strategies that focus on the future of tourism in Sri Lanka. The authorities plan to get more than 2.5 million tourists by 2016.
However, there are problems, which need addressing to achieve the targeted goals. In the first place, the government has to beef up security in different attractions to give visitors confidence when they are in the country.
Furthermore, there is need for quality control in terms of tourist facilities for instance hotels. Mushrooming developments and poor hotel facilities do not cater for the needs of travelers. The country should practice effective planning of the development process of different establishments to ensure that visitors get quality services. There is the need to add up to the number of resorts and high-end hotels in the destination while maintaining sustainability.
Infrastructure is another important aspect that requires upgrading. Some tourist attractions are not accessible due to poorly developed infrastructural facilities. Tourists do not feel comfortable when travelling to such attractions as they pose some risks. The government should take the responsibility of improving infrastructure in different locations to ensure effective movement of visitors.
Furthermore, the tourism departments should apply more aggressive marketing techniques to attract visitors from different areas of the world. Through intensive marketing processes, the industry will attract many visitors from varied markets of the world to Sri Lanka. Achieving the goals will be easy once market segmentation is effective.
Rebranding is another way that can open up tourism in Sri Lanka. It will create uniqueness and set the destination apart in the competitive race. There is need to take the right measures to address branding and re-branding of the tourism sector for a better performance in the future.
Exploiting the existing opportunities is another thing that Sri Lanka has to consider. There are different opportunities that are yet to open up for the world market. Thorough research into those opportunities will lead to their identification and exploitation.