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Tourism Industry in Sri Lanka

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Tourism
Wordcount: 2967 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Sri Lanka belongs to South Asia and it is situated in the Indian Ocean as an island. Sri Lanka is famous for its location, cultural diversion, weather and for historic places. This essay analysis about the tourism industry in Sri Lanka. Tourism industry plays a significant role in the Sri Lankan economy. It will contribute an amount of USD17, 639.9 (WTTC, Sri Lanka P 5). As In the Tourism Management, Wiley 2014 – WTS method “The movement of tourists between residence and a destination, by way of a transit region, and within the destination, comprises the primary flow of energy within this system.” This lieprs WTS module has been a great help us to understand the sector of tourism in Sri Lanka. Also, the Butler’s life cycle which will tell us about tourist resorts and seeing how they change over time and in relation to the changing demands of the tourist industry has been a great opportunity to identify the development of tourism in Sri Lanka. In the first, the essay has delivered an overview of Sri Lankan tourism and the development of it. Then it has explained the reasons for attracting tourists into Sri Lanka and has described the role of tour operators in Sri Lanka. In the ending of this research has explained about the sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka.

Section 01

Sri Lanka is known worldwide because of its natural beauty. This beauty has blessed with mesmerizing waterfall, sandy beaches, tea plantations and also with natural beaches. Sri Lanka has focused on the tourism industry in the 1960s with the government’s involvement. In 1966 the Ceylon Tourist Board (CTB) was created and also the Ceylon hotel cooperation was set up. In 1968’s ‘The Tourist Development Acts’ has provided the authority to develop this industry in a planned and controlled basis. Then it can control the quality of Sri Lankan tourism rather than concentrating the quantity (Lieper, 2004). According to the flow of the tourism performance Tourism Act, No 38 of 2005 was replaced instead of Sri Lanka Tourist Board Act No 10 of 1966. From the above act, the Sri Lankan Tourism Board is legally funded by 1/3 from the airport tax collection and 1% from the turnover of the establishments of Sri Lankan Tourist Boards. Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority, Sri Lanka Promotions Bureau, Sri Lanka Convention Bureau and Sri Lanka Institute of Hotel Management were replaced as a result of the fund.

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As to the annual statistics of Sri Lankan Development Authority (2017) tourist arrival has been growth by 3.2% comparing to the past few years the number of tourists arrivals shows as 2,116,407. Those statistics clarifies that the government has received US$ 3,924.9 in the year of 2017. This is a growth of 11.5%. SLTDA has selected 3,634 establishments related to tourism and has done a survey for the annual report. As to this report, the number of employees calculates as 156,369 it is a growth of 7.01% compared to 2016. 85.52% are working directly in hotels and restaurants and the other 14.48% are working related to the tourism industry.

The best method of assessing development is Buttler’s life cycle. Under this method, we can study the changes in hotels and resorts over time in relation to the demand of the tourist industry. Then easily we can compare them with the statistics and provide the report. Buttler has mentioned tourist development into five stages.

  1. The exploration stage: This is the stage that development is starting. Sri Lanka’s northern region is an example of that. It is been currently blooming after the civil war. Many development themes had been started in order to attract tourist and some places of tourist attractions have been renovated like Jaffna fort, Nagadeepaya Purana viharaya, Casuarina beach, Kadurugoda Temple and Nallur Kandaswamy Temple (Tourism strategy plan 2017-2020). But still, some infrastructures are under construction. As a result of that, 70.98% has visited the northern region according to the annual statics report from SLTDA.
  2. The involvement stage: On this stage, locals are trying to invest in the industry since is an attractive number of visitors. Puttalam, Taleimannar, Kalpitiya and Mannar are some of the examples for this stage. Recently the number of advertisements has been recorded on Airbnb in those areas.
  3. The development stage: This will relate with direct foreign investment since there are ranges of visitors and followed by heavy advertisement. Western, Southern and Hill country regions are the best for this stage.
  4. The Consolidation stage: When the main income is tourism, tourist attractive levels are increasing but under decreasing rate. In order to overcome this stage mainly, they consider marketing.
  5. Stagnation: Success of the destination. Cultural Triangle, Southern region and Colombo city is an example of the success destinations in Sri Lanka due to the high number of tourists. Though there are high numbers still government runs many projects to enhance the tourists more.

Section 02

In 1977, Dan has introduced a method called Dan’s push and pull factors. Factors which will encourage the tourist to visit the TDR is push factors and the factors which attract the tourist called as the pull factors. This method has an interrelation with the WTS system. Push factors will push the traveller from the TGR and the pull factor will attract the traveller to the TDR. This attractiveness is further described by the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which explain the psychological, safety, social, esteem and self-actualization needs. Full filling these above factors will be the reason for this attractiveness (Aslam, 2016). Most of the tourist intend to come in order to avoid their busy life and to relax. As to the statistics of the SLTDA Annual report it shows that most number of tourist has occupied the accommodation sector in Colombo city, figures have been proved that by 75.31%. Not only the relaxation also to get experience from the different lifestyle, learn new things, trying many more different foods and to meet different people are the most strong push factors from the TGR towards Sri Lanka. On the hand, by examining the dan’s pull factors shows the reason to attract tourist towards Sri Lanka which the TDR. There are four different stages of pull factors; primary, secondary, moderate and the least motives are four of them.

  1. Primary pull motives: Natural beauty of Sri Lanka and the flora and fauna diversity are the main examples for this.
  2. Secondary & moderate pull motives: Sri Lankan culture, Wildlife, Ancient cities, Sandy beaches, natural parks can identify as the secondary pull motives.
  3. Least pull motives: Nightlife is a good example of this factor since Sri Lanka is most strict about maintaining the ancient culture from the ancestors. Colombo city has some few night life style.

SLTDA annual statistics stated that among the tourists, 33.2% are professionals, 19.5% are for educational category and 19.4 are for the business purpose. Most of the above tourists were between the age of 30-39 and it is 24.6%. Age category between 20-29 was 17.9% (SLTDA annual report 2017). As to the statistics above the professionals and the educational purpose, tourists are mostly visiting the cultural triangle since it contains the whole history of Sri Lanka and also breathtaking views as well. 978,606 tourists have visited the cultural triangle among those 563,039 were for Sigiriya since the historic value, research purposes also to the beauty of it. Since the southern coast is the best place for relaxation and to spend holidays no matters the age group every tourist will spend time over there. Annual statistics report stated that the accommodation capacity is 8,270 which the highest rate while comparing to others.

Section 03

Leiper’s WTS model states there are 5 elements within the system, one of which is the tourism industry. Therefore, the role of tour operators in Sri Lanka is described. Sri Lankan tour operators and travel agencies work with stakeholders in various TGRs and cooperate with local hotels, guest houses and camping. Tour operator plays a major role in the WTS since they can push the tourists towards Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Association of inbound tour operators has been established by the destination management companies who already formed by many companies who receive foreign tourists to Sri Lanka. SLAITO is the one who guides those policymakers of the company in order to provide a better tourism arena. This association always maintain a good relationship with government bodies in order to support tourism in Sri Lanka. SLAITO also has a connection with high reputed foreign travel agencies to promote Sri Lanka and to enhance Sri Lankan tourism. In present Sri Lanka, there are so many tour operations who deal with local and foreign tourism. Among them, the most popular tour operations are Walker’s tours, Jetwing travellers, Aitken Spence, Red dot and Tangerine. Their main responsibility is to guide their tourists within Sri Lanka and giving the customer a better experience.  Aitken Spence travel group has a famous tour package defined as a mini-tour package. From this package you can visit the historic places and wonders such as Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura which are the famous places in cultural triangle then journey to the misty hills which the local are defined as Nuwara-Eliya, Kandy and Kandapola and final visit is on Ahungalla which is a great hotel to take sunbath and for relaxation. Jetwing tour operators offer an amazing tour which you can travel for some places by cycle and also there Ayurvedic Journey also famous among the tourists since it contains many relaxation methods. Those major tour operators have developed their business industry in tourism and also owned many luxurious hotels. Aitken Spence owned the Heritance group of Hotels and Jetwing travel operators own the Jetwing group of Hotels. Conducting a tour to Sri Lanka via those tour operators are the best because it provides amazing feeling about Sri Lanka with luxurious accommodation.  SLTDA annual report statistic has confirmed it by a 74.64% occupancy rate which the highest rate among others.

Section 04

 As to the Wikipedia Sustainable tourism industry define as ‘committed to making a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate future employment for local people. The positive of sustainable tourism is to ensure that development is a positive experience for local people; tourism companies; and tourists themselves.’ Also, Liper in 2004 has stated that sustainability has the ability to create a relationship and also to balance the local region and the local destination. In 2004 the UNWTO mentioned that optimizing environment is a key factor to develop tourism meanwhile they should protect the natural heritage and the bio-diversity of the country. It should need to respect their social culture of the communities and need to help to build traditional value. Sustainable tourism is capable of to provide economic benefits to the people who involved in it and it should provide a better solution to poverty also need to provide opportunities for unemployment as well. Hao et al named a triangle in sustainable tourism in order to balance environmental and social activity to improve the business in the tourism industry. Reinstating the growth of the economy in the community also important for the industry to enhance the improvement of the valuable activity in the field. Sri Lanka needs more improvement in sustainability in the industry of tourism in order to develop. Since that Sri Lanka Tourism Authority has been established in order to optimize the use of the environment, the cultural resource also to respect the social-cultural and to obtain economic benefits to the domestic community, businesses via planning tourism and developing it. SLTDA has been joint with Nathan Associates in order to provide a better service to the industry and also to develop Sri Lanka as a better destination for the tourist. Below programs are involved with this project.

1.    Improving the mix of tourism products

2.    Upgrading tourism offerings

3.    Modernizing the industry’s organization and key institutions

4.    Reforming select tourism and investment policies

As to the SLTDA research, they stated that in order to development of the sustainable tourism needed to pass through the below factors,

Planning for development and land

use at sub national level to conserve the environment, maintain the quality of the visitor
experience, and provide benefits for local communities

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

To anticipate environmental impacts by undertaking comprehensive EIAs for all tourism development programs

Planning measures

Ensures that tourism development remains within national and local plans for all types of activity and implementing effective carrying capacity programs planning controls and management

Legislative framework

Establishing standards for land use in tourism development, facilities management and investment

Environmental standards

Improving the environmental quality and setting targets for reducing pollutions from all sectors and preventing development in inappropriate areas

        *SLTDA official website.

After considering the above factors and working together with Nathan Associates Sri Lanka has been progressed. Creating tourism zones, Adopting cleaning production and sustainable tourist management techniques, recognizing the main community and the stakeholder, implementing exciting rules and regulations are some of them ( SLTDA official website).


Sri Lanka is famous among the tourists for its natural beauty and for the diversity of its. The tourism industry is playing a major part in the Sri Lankan economy and it is contributing a large amount for the country. Most of the tourists are visiting Sri Lanka to avoid the busy life and for relaxation. Age category between 30-39 are the ones who visit the destination most and professional and educational tourists are among them. Those people mostly visiting the cultural triangle and never misses the southern court to spend their leisure time. SLTDA has joined with the Nathan associates in order to provide a better service for the tourists. Sri Lankan tourism is giving a better hand to develop sustainability in Sri Lanka in order to make the country one of the islands in the world

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