Belgium became the latest country to revise the travel advisory given to its nationals when visiting Sri Lanka. Belgium has relaxed its travel advisory this month deleting a reference in its September 2010 travel advisory which stated “given the security situation, all travelling to North and East of Sri Lanka not recommended”.
Several western and European countries had relaxed the travel advisory following the defeat of terrorism in May 2009. As a result, tourism industry in the country is flourishing now with increased influx of tourists. The tourist arrival has registered over 50 percent increase since the end of war in 2009.
The government has accorded highest priority to tourism development
with the aim of increasing the availability of room facilities from
the present 11000 to 35000 by the year 2015. Several resort areas have
been identified for tourism development with the private sector
According to reports Belgian tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka have
increased by 108.2 percent in the first 11 months of 2010 when
compared with corresponding periods of yester year. The increase in
tourist arrivals from Belgium in November 2010 alone, over that of
November 2009 was a staggering 290.5 percent.
The impact of these developments were amply demonstrated from the
attention Sri Lanka received at the 2010 Brussels Travel Expo (BT
Expo) which was held in Brussels this month. BT Expo, the largest
business to business tourism promotional event in the Belgium calendar
was attended by more than 250 exhibitors. The event dedicated to the
travel industry in Europe, attracted upto 4,000 trade visitors –
including leading professionals from destination management companies,
hotels and convention bureaus, as well as leading travel and business
Addressing over 50 journalists at a media event titled ‘Sri Lanka –
Back in Business’, held at the centre of the BT Expo pavilion, Sri
Lanka’s Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg and the EU, Ravinatha
Aryasinha said, “in less than one year since Sri Lanka got back on the
Belgian travel catalogues and only a month since a direct weekly
flight was launched, Belgium was clearly accelerating to where it left
off in Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals table, prior to terrorism
affecting the country”.
He said the representatives from over 40 Belgian companies who visited
Sri Lanka in November, some of whom were present on the occasion to
share their experiences, would testify to the fact that the country is
back in business and in no sector was it more visible than in the
tourism sector. Noting that traditionally Belgian visitors to Sri
Lanka were also high spenders and demanded quality, the Ambassador
assured that the rejuvenated travel sector in Sri Lanka is well geared
to meet their demands.