Foreign visitors have just arrived from Sri Lanka as the island nation is grappling with an economic crisis.
Sharry and Anita, two British tourists, are staying in a four-star hotel in the capital Colombo. They canceled their vacation midway, and managed to return to London. “Protests broke out everywhere because of the lack of fuel. We didn’t know what to do so we went home,” Sharry said.
When we landed at the airport in Sri Lanka, we took the train to our hotel. But the train going midway had to stop because the power was cut off for more than 4 hours. We didn’t know what to do, and the family in London was worried too. So we went home,” Anita said.
Ishara, the manager of an accommodation facility in Colombo, says there are no more international arrivals. The hotel has 90 rooms, now only 30 rooms are occupied and all are domestic guests. All rooms booked in the near future have been cancelled. Due to power cuts 10-12 hours a day in Sri Lanka, hotels, restaurants… are holding out thanks to the use of generators. But it is also difficult for them to maintain this backup for long, when the fuel is running out.
“If the situation continues, Sri Lanka tourism faces a major employment crisis in the industry. Our bookings are being canceled. The worst thing is that next time there are no visitors, in when it’s the peak season,” said the CEO of another luxury hotel in the capital.
However, there are still tourists who decide to visit Sri Lanka at this time. Emma Boyle, British tourist, is one of them. She read the newspaper, and knew well what was going on but decided to come anyway. The hotel where Boyle is staying is still operating as usual. She is served delicious breakfasts of freshly baked croissants, cakes and breads and local specialties such as copra sambol, seafood… However, she has also heard about imported goods. such as cheese, meat, wine… will become increasingly scarce.
“I anticipated the gloomy scene. Even so, the hotel staff greeted us with warm smiles. Protests took place, but we were not affected,” she said.
Andy and Edward are also two guests who do not cancel the tour. They continued their journey, albeit a little apprehensively. But both said the news they heard “seems scarier than it really is”. Protests are mainly taking place in big cities so they retreat to quieter areas. The two visit the white sand beaches of Nilavali town and are warmly welcomed by the locals. They did not have any difficulty touring around the island.
Just a few months ago, the resurgence of post-Covid tourism in Sri Lanka was promising. Tour operators have reported an increase in bookings, with many places already filled during peak season leaving the tourism industry in the face of optimism and excitement. But things seemed to slow down in March, when protests related to the country’s economic crisis began to unfold, and culminated in April.
Mr. Minh (According to India Today)
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