Perera responding to a question posed by the Panel Chair Dinesh Weerakkody Chairman National Human Resource Development Council of Sri Lanka said “ achieving the 4 million target by 2020 would be very difficult without proper connec-tivity”.
“We need at least another 20 more flights into the country on a daily basis”. He fur-ther said” spending money on promotion and marketing would be worthless without fixing this problem”.
He noted that Sri Lanka’s natural arrival growth is around 5 % to10% and therefore by 2020 we can only get to 3 Million, that too would be a challenge”.
Responding to a question from the audience via SMS as to whether there would be a blood bath with the opening 3 more new five star properties in Colombo city in 2018. Perera said it would be good for the industry because they will attract new visitors into the country.
Other Panel Members who participated in the discussion were Timothy Wright Vice President/General Manager - Shangri La Hotels & Resorts Sri Lanka, Thilak Weerasinghe Chairman - Managing Director - LSR, Tatiana Nenova Program Leader of Trade & Competitiveness of World Bank, Colombo International Financial and Trade Organizations for Sri Lanka Tourism, Prof.Dimitri Loannides Mid Sweeden University, Sweeden and Deni A. Dukic General Manager - Galle Face Hotel.
The majority of the panelists responding to the final question posed to them as to whether Sri Lanka was promoting the destination aggressively to take advantage of the changing travel trends around the world said, “very much more needs to be done by the government to promote Sri Lanka as one of the finest island for memo-rable, authentic and diverse experiences”.