HYDERABAD: Sri Lanka is fast emerging as a preferred destination for Indian tourists. Short-haul flights, cheaper packages, attractive beaches and tourist packages are drawing Indian tourists to Sri Lanka, say experts.
“Sri Lanka has not just pristine beaches but also places of religious significance for Hindus, as places relating to mythology Ramayana are located there. Due to certain internal security issues, tourism was affected in the past. But after peace returning to the nation, now the tourism has picked up, drawing Indians, especially south Indians in big numbers,” said Sharat Dhall, COO of travel portal Yatra.com.
According to SriLankan Airlines officials, about 3,80,000 tourists from India visited Sri Lanka in 2016. “The number of Indians coming to Sri Lanka has been steadily increasing. To cater to the Indian tourists, we are launching flights from Colombo to Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam and Coimbatore. SriLankan will also operate 126 flights per week to 14 cities in India, with existing services to Chennai, Trichy, Trivandrum, Mumbai, New Delhi, Gaya, Madurai, Varanasi, Kochi, Bangalore and Kolkata. We are expecting the number of tourists to grow by at least 35 percent this year,” SriLankan Airlines Chief Commercial Officer Siva Ramachandran told Express.
Sri Lanka is also emerging as a destination for meetings and conferences. “Thanks to its economical cost and proximity to India, Sri Lanka is fast emerging as a new destination for Indian tourists. Not just the flight cost will be much lesser to Sri Lanka when compared to other South Asian nations, even the cost of living will be less. For instance, under $500, a person can have about five-day stay in budget class in Sri Lanka,” said Manoj Upadhyay of Club Med International.