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 What has to be done immediately if to increase the tourist arrivals to Sri Lanka from the current two million to four million arrivals is to increase the number of budget airlines into Sri Lanka, said Sri Lanka’s topmost entrepreneur Dhammika Perera while addressing the ‘Evening With a Corporate Leader’ event organized by the Colombo School of Business Management.

Mr. Perera further said, “For instance, Thailand has a tourist arrival of some 26 million. From among them, nearly 12 million arrive through budget airlines. I contacted the Tourist Board of Thailand and asked them why they promote budget airlines. ‘Mr. Perera, we have only a limited number of star-class hotels. All the others are budget hotels. Rather than a budget airline catering to a budget hotel, what else could they do?’ was their response.

Following this, I contacted Bookings.com and requested a presentation from them. I asked them how many hotels there are in Sri Lanka, how many rooms were available etc. The informed me that there were 90,000 rooms with 24 hour accommodation and bathroom facilities.

“There are only around 10,000 rooms with over a single star class rating among them. All the other 80,000 are smaller hotel rooms not within the star class. So, what we are actually trying to do is bringing tourists in other planes and attempting to fill them into these budget accommodations. This cannot be done. Now the government is looking into this positively.

“In fact, it is quite easy to convert the two million tourists to four million tourists. If budget airlines are introduced, I think another two million tourists will arrive through budget such budget airlines.”
 
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