The cruise travel business better known as the ' floating marine resorts of the world' that attracts the most wealthy globally has doubled in business for Sri Lanka with 14 cruise liners calling the country in 2012/13 registering visitor arrivals of 19,615 cruise travelers whilst in 2013/2014 Sri Lanka attracted 22 cruise liners into Sri Lanka with visitor numbers going upto 27,317 whilst this year the numbers have spiked to 40 cruise liner arrivals and overall visitors expected to be fifty thousand plus which is a sizable market to focus on said Chairman Sri Lanka Tourism who met the core committee of the SLITO working group on cruise tourism headed by veteran Bernie Dole. Also present was Chairman of Ceylon shipping corporation Shashi Ranatunga who explained the new infrastructure planned to be invested in the next three months focussing on cruise tourism.
The core committee of SLITO cruise tourism with chairman Ceylon shipping corporation shashi Ranatunga and Sri Lanka tourism Rohantha Athukorala
The key steps agreed at the meeting was that whilst the supply chain efficiencies needed to be developed such as luggage handling, passenger liaisons, vehicle logistics for easier access into the city and back the demand side require immediate focus. The Sri Lanka promotion chief immediately agreed to facilitate for Sri Lanka to be present at the key cruise tourism travel fair in Busan, Korea in July this year together with the private sector. We will also make a pitch for top cruise organizations like Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and MSC to have turnaround visits and include Sri Lanka in to the iternary committed Athukorala on behalf of Sri Lanka tourism Bureau that drives a 5 billion rupee budget on global promotions.
On behalf of SLITO Bernie Dole explained that even in the 2016 Tourism master plan the cruise segment was not included and the new enthusiasm and drive is very positive given that there is a 9% cater growth in the last nine years globally even when the whole world was in recession which is the purchasing power of cruise travelers. We will support the government on the development plan agreed today and be present at the Busan Fair. Athukorala said that the number 8 market globally which is US attracts only thirty nine thousand visitors which means that cruise travel segment is fact larger in size than the top ten sourcing destinations for tourism as per the 2014 visitors. We must make this segment 100,000 tourists within two years voiced Athukorala who has given strong leadership not only to the tourism industry but also to trade and commerce by championing the World Expo 2015 presence as directed by the cabinet on the intervention of the Prime Minister.