3. Promote Local Tourism During Covid 19.

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

For the best reach and to gain the confidence of local travellers SL Tourism and relevant ministries should conduct a promotional campaign highlighting the areas in season.

The opportunity we have is to create new travel opportunities for locals as well as establish a recurring and sustainable tourist demographic, making Sri Lanka more resilient as a tourist economy.

The immediate opportunity is the East and North West Coast which is in peak season from May through September. After that focus on the next area approachng entering prime season. There is always an area in season at any time of the year so there is a year round opporutnity to travel.

Key Areas to Promote:

  • This section will focus on the Arugam Bay area of Komari, Urani, Pottuvil, Arugam Bay, Panama and Kumana. This is a small enough area that is in season, with both wildlife and beaches to be a pilot program to implement the development goals herein.

  • The main tourist interest in Arugam Bay is surfing and wildlife. Typically many visitors from Europe, Australia and Israel will visit Arugam Bay during this time to surf. With the rise in popularity of the sport we are seeing more and more local tourists taking an interest in the sport.

  • This is a family friendly activity and can involve parents as well as children.

Shortened Travel Time

  • With the extension of the Southern Highway to Mattala it is now possible to drive to Arugam Bay within 6 hours from Colombo. Previously it took 7-8 hours and was seen as a major detractor for local tourists in the West Province to travel to Arugam Bay.

Other Areas of Interest:

  • Surfing & Surf Lessons. Arugam Bay offers many facilities for those that want to learn how to surf. With ISA certified instructors and some nationally ranked athletes from the Sri Lanka national team offering lessons, there is a high level of knowledge on offer. Uncrowded beaches. Arugam Bay main point is the main beach that gets promoted but there are many other beaches within driving distance that are empty and pristine. Namely Urani (Whisky Point), Pottuvil, Elephant Rock, Komari, Peanut Farm and Panama beaches.

  • Kumana is a well known migratory route of over 200 species of tropical birds. Panama and Urani have large lagoon water bodies that can be developed as eco-sanctuaries and important estuaries for supporting wildlife and retention of water in the dry zone. Eco-conscious tours can also be developed to see the bird and wildlife. Kumana has the same biodiversity as Yala and is host to leopards, elephants (tuskers!) and bears.

  • Lahugala national park has a large collection of Elephants.

  • Ancient sites, from Kudumbigala sanctuary to the ruins of Muhudu Maha Viharaya and Magul Maha Viharaya are holy sites with great mystique that will attract the cultural crowd.

  • A diverse dining scene. The main road in Arugam Bay offers many interesting restaurants with local, foreign and fusion cuisine and cater to a variety of budgets and tastes.

  • Range of accommodations from budget to luxury. Arugam Bay is thought of as a surf town and attracts budget travellers but there is now a collection of high level accomodation options, from larger hotels like Jetwing to many boutique and eco friendly resorts. A diversity of dining options utilizing the area's fresh harvest has developed along with many resident expats who have added new flavors to the dining scene.

Provide Safe Transport Options and Incentives to Travel

  • Provide fuel concessions or incentives for local transport companies to transport guests to and from Arugam Bay. Provide fuel concessions for private travellers to travel longer distances and visit different parts of the county. For example a paid hotel booking will enable a visitor to gain a reduction in price to fill up their cars for the return trip. Or they earn rewards for other incentive programs.

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