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Tourists continue to cancel on Sri Lanka as political crisis continues

Sri Lanka’s prolonged political turmoil is continuing to impact on tourist numbers as cancellations to the island continue in the middle of peak tourist season, reports Reuters.

Despite Sri Lanka currently being at peak tourist season, flights and hotel bookings are being cancelled after Colombo was thrown into crisis in late October, with the attempted appointment of Mahinda Rajapaksa as prime minister.

“We have cancellations in the region of about 20 percent,” said Chandra Mohotti, a manager at the luxury Galle Face Hotel in Colombo, a famous tourist hot spot. “Normally our hotel would be full,” he added. “We are offering discounts because of the fear that allocations will not be utilised.”

The hotel cancellations are accompanied by numerous flight bookings to Sri Lanka being scrapped, particularly from Europe, a normally steady source of tourists for Sri Lanka, according to a source from SriLankan Airlines.

Other officials have publically acknowledged the hit to Sri Lanka’s tourist industry, with Harith Perera, president of the Sri Lanka Association of Inbound Tour Operators, admitting “at the moment bookings have slowed down and that is a concern”.

“If the current crisis drags on, then the impact will be significant,” he said. “Cancellations are not only from European tourists, but from everywhere.”

See more from Reuters here.